Samokhvalov's interview with Trankov: `I'm on the crossroads'

TAHbKA

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Anatoly Samokhvalov's interview with Maskim Trankov `I'm on the crossroads' for ria.ru

AS: Maksim, I was following your instagram while you were on a tour in Canada. It seemed you felt great there. The family, the nature, Scott Moir, Patrick Chan. How is it different from Russia?
MT: Virtue, Moir, Chan and many others are my true friends who I feel great being around. Am thrilled going back to then. Here in Russia I have a job. In Canada - great time. Though that great time is much better payed than the job. And it's so much more appreciated.

AS: When we had yet another wave of haters here you even dropped a `Perhaps I should just stay in Canada? It's quite ok here'.
MT: Canada for me is an opposite of Russia. It's what our country could had been. We are so similar in our nature, climate, how international we are. But people in Canada are positive, everyone takes care of the other. If a beggar asks for money and food and people give him food the beggar thanks them and does not become aggressive. Of course I would never move to Canada because am a Russian and I grew up in Russia. But I saw there what Russian could have been

AS: So are you satisfied with your current life?
MT: Am satisfied with my wonderful family. My wife and my muse Tanya Volosozhar, my amazing daughter Angelica. But this visit to Canada turned my world upside down...
It happened when communicating with the friends - Patrick Chan and Scott Moir. Scott, who is an ice dancing god. So I tell him `Scott, how can you retire, you could earn so much money?'. Those people opened my eyes: money is not the main thing. The most important is whether you are happy or not. I'm at the crossroads now. I start wondering whether am happy doing what I do every day or not. Perhaps it's just a chase after the fame and money? I'm rethinking what I'm doing.

AS: A chase after fame?
MT: Of course! You are higher payed if you are more popular. Unfortunately it's a fact in our country.

AS: Do you take the social network as a business project? Otherwise how can you explain you reaction on Yagudin's posts?
MT: I have no relationship with Yagudin. I dislike his behaviour in public.

AS: Yet you commented when he said `the rest - go suck!'
MT: Do you consider it's a correct statement?
AS: No
MT: I think it's not an Olympic champion's behaviour. When we win the Olympics we don't only get the medal and some prices, but we take the responsibility. But there are Olympic champions who don't understand that responsibility. There are so many kids who look up to you and they take your words differently. It's not just about Alexey, but, say, Evgeni Kafelnikov as well. An Olympic champion who uses his twitter for outrageous posts that the kids will see. I wouldn't want my daughter to become a tennis player because one day she might admire Kafelnikov and read his posts.

AS: So scratching tennis off for Angelica?
MT: Scratching everything off for Angelica - it's Tatiana Volosozhar's, my beloved wife's decision. Angelica in her 3 years of life haven't heard a single remark from me - I spoil her rotten.

AS: She looks just like you.
MT: Yet she has a mother, so all the questions about Angelica should go to Tanya. I love every tantrum she throws. As for the sports... I don't want her to be an athlete.

AS: So not a volleyball either - Alexey Spiridonov writes in twitter.
MT: Spiridonov is also a piece of work. But he is no Kafelnikov. Kafelnikov is a great athlete while Spiridonov is a noname. For me. I am an Olympic champion and have a right to say for me Spiridonov is not a great athlete. He is a great hyper though.

AS: You didn't want Angelica to become and athlete yet she already skates.
MT: It wasn't on purpose, but it's rather hard when your parents are skaters for the girl not to want to try skating herself. It was her idea. She tried, skated, once fell quite hard and decided she'd rather swim.

AS: So you wouldn't want her to be a professional skater?
MT: No way!

AS: What about `becoming like mom and dad'?
MT: First it wouldn't happen because we don't really have any dynasties in figure skating. Second it's rather hard for the girls - the competition is too high and it's close to impossible to be a leader in the singles. Angelica's mom would never let her do pairs - she went through it all herself. As for the ice dance - it's not exactly at it's best in Russia. If we were living across the ocean perhaps I would let her ice dance.

AS: We have the Russian school. We'll be back soon!
MT: Back where?
AS: To the lead!
MT: I can't answer anything that can be quoted.

AS: So let's go back to your crossroads. You, as a coach...
MT: Am not a coach
AS: Why?
MT: Am an assistance. Marina Zueva is a coach.

AS: I was flying with Marina from Zurich and she said how well you worked with Evgenia and Vladimir before the nationals and that you have changed a lot after being in Canada.
MT: I told you I became a different person after Canada.
AS: About money?
MT: About people. Marina said the truth - I changed my attitude. I saw how the professionals work. I used to think I was a professional, but no, am an amateur.

AS: At what point you decided you were an amateur?
MT: When skating in the show. When I was skating I was thinking I was payed for my Olympic medal. But now, apparently I was payed for what I was doing on the ice here and now. We would be travelling the whole night, sleep on the bus, then I wake up at 11 and no one is there. `Where are they all' I ask. And am being told Scott went for an ice lesson in Pro Dance Studio, Tessa went to a yoga class. And it's a moment I realize that our athletes would never do that. It's just not acceptable.

AS: The 3 times Olympic champion Scott went to an ice dance class in the morning.
MT: That's when my world turned upside down. A person who could earn so much money in the shows decided to give it up and become a farmer. For them figure skating is not a reason to keep skating. Just as it is for me. I stayed in figure skating commenting it, I try to do some other things but am surrounded by figure skating and can't see a thing except it. And here are people who won 3 Olympic gold - one wants to go study to commerce or law, the other just wants to be come a farmer. It blew my mind. I understood that you are happy wherever you are happy and now where you just ended up being. Unfortunately, in Russia you do what you can and not what makes you happy.

AS: Have you figured how to become happy?
MT: Am willing to change my life, because am no longer happy with a new car, the great home or my Moscow lifestyle. It what makes me unhappy. And I want to be happy. But I can't really tell.

AS: And yet in order to be happy you have to work?
MT: Of course.

AS: So may be coaching will make you happy?
MT: I was never a coach.
AS: How come?
MT: The coach is the one who teaches. For me the coach is, say, Vlad Zhovnirskii. He was teaching Fedorova/Miroshking, he was working with the juniors and the seniors. Taking Tarasova/Morozov and being with them for a couple of years... and to call yourself a coach who have done something? It's a lie. Shared some experience? Yes. But that's not coaching.

AS: Have you ever considering working with a juniors pair?
MT: And who would let me?
AS: Nina Mozer?
MT: I doubt. Nina Mikhailovna would let anyone but me
AS: Why?
MT: We have a different kind of relationship. Very good and close, but think she just doesn't seem a coach in me. And I trust her. I'm used to trust her.
AS: Why does she see in you?
MT: You'll have to ask her that.
AS: But you are working in Tarasova/Morozov team
MT: Am not their main coach. I was last year, I was responsible and I lost every possible competition, so the conclusion was am not the best coach.
AS: What about the Worlds medal
MT: It was more Mozer's medal than mine.
AS: Were you ever interested in coaching?
MT: Am not used to give up. I knew Tarasova/Morozov were not a coaching project, but a challenge. I will not give up till they win. Forget not becoming the national champions. It's not a big deal. It's not important right now to beat Boikova/Kozlovski or someone else - we are aiming at the Chinese. We have to take 5-7 steps back and learn different things. In order to beat Lori Nichol and her Chinese pair we have to lose a bit today. It's a good thing the guys and their coaching team understand that.

AS: Is Lori Nichol a magician?
MT: Carolina Kostner, Patrick Chan, Sui/Han, Dennis Ten, Evan Lysachek. Those are the people she worked with.

AS: So she doesn't work with the Russians?
MT: That's the rumour. She never choreographed for the Russians. Tanya and I wanted to work with her but she never had time. We never contacted her ourselves, we asked the federation, but the answer was always the same: there is no time. But I like what Tarasova/Morozov do with Marina. Zueva has 11 Olympic medals for 3 different countries. For me she is the best thing. Every time I stand next to her near the border I try to process every word she says. She is always spot on. I hardly ever think I am wrong, but yet I tell Marina so often `sorry, I said something wrong'.

AS: Have you watched the juniors? Pepelova/Pleshkov?
MT: Of course. I think they have a great potential. They sometimes skate quite badly, but they are one of the best suited pairs. I see some inner energy in them. Roma went out from the ice and said `Damn, Maks, I knew you were watching and I was afraid you'd kick me'. It's nice to hear that.

AS: They are skating in your costumes from the 2010-11 season
MT: It's a tragic story - the creator of these costumes Elena Forino died last fall. Cancer. It's a huge loss for a lot of people. Roma's and Alina's costumes were not yet ready, so they took our costumes, which were also by Elena. Though they made some alterations - Roma's costume is 50% different, Alina's is a bit different.

AS: When Pepeleva/Pleshkov came to the mixed zone at the Nationals I told my colleagues it's the 2026 Olympic champions.
MT: I wouldn't want to voice that - there is still so much work ahead of them and we don't know what will become of them. I was reading a lot of interviews by my favourite coach Nina Mozer, including those by you, where you named a lot of different future Olympic champions. And think I can argue - a lot have not lived up to your expectations. Say, Maksim Miroshkin.

AS: Just that his partner Liza Zhuk became too tall.
MT: Just that Maksim Miroshkin is not a champion. It's a different story. The coach might assume, but destiny will decide. The point is - don't make predictions. First they have to win something. As of right now Pepeleva/Pleshkov are last? almost last? in the GPF. What else is there to say?

AS: Do you have a point of view as a coach how should they develop?
MT: I don't have a coach point of view because as I said, am not a coach. I only work with Tarasova/Morozov. I will not pretend not having others offering to work with them - both juniors and seniors. But I only work with Tarasova/Morozov not because I want to be a coach, but because I couldn't say no to these people. Evgenia/Vladimir and I don't have the coach/athlete relationship.

AS: You said you do.
MT: Not anymore. Behaviour - yes. Vladimir will not treat me the same on the ice and among the friends which am very grateful for. He can tell me `Maks, screw you' when we are with the friends. We are friends. But he would never do that during the work. The same with Evgenia. On the ice am the person who is trying to help them win the medal they want. And believe me, it's not the nationals or a GPF

AS: So you are a coach after all.
MT: An older friends. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person Evgenia and Vladimir would listen to.

AS: What do you mean?
MT: No, I mean they listen to everyone, but there are moments when you have to put some pressure. It happens when the athlete is hesitating. `Believe me, this is how you have to do it - this is for your best'. Something of the kind. Sometimes I take the role of the person to voice things to him. I'm kind of a mental coach, kind of a technical coach, but not the actual coach, because am not the one who does their system.

AS: How does Tatiana take your crossroads?
MT: Tanya is my best friend. I go to her with all my problems. She is the one who is the two times Olympic champion I'm just like..
AS: Yes, I heard that before.
MT: Because I never wanted to become an Olympic champion. Hence I consider Tanya being an Olympic champion and me- her partner. It could be anyone. If Alexandr Smirnov was skating with Tanya he would win the Olympics. Or Vladimir Morozov could have two Olympic golds. It doesn't matter who. It was Bruno who won the gold in Korea with Aljona Savchenko.

AS: Yes, Aljona is the leader there.
MT: And for me - Tanya. And I think Tanya is better than Aljona.
AS: who would have doubted.
MT: Because Aljona didn't beat Tanya while Tanya beat Aljona. It was the competition of two best partners of the worlds. Savchenko is great. And who beat the great? Volosozhar. It's like beating Mukhamed Ali. Tanya did it.

AS: What does she tell you generally?
MT: She advises. `This costume doesn't work...', `try telling Evgenia this...', `Her hair should be like that...'. Tanya is a part of the team. She just doesn't have a salary.

AS: And on your crossroads, she, a wise woman, shows you the way?
MT: When we were skating there was no leader in our pair. Each had their responsibility. It was our strength that we took to our family. All the decisions are common and well considered. If I tell her let's move to Jamaica and open a rink there and raise some Jamaican skaters she'll tell me `let's go there for a couple of weeks and see what is it like. Tanya loves me for my creativity, I love Tanya for her support of my craziest ideas. But if the idea is absolutely crazy she'll tell me `don't'. And I'll listen. When am hungry and I want to buy the whole store - the pasta, the gnocchi, the shrimps she would ask me `Will you eat that?' or `Will you cook that?' I have my TV shows, the training plans, getting ready to the interviews... stuff to do at home. So we just take the gnocchi, do them fast and are done. Those are the moments am truly happy.
 

MsZem

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Every time I read an interview with Trankov my reaction is "never change, Maxim", but since he does want to make changes in his life I'll wish him the best with that. He's lucky to have Volosozhar - whom Savchenko defeated plenty of times, but it's perfectly reasonable to consider her the best nonetheless. They're both incredible skaters.
 

rfisher

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Well, Volo did beat Savchenko in the competition both of them considered to be the ultimate one. :lol: Which of course just inspired Aliona to come back 4 years later and give us an exquisite LP in Korea. Sochi will always be one of my favorite pair competitions since it pitted Volo, Savchenko and Stolbova against each other.

I love Maks. He's always been very upfront that he didn't skate because he liked skating. It was simply a means to an end of supporting himself and now his family which is what the OGM gave him. I do hope he can find a way to do so by doing something he enjoys. He's fortunate that Volo is his voice of reason who will let his wild creative side out while being practical about matters. And, that little girl looks exactly like him.
 

Bigbird

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I truly used to be repulsed by this man, but I think he's softened up a bit. Thank you Tanya. This was refreshingly honest without being too crass.
 

3T3T

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I never know what to make of him and his interviews. As always it’s entertaining, but he seems like an awful drama queen. Tatiana definitely seems to the boss in that relationship.

What does Kafelnikov say on Twitter? I always liked him as a player.
 

Tinami Amori

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What does Kafelnikov say on Twitter? I always liked him as a player.
... some loud proclamations without reasons or explanations..

  • "Russian soccer is dead as a sport"
  • When Sharapova donated $25K to help the victims of Australia's fires, and another celebrity questioned her intentions as genuine, Kafelnikov said something very rude (in form) to this person.
  • about a current hockey game that a russian team played - "how did they manage to feck up this game??!!"
  • he said (about journalists/reporters and Soloviev) - "they all need to be confined to an insane asylum for a psychiatric treatment"..
  • he made nasty comments about the soccer club "Spartak" and his owner...

He makes a lot of provocative loud and insulting statements... kind of a "shock-jock" style..
 

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