Interview with Volosozhar/Trankov


Cats and garlic lover
Marina Paurk's interview with Tatiana Volosozhar/Maksim Trankov for karnaval istorii
(a seriously long one, will translate in parts)
Q: The new popular show `Ice age: kids' usually you are not the first choice for a coach. Why?
MT: It's the second season of the project, and just like last year am one of the coaches together with Navka, Kostomarov and Averbukh. Unfortunately, last year my wife and partner Tatiana could not participate. Our daughter was a toddler and needed mommy to be home. Now Angelica grew older and Tanya can spend some time out. I asked her to be my muse and the choreographer of our group. She will help us as much as she can.
The kids who join the project know who Averbukh is because there are so many shows he produces. They know well who Navka is for the same reason and taking Kostomarov had been a part of the shows for years they know who he is as well. And then there is that Maksim Trankov, who not so long ago retire. Kids don't yet know who he is, they put their time into skating and they don't have time to watch me on youtube. Hence everyone want to be part of Navka's or Averbukh's team. Getting a promising kid is hard. Fortunately there are regions, I take kids from the regions and consider it my mission in t he show - I want the kids to feel what is it like skating in Moscow, I don't want them to rot in their little towns. I know what am talking about - I grew up in one. I want to give them a chance, so once they are back home they will be able to say `I was on the national TV!'. I think it's my goal to lift their self esteem so a good coach from Moscow will pay an attention to them. Kids don't chose me as a coach, but it's twice nicer when at the end of the season they become one of the best.

Q: When did you realize your life was about figure skating?
TV: When I was 12, I was skating by then. Mom took me to a rink - I made her dream come true - she wanted to be a skater, but she was growing up in a small town and there was no rink. I started skating and liked it. Ukraine which I was representing was never a top country in skating, but a lot of champions come from there. As a single skater I won a lot of competitions and was always in the podium. But once I lost the national junior championship - another girl was put first. I was upset: how come? I skated better! I was explained she is switching to pairs and they needed her to have a nice finish. It was upsetting and I had to overcome it. I wanted to reach higher goals, but understood it will not happen in the singles skating. So when I was offered to skate pairs I said yes, but after a week I walked out and returned only a month later.
MT: I never made a secret am not a big fan of figure skating. Dad was in the equestrian. But in the 90s his club ceased to exist. It was obvious that in order to keep me off the streets and away from the bad company I had to do sports. In the end I joined the figure skating - there was an ice rink not far from home. Everyone were interested in football and hokey and were watching the new movies and wanted to be like Van Damm, and there I was - a figure skater. Skating in a glittering costume! I was tough. Especially in Perm - a city surrounded by prisons and camps. I was growing up in a different subculture. Then my friends started buying the VCRs and we were watching the movies and we saw there was life outside our place - the colourful amazing world. Figure skating allowed me to get into that world - to get away from the province, to see different countries. It was my motivation to skate.
TV: Another motivation for me was the salary we were getting. I earned my first money. I wanted to get on a shared taxi and say aloud `Mom, this ride is on me!'. But just like for Maks, for me the motivation was an opportunity to travel abroad and see the world.
MT: I was also earning a nice salary once I made it to the city team. I was earning more than my mom - the kindergarten teacher. I recall there was a small market between the rink and home, I was buying some sausages and sweets there after receiving the salary. I felt I was supporting the family! I really had no idea what to do with the money, so I was just keeping it. My brother would come up with the idea like `let's get an electronic calc!'. Yeah, lets! We didn't really use it though.
Perm was known for it's equestrian, but it all fell apart in the 90s. Dad had to provide with the family with two sons. He opened a garage, he was great with cars - was able to fix everything. Sometimes he went back to the sports, coached, once even participated a competition. But then the one who was sponsoring the equestrian was killed and that was it.
TV: It's funny - our daughter Angelica loves horses. Her grandfather's genes just skipped a generation.
MT: Our family was never really well off - I started earning money early and I keep doing i. I had a dream to buy my dad a real car. He was driving something scary, more or less what he assembled himself. I gathered some money, though it was not much. Yet I told dad `find a car which you like and I'll add some money'. He sold his car, I added and still it was only enough for a second hand right wheeled car.

Q: The top skaters have 2 practices a day. How does it work with the school?
MT: It doesn't!
TV: Its' tough. I was lucky - the first 3 years I was studying in the rink - I would sit through the first 2-3 hours, then the practice, then back to the studies again. Once the studies were over we headed to the second practice. It was hard, but at least we didn't have to travel for the practices. In Dnepropetrovsk the sports school was not far from the rink, and I spent there a year. The level left a lot to be desired. I loved the skating, the school on the other hand... But mom made me study and she found the best solution after speaking to a principle of one of the schools. I switched there and the rest of the guys who skated with me followed. Among the pupils was my best friend Olga Levchenko, who we shared the table since the 1st grade. The teachers understood us and allowed us to skip some of the lessons. Though never math or russian language.
MT: I switched schools at some points as well to a sports class. We had an agreement to take the exams we miss later. Of course no one really did. I skipped the school a lot. I would go to the gym in the morning and just sleep there under the barbell. I got some Bs and Cs, fortunately, at least I didn't fail. I was always into humanities - I read a lot and still do. However physics, chemistry, algebra and geometry - I solidly failed. Literature, on the other hand, I had a straight A. It was also being unlucky with the teachers - the old lady who was teaching us math wouldn't be allowed near the kids today. She was beating us when we didn't understand her explanations. It was horrible. The same was with the class master. But at least she was considered a good teacher who knew her subject - geography. Math, however, was hell. Of course I wasn't exactly a good pupil, but I didn't deserve to be treated like that. By the end of the school I switched to the evening school and suddenly loved the studied. I was running to the class. I finished the school quite well and till today fondly recall the teachers.

Q: Is it easy to find a partner with the same champions goals?
TV: I was lucky. I became the Ukranian national champion 4 times with Stas Morozov.
MT: She is 5 times national champion actually
TV: Stanislav was skating with the future Olympic champion Aljona Savchenko. When they won the junior worlds in Oberstdorf she was offered to move abroad. That was Aljona's goal for a while, so she moved to Germany. Stas was left alone and started coaching. He had a groin injury that is quite common in our sports. He had to undergo a surgery.
MT: I had the same injury, but, fortunately, it was just a muscle. The ice rink is cold, so once you cool down a bit and make a move the muscle is injured and the next practice is the end. When you jump and land on the food it goes through a stress wave - a strong vibration, where the ending point is the joint. It's quite a common injury for the football players as well.
TV: So Stas was working as Galina Kukhar's assistance, where my partner Petr Kharchenko and I were training after joining her group in Kiev. Stas taught us a lot, shared his experience - we both were new to pairs, had to learn all from the scratch. After a while Stas admitted he dreams to compete again. His injuries were mended, he was an experienced and perspective partner and once he offered to skate together I agreed. He believed in me and said he would make me an Olympic champion. He kept his promise.

Q: Sorry for the question, but I heard so many stories about the male partners beating the female partners. It goes up to the most famous skaters. Remember the team Moiseeva/Minenkov?
TV: Never happened to Stas and I
MT: My relationship with my previous partner Maria Mukhortova were horrible. We were kicking each other and spitting on each other! I don't know any pairs where all is nice and lovely, everyone is smiling and never argue. No one will beat the partner when she falls off an element. But the provocations on the ice - that might happen. It's also important that once you are out there on the ice you are no longer man and woman. It's not a friend who skates with you, but a partner. By the way am not sure your example is so good. Moiseeva and Minenkov are still happily married and have nothing to do with figure skating.
I don't justify the fights, it's wrong and is a result of lack of the basic manners. Our last season, when Tanya and I were already married we had a big fight on the ice. The whole practice I was picking on her, was telling her horrible stuff like `if you can't skate just go back to your Dnepropetrovsk!' I can really hurt with the words. I have that `talent'. Tanya was hurt, after all am her husband, not some random dude. She couldn't hold anymore, turned and slapped me. I calmed down at instance: it was too much, I crossed the line. But when you are trying to calm down the partner while she is beating you it looks like a real fight for the bystanders. The ladies have their ways of revenge as well: they can as if by chance scar your face during the skate or stick their finger behind the collarbone. It hurts like hell and you can do nothing - you have to suck it up. Tanya have never done anything like that to me.
TV: I believe in the power of the word. When things become too tense it's better to find the words that will take the tension off rather than leaving scratches in your partner's palms.
MT: The fights are caused by the mental and physical tiredness. You fell drained, it's hard to hold back. Though there are people in our sports who never lose their cool and never raise their voices, which drives their partner even more mad. For example Fedor Klimov, who was skating with the bitchy Ksenia Stolbova. She was always mad with him, while Fedor was super calm and that made her even more mad. He would explain things to her as well, but unlike me he never raised his voice.

Q: How did you overcome the fights and went back to skating?
MT: We never did with Maria. I'll admit it was mainly my fault. When I decided I wanted to skate with Mukhortova my coach said `go get her yourself'. I haven't come up with anything better than hit on her, though I was in a serious relationship at that time. I used a moment when Maria had another physical fight with her than partner, approached her and was like `Why do you need him, he is such a bad guy, he just pushed you! Come skate with me instead!'. She saw my interest in her and agreed. I backed off once we started skating together. All my courtship ended at instance, despite leading her to believe we would be a pair off ice. It was very indecent of me. But I was young and stupid and didn't think of the consequences of my actions. and they came. We were two people lacking integrity and manners. It was my fault as well.
We started working with Tamara Moskvina and in the training camp in Sweden we had a fight. Maria is a strong partner, but she is pathologically lazy. For me the work always came first. Hence we had another fight. I was sick of it all and was thinking retiring - nothing kept me in the sports. I picked my stuff, put the blade guards on and walked out. Walked out from Moskvina's ice! You have to have a nerve, and I had too much at that point. I didn't think that I was being disrespectful to Tamara Nikolaevna and her assistants. Maria ran after me and shouted `Are you nuts!? Who let you!' and she hit me with the blade guards in my head. Of course I had a reaction and we had a full blown fight. Though I know a lot of male partners who would be able to hold back had they been in my shoes.
The next day we didn't show up on the ice and we didn't skate the whole camp. Somehow we were not sent back. Once we were back we broke up. I started looking for a partner and couldn't find any. We sat down in a restaurant with Maria and decided we'll skate till the end of the season just for the salary. Then another coach, Oleg Vasiliev managed to get us skate all the way to the Olympics. We were not even talking to each other, but he gave us so much work we didn't have time to fight

Q: Who is your favourite coach?
MT: Am grateful to everyone who coached me - they all taught me something. Someone taught me how to do things, someone - how not to. The coach from Perm - Valeri Nikolaevich Tukov saw the potential in me and sent me to St. Petersburg to Ludmila Smirnova. Ludmila Stanislavovna is a woman of emotions, she made a lot of decision without really considering. I was paired up with her dauther - Ira Ulanova. Ludmila Stanislavovna herself was an Olympic silver medalist herself with her husband who used to skate with Irina Rodnina prior. She had that USSR vision that husband and wife are the best team in mind. She wanted me to be with Ira not only on the ice but off the ice as well. She was very jealous to my female skating friends. She could kick them out from the camp just because they spoke to me. It was a real school of life, so thanks for that. I was 16y.o. back then. Ira was 13 and I was thinking of her as of a little girl. We had a great relationship and Ira became a sister for me. We only once argued on the ice and I said something like `you only think of your hockey guys!'. We indeed were training with the hockey players on the ice and the girls would be disturbed by the hot guys.
We were living in a horrible conditions - under the rink stalls. There were no facilities. It wasn't even a dorm, but just a roof above your head. In order to buy food we were collecting the reusable bottles, we were stealing all we could. If someone was moving and the movers didn't look we would steal a chair.
I was hiding it from my parents - didn't want to go back to Perm. My brother saw the conditions when he came to visit. What did it look like? There was a concierge at the rink entrance who would look the door at 6pm. We were left inside. If there would be a fire- am afraid to think what would happen. Brother came from Perm with his girlfriend and, of course, I invited them over. And got inside through the window. Brother asked why can't we walk through the door? Well, because it is locked!
We were taking the shower on the rink across the street. I spent 3 years there, Alexandr Smirnov even longer. I was first put into the coaches room - with no windows nor doors. It was so cold, the heater was making so much noise you couldn't sleep. There was no linen. I had to get up with the sunlight because people were gathering there. I had to be up and ready before they did.
Ira started growing really fast and her body didn't hold it - she would break her legs all the time. It was clear we had no future in the sports. There were talks that once Ira graduates school we would join the show abroad. I had no plans skating there. We skated badly the SP in the Russian cup and became well, not dead last, but close. Smirnova decided to WD us. I said if she WD us I would leave.
She did. And I left. My parents came from Perm on the car and I told mom and dad I was done with the figure skating.
Tukov's pupil was training in the USA at the time and Valeri Nikolaevich decided to send me over there. I didn't really wanted to go, but my parents convinced me: I would be drafted to the army otherwise. So I started the paperwork but was denied the visa. I happily called my parents `mom, dead, can you support me for one year? I will figure it all out by then'.
I asked to train in Velikovs' group. Tukov's relationship with Velikovs was bad and he didn't take it lightly. He was hardly talking to me till I won the Worlds and proved I was right. It was Nikolai Matveevich Velikov who paired up me with Maria Mukhortova. Then we got an offer from Moskvina. She approached in Calgary, where we skated so so in our first senior Worlds and offered: guys, if you need any help - come to me. So Maria and I believed her.
I was in a serious relationship with a St. Petersburg girl Sasha Nozik. She was an ice acrobat working in a circus on ice. Today she owns a circus studio in Moscow. Her amazing family took me in and treated me like a son. I lived there for several years. I am forever grateful to them! Her parents treated me better than their own kids. People in St. Petersburg are so welcoming. When you call and say `I will come tomorrow' they will answer `am working, but my wife will be home and she'll feed you'. In Moscow you'll usually get a `why didn't you tell me in advance, am busy!'.
Except for Sasha's family my friend Kolia Vasiliev, who was a sailor lived in St. Petersburg. He would leave me his place free of charge when he was sailing. I had to take care of his cat.
After Maria and I had that fight in the camp in Sweden Tamara Nikolaevna was done with us. I would be done with us as well if I were in her shoes. I asked her `Can we just stay here so we can have an ice and perhaps Arthur Dmitriev can help us out?'. Arthur was Moskvina's assistant. He is a legend: a two times Olympic champion, an Olympic silver medalist. He was going through things I can not talk about at that time, so he would skip or practices. We made it to the Turino team but we were not sent there. We came almost last in the GP - we were so undertrained. I didn't even believe you can slide back so badly. Besides I was injured during the skate, so I gave it up and decided to go back to Perm.
Tatiana Tarasova likes to tell the rest: `I took you off the train!'. She met me and we had a deep conversation. She spoke to Oleg Vasiliev who was going to Chicago. He promised `I'll take them for a month and will try to get them ready for the nationals. We'll see then'. That was it - we won the Nationals. We were practicing both in Russia and the USA and then Maria and he became a couple, so the practices were hell again. When we skated badly at the Olympics I decided to leave again. I had that thought in my mind: I'm from Perm and I can't possibly do any better.
It was then that Stanislav Morozov decided to retire and the option to skate with Volosozhar came up. She was my dream since the junior. I was thinking `If I were skating with her I would have won everything by now!'
TV: A lot of viewers were saying they can see us skating together. I needed to gain the Russian citizenship. Sanitslav's best friend - Vlad Zhovnirski is Nina Mozer's pupil and he went to her. Nina Mikhailovna helped us with the papers. It started with the papers and then she started coaching us. My parents still live in Dnepropetrovsk. My father is retired, but he still works. My sister gave birth not long ago. She learned aeronautics, but changed her life and is now a hairdresser in Kiev.

Q: I hope there were no fights with Tatiana?
MT: As if! i was shouting at her `That's it! We are done!'. I don't remember how did it start. I was getting on her nerves for a while and got what I deserved. The only time we kept fighting once we got off the ice. Even though we made a deal: once we are off the ice we are just people. If I was pushing too hard I would approach her in the dressing room and apologize. We would hold hands and walk home together, even though half an hours ago we were fighting like no tomorrow on the ice. At some point I realized the off ice is more important than on the ice. I already won every possible medal and I was risking losing everything. It was when I started thinking: am done. I want to have a wife and the family, not a skating partner. I want Tanya to be the mother of my child.

Q: What was so special in Tanya that you decided to marry her?
MT: I never thought of her as of a potential girlfriend. I knew she was in a relationship with Stas, I had a girlfriend as well. Besides, Tanya is a petite blonde, I was never attracted to that type. All my previous girlfriends were 90-60-120! Guess it was the first time in my life that I was not after anyone, there was no tension. Tanya became my best friend, she knew of my love life. She knew more than anyone. Once we moved to Moscow we were walking on the streets, talking and I was so happy she was listening. It worked when she gave me a reason to think of her as of a woman. I realized how great and comfortable I feel with her, no need to hide anything, she knows what kind of person I am. When I gave in thing became great.

Q: When did you realize Maksim was your destiny?
TV: After a year
MT: You said earlier!
TV: We've known each other since 20043. We met and I thought: a cute tall guy. I like the tall guys, and at the time it was his only advantage. When we started skating together and communicated I fell in love with him. When you think about a person 24 hours a day there are no doubts you are in love. The emotions were running high and things were working on the ice. I was trying to let Maksim know how I felt, but nothing came out. So I thought I'll just tell him straight forward. And then either a yes or a no. I just needed to know whether I had a chance.
MT: We were sharing a taxi after a party where I was hitting on a girl in front of Tanya.
TV: Maksim is a nice guy and offered to take me home, so I decided: now or never! A glass of champagne I drank before took the fear away. I asked him to kiss me. He was taken aback and said the relationship might hurt the skating.
MT: There were a couple of moments before that when it seemed we might be more than friends. But I wasn't even considering it. At the most we were holding hands, but I held hands with so many girls before. So I didn't kiss her that evening in the taxi, held it for a night. I kissed her the next morning.

Q: And then the wedding?
MT: We got married after the Olympics. We lived together for several years before that. I got used to living alone and was able to cook, but I became so lazy with Tanya. She cooks so well. She was cooking and cleaning, I was in heaven. I am a very passive person and was sure we didn't need to get married in order to be together. Though the question `when will you get married' popped all the time.
Once we were sitting with some friends and they asked when will we get married.
`I offer her all the time, she doesnt' want to!'
`Well, once you ask right with the ring I'll think about it!'
I thought about it for half a year and then bought a ring. I didn't bend the knee, but made usre it was beautiful. Tanya replied yes and added `You have to ask my parents'.
TV: Me, Sotnikova and Lipnitskaya were part of the major of Moscow programme and we got a flat. Maksim also got money for the flat.
MT: I am not a big town buy, I hate crowds and noise, so we decided to move into the New Moscow, out side the town. We live in a house. I always wanted to own a family house, for the whole family to gether.
TV: So we sold the cars we were given after the Olympics, took all the money we had and bought the house.

Q: How did you decide to have a child?
MT: After the wolds 2016 I decided to retire. We were practicing and didn't understand what for. There was no motivation, just nerves. During a competition in Boston I told Tanya: let's try for a baby?
TV: We did for two months. The pregnancy was easy and I was skating till the 9th month.

Q: Was Maksim present for the birth?
MT: No, am against it
TV: Even if he was for it I would had declined!
MT: Alexandr Zhulin was sharing the experience: you have to be present, you'll feel so different about the child! But didn't want to see my wife in that state. I think the bond between the child and the mother is more important and men should be left outside. I am prone to panic, my presence there would only make it worse. I'm like my mother that way. If Tanya and Angelica are driving and are late I keep calling and asking where are they. It's not because I don't trust my wife, but because I think of the worst case scenario. Tanya is driving and can't answer the call so I start running around and shouting `why on earth does she have a phone if she is not replying!'

Q: Will you let her skate?
TV: Already had, even though she is just 2. We were in st. Petersburg in a show, she saw a girl skating and asked to skate as well. She started at 1.8. Now she knows exactly what mom and dad do. Even tough Maksim and I were sure she will not be skating if she doesn't want to. We didn't think it would happen so early. She likes it, only today she was talking how we'll go to the ice and she'll wear a crown and a dress.

Q: The last Worlds were shaken by the scandal of Bell cutting her rival from South Korea Lim. I heard there was a whole investigation since the ice was covered with the blood and it influenced the skaters who were skating after. How often does it happen in figure skating?
MT: First of all they both train in Arutyunian's group. They never had any troubles. Bell is a darling, she can't do something of the kind on purpose. Lim is a girl from South Korea - the country that gave us Yu Na Kim - the great Olympic champion who became 2nd in Sochi. We all remember how her fans treated Adelina Sotnikova, how many threats she received. It does not put them in the positive light and I hate it how the reaction becomes uncontrollable and the sport become more of a show. The crazy fans see a treat to their idol in every word you say. I became a number one enemy for Zagitova's fans. I got a call from someone from a St. Petersburg newspaper who started asking for some burns Alina had at the nationals. I said `Since she skated, guess she could. It's the sport, it's not a big deal, people skate with the injuries. My Zhenya Tarasova fell on her chin'. The dude started some crazy talk and I shut him down. The shit storm it caused! the social networks were full of `Is your Tarasova skating with her chin!?' `You shoudl be dead!'. There were horrible things like `I'll rape your daughter'. Angelica was not even two years old at that moment. Zagitova's crazy fans don't understand that because of that negativity she is treated worse. I am an exptet figure skating commentator and I try to talk as little as possible about Alina, even though I bow to that amazing skater! Especially for what she did at worlds! But am sick of repeating: I don't give a damn who wins the worlds, as long as it's a Russian skater.
The Korean fans started the shit show around Lim. We saw how Raf's wife ran to her, took off her skate and checked the injury. There was no rivers of blood on the ice as the papers called it. Bell was hysterical she cut her training mate. When all that began in the press I said it does not compliment our sport but makes it more popular. There are some invented by the press rivalry between the girls and no one writes how Zagitova and Medvedeva hug and congratulate each other off the ice. There is no war between them!

Q: Is there a war between the coaches?
MT: Some are friendly, some are not. Tarasova and Mishin used to be rivals, but now they are in a great relationship. Every year the team competition is held, the team Olympics and it seems the guys are friendly but there is no team as such. There is team Canada, team USA, team Japan and team France and it has it's advantages. They support each other, they meet up. In our country some coaches are not working for the team but set their skaters to fight for themselves only. It kills the team spirit.
I learned the hypocrisy on my own skin. Tanya and I were supposed to fly to the Europeans on Monday, my father passed away on Sunday. Half of those who came and offered their condolences were not sincere and I wanted to get rid of them. I would be better if they haven't said a word. I was had Nina Mikhailovna, Stas Morozov's, Tanya's and Alexandr Gorshov's support- he is the only one who I didn't want to tell `get out'. He understood how I felt - his father passed when he was young as well.
The church allowed to postpone the funeral till the 5th day. Tanya and I were on the plane right after the LP. We had a chance to say goodbye.

Q: In ballet if you want to kill the rival you cut their shoes. The artists nail the shoes to the floor. The skaters carry their skates with them and try not to let go. How do you kill your rival in figure skating?
MT: Vasiliev demanded we carried the skates with us all the time, but once I teamed up with Tanya I started to leave the skates behind. I never had any troubles. Guess I had a reputation. No one dared touching my skates. Our main rival Robin Szelkowy never carried his skates either. We were the untouchable.
TV: The dressing room is one for all and it's quite small. They might move your skates and ruin the blades. the girls were carrying the skates. We had a lot of stuff - we would leave the costumes behind, but not the skates. We also never leave the water bottles unattended. We are all afraid someone would dope the water.
MT: I never had such a problem, but one should always watch out. If that's the goal the easier to shake the skater mentally. Many of us are superstitious. Everyone has a ritual. For example Aljona Savchenko would always be the first to take the ice in the warm up - once we were called she would jump on the ice. I am an emotional person and have a psychologist diploma, I read a lot on the matter. I can set myself on the right wave. Tanya and I were the first in stands, which meant we skated last. I.e. we were the last to clear the ice after the warm up. Everyone would be putting the blade guards and we would still be on the ice. In the GPF there is a situation: we are told to clear the ice, but Savchenko and Szelkowy remain. I don't get why. It's us who always leaves last. I see Robin looking at us. Guess they were given an order to make us nervous. I just skated out - who cares. I didn't tell Tanya a thing, perhaps it was my mistake. She was hurt by that. She missed two elements during the skate.
TV: I still don't understand how did it happen.
MT: In the dressing room I always sit on the same spot. I skate without the socks, but use a lot of talc, so my sit was quite dirty and no one wanted to sit there. If they would, I would move them. Once I come in and Robin is sitting there. I couldn't really tell him `get out'. So I moved, but I was quite pissed off, which is not a good thing before the skate.
Aljona and Robin knew we always skated well when competing with them. The Europeans they skated the SP and WD. We won without competing with them and they left unbeaten.

Q: Eteri Tutberidze said in an interview with Pozner once the skater is off the podium they are no one. It sounded weird- they are not no one, they are champions. Seems the coach who had part in that championship shouldn't dismiss it.
MT: I agree with Eteri. When Tanya and I were winning yet another medal I would ship mine to mom. I didn't keep a single medal at home. So I had to go and get the next medal or cup from the scratch, which motivated. It a country like Kazakhstan, rest in peace Denis Ten or the skater Elizabet Tursynbaeva will always be remembered as great champions and cherished. In Russia there are so many champions. Once you are off the podium you become one of the many. There is no big deal in all you had to overcome to become the champion. It what all the champions who came before you had to do. For me the sport is just a job, just like for everyone else. The scientist who made a great discovery will continue to work, they are not thinking `I'll receive a Nobel and be done'.

Q: Yet people who dedicated their life to sports and gained results deserve respect. I assume it's the lack of respect that caused some skaters to leave Tutberidze's group.
MT: The only one who actually left is Medvedeva. The rest it's the usual part of coaching work. A couple of years ago Adian Pitkeev retired, he became a coach and only has good things to say about Eteri. The same with Polina Shelepen. There is no scandal. Polina Tsurskaya left, but she was unable to get to the same level she used to be after an injury. Daria Panenkova hit the puberty, but frankly, she was not much before. Of course the skater leaves the coach when things don't work, but it's not special for Eteri. She is everyone's focus right now and everything she does becomes huge.

Q: You can't really argue the Olympic champion Lipnitskaya left at the top of her career.
MT: I heard a lot of negative things said about Eteri. Let me say first she is not my friend and I don't know what kind of person she is. Am friends with her assistants Dudakov and Glekhengauz. And yet let me defend Eteri: she made Lipnitskaya what she is, she made her the Olympic champion and it's a huge thing. I think she learned a lesson when Lipnitskaya left and then retired. Am sure she had and it becomes obvious when you watch Zagitova. Despite a failed season Alina pulled it together and proved she is the best becoming a world champion. Eteri doesn't have the experience Tarasova or Moskvina do, who spent their whole lives in sports. Besides, Eteri works with the juniors, which is something none of the coaches had done before. It's the hardest time for the girls. Mentally and physically. The guys want some freedom, they want to go out and don't concentrate on figure skating. It's something our great coach Alexey Mishin had to deal with when coaching Liza Tuktamysheva - her skating is a rollercoaster. Eteri has 80 girls of the same kind.
this year I became a coach myself and I changed the attitude completely. I don't even understand how do they manage standing outside the boards for so many years. Of course I worked before with Nina Mozer's pupils, so I used what she had done. Had I worked with Tarasova/Mozorov for 5 years I could take the pride. The guys took the Worlds silver, the same result as last year being beaten only by the great Chinese skaters. But the same year they lost the Europeans, which is my coaching failure. It was very painful. Tanya and I won the Europeans 4 times and it seems I gave the title away as a coach. For me the 2nd place was never an achievement. Tanya and I were crying when we were second. When I was 2nd in the 2012 Worlds I broke a wall in the dressing room.

Q: What did you learn about yourself when coaching?
MT: The stress of the coach is the same as of the skater who is out there skating. You give so much of yourself. I was spending more times with the guys than I was with my wife. While we were working with Nina Mikhailovna I was feeling confident, I was controlling the process and knew what state they were. In the competition, however, it all went out of control. It started with the nationals, where Vladimir was ill and was skating with the fever. I had no clue what would happen. There are so many pills one can use to take the heat down, but they are bad for your veins and your heart. The team doctor decides whether the skater can skate or not. The Russian Figure Skating Federation says everyone has to compete in order to make it to the team. Tuktamysheva was ill and didn't compete that season. My skaters could had been in the same situation, but they skated. At some point Vladimir was so out of it that he started skating to a wrong direction. I was standing outside the border and almost fainted. Zhenya - kudos to her - chased him, turned him to the right direction, they finished the skate and won. That was the price we payed for participating the Europeans and hte Worlds.
When we went there I felt I was with them on the ice. After the LP in Japan I could hardly stand on my feet. It never happened to me even when I competed. Once I made it to the buss I was off. Iwoke up when the Spanish skater was shaking me and saying `sorry, I don't want to disturb, but we are in the hotel'. I can imagine what Nina Mikhailovna must had felt like sending 3 pairs one after the other at the Olympics and the worlds. When she decided to take a break I completely understood - it was really hard on her.

Q: Does the coach have to be tough?
MT: No. Mishin is full of jokes and fun stories, yet he raised a great champion Pluschenko. There is no equation. After coaching for a year I understand every skater is a personality and you must find the right approach. Yagudin recalled how Tarasova became a second mom to him - she would cook and take care of him. For someone else she was a harsh person and didn't let them eat. The coach must be flexible and adjust to every athlete. There are coaches who made some skaters the Olympic champions but were unable to repeat the success because they were coaching the next skaters the same way. Being unflexible limits you. Lipnitskaya, Medvedeva and Zagitova are 3 different personalities. You have to take everything into an account -even the nationality.
TV: The sport chases away the weak ones. First of all those who are not strong enough mentally. You can be as talented as they get but gain nothing. You can become a great champion by working very hard. The top coach has to be a strong personality.

Q: Why the retired skaters prefer to work in the shows rather than coach?
MT: The answer is on the surface. When I started coaching Tarasova/Morozov my monthly salary was 120$ a month. It's not a joke. I can't call it anything but an sabotage. In the past the sports achievements were equal the education and you could work with the team skaters. Not anymore. Since I don't have a coaching diploma am not allowed to coach. I do have the teaching diploma, but it doesn't count: you have to show the papers. It's a stupid law. The driver who was driving us to the rink is an ex diving coach. He was the only one whose athletes won the championships, but he was not allowed to work because he does not have the right diploma. Even if your athletes earn medals - go drive the bus. Such an idiocy! you are a champion, have a teaching education and not allowed to share your experience because the law says you must have the coaching diploma.

Q: What is next?
MT: I really want a vacation. I just dream of being somewhere hot, read a book and have Angelica playing near me. But we had just opened a pub and it demands time. We opened it together with Fedor Klimov, made a dream come true. We found the money, invested and have been working for 2 months. We try something new, come back and tell the cook. We have an original snack - deep friend cucumbers in salt. No one else have that. People ask for it, they like it. It's so tasty. Fedor is from Kolpino, so even when he was waiting for the marks he would say hello to his place and show the triangular above his head. It gave the name to our pub. We put our soul into that and we hope people will like it and come back.
TV: Our plans decided by our daughter's needs. I like to sleep in, but she changed me and am happy about it - those who wake up early manage more. We have so many projects related to the TV, we want to remain demanded.
MT: I really want to develop in the mass media. I have my own show in the major sports channel, I comment the competitions.

Q: Right.. we recall your commenting together with Tarasova.
MT: perhaps it's the reason we don't comment together anymore: two personalities have a hard time working together. It was Tarasova who made me a commentator, she decided I might do well there. I think we were doing great together - we were arguing a lot and it was interesting. Her commenting with Yagudin is rather bland. They love each other so much but they lack some spice.


Let the skating begin
Wow. Talk about competition...having to carry your water bottles to keep someone from doping you. Fascinating interview. Thanks for the translation.


Fan of Yuzuru, T&M, P&C
Fascinating interview. Part of it reads like a romantic novel- Tanya and Maxim’s story.
Thanks for the translation.

Ananas Astra

Get woke, go broke!
Damn, I really want a tell-all book written by Trankov, revealing all the dirty dancing in Russian figure skating.
Love him and his bluntness. I also like how he reflects on his own behavior in earlier days and admits he was wrong. That is truly an act of true greatness in my book.


Well-Known Member
I really enjoyed that interview, informative and wide ranging but a times a bit annoying. I would liked to have heard a little more from Tatiana.

I didn’t like his comment on Stolbova, it was uncalled for, clearly no love lost there. I do remember her passing comment previously on something Max had said about S/K. I always liked him with Maria M but how on earth were they able to skate together? They sound so dysfunctional, it’s funny how Tamara just had enough and let them go.

It does sound as he has matured a lot as a person, probably happens us all, he was quite frank in discussing his own failings. I know Mozer isn’t the most popular around here but his description of his struggling with one team in ice and her having three was funny.

It will be interesting to see how he progresses as a coach. I wonder will we see their daughter on the JGP in years to come?

Amy L

Well-Known Member
At some point Vladimir was so out of it that he started skating to a wrong direction. I was standing outside the border and almost fainted. Zhenya - kudos to her - chased him, turned him to the right direction, they finished the skate and won. That was the price we payed for participating the Europeans and hte Worlds.

That was the cleanest LP they skated all season! Zhenya must have been so preoccupied herding Vladimir that she couldn't psych herself out of the jumps.


Rooting for the Underdogs
That was the cleanest LP they skated all season! Zhenya must have been so preoccupied herding Vladimir that she couldn't psych herself out of the jumps.

I have joked that one or both could be nearly dead and they’d still show up to compete.

If I’m remembering correctly, after the sp at nationals Evgenia mentioned that Vladimir wasn’t quite feeling 100% and then he said he was fine. Then, the long program happened and it turns out she was right, lol.

Rina RUS

Well-Known Member
Nothing wrong with being frank but there is no need to call a lady bitchy in the press without giving her an opportunity to defend herself.

You know, the word which Trankov uses isn't nice anyway, but maybe it is less rude than "bitchy". Maybe "toxic" can be another translation (it is about one's nature). This word means, that a woman likes scandals or nasty tricks, maybe it is less hateful than "bitchy".

Rina RUS

Well-Known Member
Wow. Talk about competition...having to carry your water bottles to keep someone from doping you. Fascinating interview. Thanks for the translation.

I thought everyone knew, that they always carry their bottles with them. I mean... it seems I read about that more than once (even though I don't read every article about every skater).


Values her privacy
? As far as we see from this interview, he almost can't be a coach without a coaching education (in Russia, at least).
But if Deputat could do whatever qualifications he needed to become a judge, why would it be impossible for Trankov to get the coaching qualification? I understand that it may seem to him unfair or ridiculous that with his achievements he can’t be a coach without some specialist qualification, but surely it can’t be that hard to get one? Otherwise soon there would be no coaches in Russia. How are other recently retired competitive skaters doing it? Does Stanislav Morozov have the qualification? Or Shelepen? Or Gachinski? And if they do, why everyone else can get the qualification and Trankov can’t?

Rina RUS

Well-Known Member
Btw, the link at the top doesn't seem to be the right one.

This link is good enough to read the interview in Russian or to see the pictures. When we open this link, we see the cover of the magazine - and a bit lower we can see the magazine page by page (Volosozhar and Trankov are somewhere in the middle)


Values her privacy
He can, of course. :)
I have read in several interviews him complaining about this, but it doesn’t appear that he has done any steps towards fixing the situation. Maybe he just doesn’t want to be a coach, but then why he keeps complaining about it?
Last edited:


Cats and garlic lover
There is a difference between coaching kids and being the official coach of the team members.
In order to become a judge Deputat neede to do some FS courses.
In order to become a coach with a diploma Trankov would have to complete a uni degree. Am not sure it's even Russia to graduate 2 unis and is whether Trankov has time/money/will to.dive into yet another B.A programme

Rina RUS

Well-Known Member
I have read in several interviews him complaining about this, but it doesn’t appear that he has done any steps towards fixing the situation.
I guess it can be not easy for Trankov indeed. First of all, one needs time to study.
And one more thing. I think he will have to pass exams, if he decides to enter a university. I guess it will be the Russian language (not talking, but all those rules about putting commas in the right places, orthography and etc.), maybe history, maybe maths (algebra, geometry)... Or maybe biology (anatomy).
I'm a bit younger than Trankov, but I don't remember many things which I knew, when I was a student. I was a good student. Yagudin thinks he knows where he should put commas, but he has mistakes even in his short posts in the instagram (I see that, because I remember the Russian language much better than maths or history). Even though Yagudin graduated from school with a silver medal: he says all his marks were excellent, becides geometry (because he was too lazy to explain how he came to the right result in geometry).
When I entered the university, those who were ready to pay for their education were allowed to have lower marks than those who were going to study for free, but anyway everyone had to pass the exams. I don't know much about contemporary opportunities, but I don't think, that the situation has changed - in general.

Am not sure it's even Russia to graduate 2 unis
If you mean, that you are not sure whether it is possible to have the second higher education in Russia, it is possible, of course. As far as I know, one can't study in one more university for free, but he can study, if he pays for the second education.


Cats and garlic lover
If you mean, that you are not sure whether it is possible to have the second higher education in Russia, it is possible, of course. As far as I know, one can't study in one more university for free, but he can study, if he pays for the second education.
Thanks, that's exactly what I was not sure about.


Well-Known Member
Trankov is disgusting. He was hitting on Mukhortova to get her to leave her partner and skate with him? Then he got into physical fights with her as well? They were spitting on each other? The way he talks about Stolbova is unethical, even if you replace the word "bitchy". I wish I didn't read this interview, I had a better opinion about him.


RIP D-10
This word means, that a woman likes scandals or nasty tricks, maybe it is less hateful than "bitchy".
I'd prefer "bitchy" which does not. by definition, mean drawn to scandals or acting in an underhanded way. My friend likes to distinguish between a person who will stab you in the front vs. one who will stab you in the back, and a "bitchy" person can be in either or neither camp.


Well-Known Member
Thanks a lot for the translation! just as interesting as always. We need a blunt Trankov to keep us entertained in the off season. He is a gem! More Trankov, please! :)

Users who are viewing this thread

Do Not Sell My Personal Information