Sergey Voronov retires `I was happy to skate till the age of 32'

TAHbKA

Cats and garlic lover
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Veronika Sovetova's interview with Sergey Voronov for tass.ru

VS: Sergey, why have you decided to leave so quietly - a day before the team test skate knowing all the attention would be on them - you announced the end of your career? `Spasibo, thank you, arigato, my long journey as an athlete came to an end' and that's it.
SV: That what I counted on, frankly. On the other hand what should it had been - was I supposed to be taken out in a coffin out of the competitive sport? Besides, we are used to the loud retirements, but it's not a tragic one - it's a thought of decision. I don't retire at the age of 15 nor 17, I do not retire because am young and injured. I have done all I wanted and all that was within my power. My career was colourful and that spiral ended on the high note - it's something any athlete can dream of.

VS: Still the athletes with a long career retired with more noise.
SV: I can't recall many athletes with a long career. Just one among the Russians.

VS: Pluschenko?
SV: You said so. Can you name anyone else?
VS: With such a long career as yours I guess not. Let us go back a bit - you were born in Moscow
SV: In Moscow on Arbat str number 2, which, as far as I know does not exist anymore. I was born in 1987 in a country that no longer exists USSR and it's our motherland. I told many times I ended up in figure skating by chance - mom's friend's daughter started skating. All our parents adored Rodnina, Gordeeva/Grinkov - those were the idols. The friend offered mother to send me skating as well. Mom thought figure skating was not a masculine sport and wanted me to swim. She decided to send me skating just for the company and become healthier. So here I was becoming healthier.
VS: Have you?
SV: Who could tell I would be sucked in so badly by the figure skating?

VS: Your first coach was Rafael Arutyunian
SV: Not quite. Arutyunian, but Narine. I started skating with her. I switched to Rafael Vladimirovich when I was 11, but a year later he moved to the USA. I didn't see the right coach for me in Moscow - at that moment I wanted to skate in St. Petersburg where Pluschenko's star began to shine. I always thought the St. Petersburg technique is so classical, correct. It's like the ballet - there is a Moscow school and the St. Petersburg, which is more academic and prestigious. I always aimed for that - if I do a jump it should be brilliant.

VS: Were you afraid starting working with Aleksey Urmanov, who had just began coaching then?
SV: First of all Aleksey Evgenievich was an Olympic champion and as a little kid I saw his victory in Lilhammer. I still remember his exhibition number. When your idol from the TV becomes your coach for me, a young guy it was really motivating. when there is such a charismatic coach in the border with you it helps.

VS: For many Urmanov remained such a prince in the shining armor.
SV: Good looking, noble - he had it all.

VS: And then the injures came.
SV: I divide my career before the 2013 and after. Yes. Injuries. And my youth stupidity, the lack of will to work. It's a fashion talking about the injuries now. Of course I had my share, it's the sport. But the failures at the competitions many times were caused by the lack of work. We worked great with Urmanov for 6 years, my first success on the junior and the senior level were with him

VS: And you had to live together through the comments about your being lazy and the criticism.
SV: Well, where are these people now? The best proof is to go out there on the ice and show what you can do. Perhaps it took time. But first of all I proved myself that am not as lazy as some depicted me.

VS: Back then you and Andrei Lutai brought the 2 spots for Vancouver Olympics.
SV: Let's be exact - the final points allowed the 2 spots. But Andrey was 10th while I was 13th. Let's call it out.

VS: But the numbers are on the table. You did get these spots. But I like it you refuse to take the praise.
SV: I simply remember quite well how it went - I skated the SP quite well, but not the LP. It's not an achievement. After Aleksey Evgenievich I skated in Nikolai Morozov's group, who am also grateful to for a lot of things. He taught me a lot in the skating and the steps. And the ogranization skills as well. He taught me not to dwell in small things, I became more mobile wth him. When you skate in the USA and then the next day you might end up being in Moscow and a week later in Japan. You are a professional working with Nikolai and have to be able to skate well no matter what the time zone is. He changed something in the way I take life.

VS: It was indeed impossible to tell in which country Nikolai would end up being. A real citizen of the world.
SV: And it's really cool

VS: In 2013 you came to Tutberidze's group. As far as I recall she never worked with such experienced skaters before.
SV: When we spoke on the phone she said `Allright, let's give it a try. But you will have to work a lot. Come to a practice tomorrow'. Thanks to her and her team I earned my first European medals, the GP medals. Her team taught me to overcome and am grateful to that team. She believed in me when the federation were saying `you are too old for figure skating, think of the future'. It was a good example that at the age of 27-28 when your team believes in you you are not yet done.

VS: And then Inna Germanovna Goncharenko.
SV: It was with her that finally I was able to land a good 3lz after the injury. A huge thank her for that. When she left TSKA I remained with Elena Germanovna Buyanova. Am also grateful to her for giving me such a great opportunity. I also want to thank Anna Bilibina who made the whole journey in TSKA with me and Tatiana Tarasova who had a share in my whole career. Her experience is irreplaceable.

VS: How did you deal with not making it to Sochi?
SV: What's the point talking about it now? It was a tough situation, we only had one spot. At that point our great Evgeni Pluschenko was skating. We all remember that Nationals, then Europeans all the changes. Things happened the way they did, there is no `what ifs' in history. It's done and gone. Yes. I didn't make it. When they write my not making to 3 Olympics is my main achievement - really, it's silly. Nevermind, I'll take it. It only pushes me harder to be successful in life. I think one must learn to turn the pages without being in agony. We are not eternal, nor is the sport - there are new people and new heroes. And taking the current team am thrilled I was able to skate till the age of 32.

VS: With the results.
SV: For better or worse - I did it. I did not give up. At the age of 30 in TSKA I won my first GP event. I had a lot of good moments in my career

VS: When you decided to go through the Olympic cycle you said you don't set a goal to make it to the Olympics in Korea.
SV: Making statements and doing it are not the same. Each has a goal and my goals did not include participating the Olympics. Let's be real - there are only 1-2-3 places. Just getting the equipment and going? What's the point? I never dreamed of that. When our girls were going we knew there would be a medal unless something weird happens. Representing Russia is cool, but my goal was to medal at each competition.

VS: No matter how hard the competition was for you I never recall you skipping the mixed zone - you always found the resources to come and talk to the press.
SV: It's part of our job. If something didn't work for me on the ice - it's not your fault. It's me who skated badly and it was not because of the journalists or coaches or the audience. The flash interview is part of the job which keeps you in shape. You want to throw away the skates but you have to go out and answer the questions and keep the face. It's not just in the sports. There are different situations. Besides, it's a lot about the upbringing. Of course there were journalists who were trying to shake me, provoked, but in such moment I thought - I'm happy with my job. They with theirs - not so much.

VS: The decision to retire is not something you came up with one day. Was it the pаndemiс that made you decide?
SV: I can be sincere about it - the choreographer, the surrounding knew about it. If there were the certain GP events I would had participated them. But the situation have changed and I decided it's time to move on. If I were 23-24 I could had waited. But the life is more than the sports, there are other interesting things that I would like to try.

VS: Such as?
SV: Am not original here. If you made such a journey in the sport, when you studied under so many amazing coaches and teachers and learned so many things from them you have to pass that knowledge. My coaches were all amazing. Hence I have a lot to pass to the next generation.

VS: I.e. coaching?
SV: Did you expect me to become a businessman or an office worker? I think of what am I interested in. Everyone knows my achievement, perhaps for some it's `achievements', but I do have my education now and can officially work. My profession is `coach and teacher'

VS: What did you feel when watching the test skates as an athlete who retired?
SV: From the other side. As a viewer, who understands figure skating quite well. I saw a lot of very interesting things which am going to use in my profession. It was interesting mentally especially after such a break. It was also visible who worked a lot and who didn't.

VS: Your family - how is it being the family of a skater for so many years?
SV: My family was always off limits. I can only say that the relatives live through the ups and downs. That's what the family for. I have nothing to add. It's my private life.

VS: What was the most painful moment of your career?
SV: There is nothing worse than an injury. You can live through a lot and even understand a traitor. But the injuries - they come so fast and go so slow. One moment and that's it. The consequences take so long. I went through that. And recovering was the hardest when going back to the ice.

VS: The first emotion - fear?
SV: Being vary it'll hurt again. Being afraid you can't anymore. Will it hurt? How badly will it hurt?

VS: The best moment of the career?
SV: I had many moments. The first JGP medal, the Junior Worlds medal, the Russian nationals gold, the first GP medal, the Europeans medal. When you take those medals as a young guy it one thing, when you are an adult it's different.

VS: Do you like today's figure skating with all the popularity and the other side of that popularity?
SV: There are pros and cons. But figure skating deserves such a popularity - it's the most interesting sport. It's heroes made it so popular.

VS: But you are one of these heroes.
SV: You said that. I don't consider myself one of them. There are much more successful ones. Some had the long career, some had a short but very colourful one. Each and their journey.

VS: Do you remember the first day the skating was done?
SV: Yes. There comes an understanding you don't have to go to the gym, there is no usual routine. The world does not revolve around me, the sun will still shine whether I retired or not. Everything comes to an end and it's a time for a new job.

VS: You don't yet have a job s a coach?
SV: Not yet.

VS: You are open for suggestions?
SV: You could put it that way.
 

BittyBug

The missing ingredient
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Always a class act. I loved his skating, the range he showed in his programs (from classical to rock and in between), his line, and of course, the infamous pants. ;) Here's to a successful and rewarding coaching career, and to seeing how he does passing on all of his knowledge to the next generations.
 

Spun Silver

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What a great guy. Congrats to him on a very successful career in its unique way. I'm glad we'll get to keep seeing him at the boards.
 

Sylvia

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SERGEI VORONOV: I WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING
By Tatjana Flade ©IFS | Oct 17, 2020
Excerpt from the beginning:
Let me tell you, my whole career is one favorite memory, with all its highs and lows. A career consists of highs and lows. Probably there are some memorable moments, but I love my career as a whole from the moment I was taken to a figure skating class at 4 years old up to the point when I posted about my retirement. My career ran from August 1991 to 2020 – 29 years.
I love figure skating in general — I like competitions, the whole process of the fight against yourself and the failures. It is good that they happened. If there had been no failures, I never would have skated as long as I did. Talking about whom I am grateful to, then first of all, I name my parents. They gave me the opportunity to skate in such hard times when the Soviet Union fell apart (in late 1991). At this time, nobody cared about sports and that we went from one end of Moscow to the other. What my mom, dad and grandma did was something from a fantasy world that I only realize now as an adult. The rest is history.
If someone told me now, “Sergei, you can return to the time when you were 4 years old and change something,” I would not change anything at all. Everything happened as it was supposed to happen, from the very beginning to the end of my path in the sport.
 

BittyBug

The missing ingredient
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22,758
What a fantastic interview - thank you @Eislauffan! With so many skaters ending their competitive days with mixed feelings, it's really nice to read someone express complete satisfaction with their career. And I loved this part:
If we talk about the development of figure skating, it is better when a career is a long story, so that the fans are growing with you and get older with you in a good sense. These are hard work and human emotions that you cannot buy for money and not with quadruple jumps. This feeling … when you are excited from one season to the next for your favorite skater, and you wait for the new programs. And this does not go on for two years, but for six or seven. This is a big part of life. This is probably the feeling that these athletes bring across when people thank them in this way.
 

Eislauffan

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What a fantastic interview - thank you @Eislauffan! With so many skaters ending their competitive days with mixed feelings, it's really nice to read someone express complete satisfaction with their career. And I loved this part:
Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed the interview. I posted some photos from Sergei's career (starting with Junior Worlds 2006) on my Instagram. There was unfortunately no room on the website.
 
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