Tatiana Tarasova interview/TASS – one can’t lie to children.

Tinami Amori

Well-Known Member
Tatiana Tarasova interview/TASS – one can’t lie to children
(by Natalia Barinova, june 05, 2019)
(there are some idioms, I’ll try to provide few options)

Editorial: The Soviet and Russian figure skating coach, Master of Sports of USSR/International Level, Tatiana Tarasova, more than 40 times led her skaters to victory at World and European championships. On June 9, on Russian Channel #1, the jury, presided by Tarasova, will announce the new “stars” of figure skating – the winners of the Season 2 “Ice Age. Children”, boys and girls in singles, and the best dance team as well. The mentors (coaches) this year were Navka, Kostomarov, Trankov and Averbuch.

In the interview with TASS, Tatiana Tarasova shared her views: can one score these little kids without a heavy-heart; does she plan to train more skaters; what can be done to counterbalance (kids’ preoccupation with) the technical gadgets; should the future retirees (pensioners) step on the “professional” ice; and her thoughts on what’s important in life and sports.

Q: Tatiana Anatoilevna, the 2nd Season of “Ice Age – Children” is almost over, soon comes the final. What do you think of the kids, did they do a good job?
T: All kids, overall, are good. I think what we’re doing is very good. The kids are excited, and they work a lot, and work with excellent coaches, who are Olympic champions themselves.

Everyone is enjoying it. The coaches, first of all, are doing all possible, so they themselves do not to loose the competitive spirit, which any person must hold up for as long as one lives. Second, it gives a chance for these adults to compete with each other. Third, they have a lot to share. Many of them never worked as coaches, and it is a valuable experience.

And on the other end – the children, who are receiving a big energy boost, and knowledge. Both sides enrich each other. The kids, I think, are lucky to be in this project – to have an opportunity at such young age to work professionally with our exceptional skaters, who are such hard workers and are capable of swiftly teaching kids so much.

Of course, the kids spend days and nights on ice. The training is very intense and beneficial. These coaches are truly fighting for their kids, for their ideas, investing themselves into their pupils.

You know what’s the most important thing in life?

Q: What?
T: The most important thing in life – is love. And you can feel it in this project. Our coaches are used to the attention, the ovations, the victories. And in our project they fall in love with work, with the idea, with the talent of the skaters. And there is no greater power than love that moves it all. It is a living energy. Nothing can be stronger. And from week to week it’s obvious how the children are changing. They grow (improve). It happens here and now, right in front of audience’s eyes. No tricks.

Q: I don’t doubt it for a second. And what about the psychological burden, is it difficult to judge such little ones? I watched a few segments, some are just babies. Is there a fear (concern) to hurt their feelings by telling the truth?
T: The sport is fair – it is based on merits (Sport – is a very fair thing). Either you can do something, or you can not. If you can’t do something, you need to learn how to fix it, so that you can. People realize it since childhood. They realize and learn. And in ballet? In music? Or any sport? All this takes a full dedication from the child; it teaches him to develop.

You can’t bypass (seek an easy way around). You can’t deceive (fool anyone). You come out (on the stage) and you stand as if naked (at the mercy of the audience/judges). And if judges start to pamper you (judge you lightly) and to tell you how great you are, while you’re lame (crooked/clumsy) or fell three times, and yet they are telling you that all is great and perfect, it just won’t work. You can’t lie to them even if they are children. They must learn to understand, if they are criticized it means there are those who still care for them.

There are some people I don’t tell about their faults or mistakes. And that means they are of no interest to me.

It’s possible, that kids may feel upset, but that’s life. And in life nobody is spared from anything (insured from anything). It’s best to learn from childhood about your shortcomings and try to become better, than to remain a pampered princess all your life. (ref to fairy tale “The Princess and The Pea”)

Q: In other words, to judge (these kids) is easy?
T: Of course it is not easy. Sometimes you just feel sorry… But (to participate) it was their choice. Or their parents’ choice. Figure Skating is a tough sport. It develops different qualities, including “the athletic anger”. A child must learn to hold himself together. They are no longer playing in the sand-box (even if some are young enough to do so); they are “in business” (engaged in an important activity). And from this (activity) there are benefits for life (valuable skills to use in life); regardless, if they later skate or not.

Q: Right now there is a controversy around the show “Voice – Children”, and a discussion came up if in general the talents of the young kids should even be judged.
T: There were always competitions for children, even 100 years ago. For children, and teenagers. And all such competitions start with ages 6-7. You start in place (at the bottom) and move up the ladder and must understand that you’re moving up, not standing still. Yes, it is not easy, but no one promised that it will be easy. One can expect fairness, interesting work. But to be easy – no! That’s how the steel is tempered. (it is a ref to a soviet time novel, also known in the west as “The Making of a Hero”.)

One must forge “a character” from childhood. And what about the musicians who at the age of 4 pick up a violin and for many hours practice notes? Is it easy for them?

Q: I doubt that it is. And what do you think, did the international success and wins of our girls Med/Zag helped to popularize figure skating?
T: I’ve been working in figure skating for 53 years. And in all this time, we rarely lost. We are winning (medals) all these years. So these wins do not surprise us. (she is talking in general, that at least in one of the disciplines there are always champions).

Q: But then why do you think that among Russian men singles there are no such leaders in the last years? How do you explain it?
T: You know what? Even an apple tree does not have fruits every year. One year there are fruits, another year not - a hiatus.

I also think that in general the women are stronger. That’s how it is. But someone will come forward soon. In a few years. Guaranteed. It comes in waves. Not every year the land of the rising sun (japanese earth) produces Yuzuru Hanyus. He loves his work so much, he has an incredible character… And that’s in addition to (his beauty) how handsome he is, and having a perfect ear for music; I remember him from his first competition. And yet there are other kinds of children, who have not yet learned how to talk, but stretch their hand to grab a gadget and intuitively push all sorts of buttons.

Q: What do you think, can sport become a substitute to all these gadgets?
T: But of course! How can it not be? One can’t run and jump with a computer.

Q: But some don’t even care to jump. They simply sit and squish the buttons..
T: Yes, some don’t care. But as the saying goes “What’s good for the Russian, is deadly for the German”. (ref: old WWII saying). To each his own (ref. german saying: zu jedem das seine). Although, I do have respect for the youth that studies computers.

We used to read (real) books, but they learn all kinds of stuff in that little box, which can answer any question: how to bake a cake, which pill to take and how it works, how to find directions in San Francisco. That’s also very interesting. We looked at San Francisco with eyes wide open (when visiting), it was another world, another country. It took us 2-3 days, with stop-overs, to get there (from Moscow). And yet these kids can now visit any street in America in just a few seconds, conduct virtual walks and even visit museums. And that is too a progress, and I can not avoid admiring it.

Same with figure skating: some, like our girls, for example, are ahead, and some are lagging behind.

Q: And do you see any young skaters who soon will stop “lagging behind” and “push ahead” at the upcoming competitions?
T: I do, there are many. But will not comment on this subject just yet. I will just say one thing, that the training must about precision and pin-point work. If one has an outstanding athlete, who can be brought from junior level to the master’s level, one has to take full control and guidance. And to work with such devotedly, not side track.

Q: At what age can you tell? Can you tell at the age of 5 if one is a future champion?
T: Not quite, at 5 it is too early.

Q: Are there any boys in “Ice Age - Children” who are future champions?
T: There are some very interesting boys. Very interesting.

Q: Tatiana Anatolievna, I wanted to ask for long time, how do you find the right words for each participant? It’s not like you’re given a script?
T: Of course, there is no script, not a single word.

Q: So how do you succeed at finding the right words?
T: I am not exactly succeeding. Just trying my best – like any person. Just like you, when writing an article, trying your best. No person (kid) is the same – so I try to find my own words for each one. Why would I brush each one with the same comb… (one size does not fits all).

Q: You’ve been on TV, the head of the jury (in skating shows) for so long. Is this a hobby or a job for you? Is it not difficult to be in public eye all the time?
T: It is work, not a hobby. It is a big responsibility. You need to understand that you’re talking to the whole country, that you’re entering everyone’s home.

What is the goal? To make people love figure skating. Then they will watch our show and enjoy it. And that is the end goal – to make people fall in love with what you love yourself. To make them fall in love with our sport, so that the next generation can cheer on the stands for skaters from their own country. And we will succeed. Look at how full the rinks are (skating groups). Because our people returned, back to our roots (heritage), this winter sport is ours. And after all, it is simply terrific – to go out and skate. This is health for our nation. And on top of it, there is music (you get music with skating).

Q: So let me see if I got the sequence right: this show promotes/popularizes figure skating; then children fall in love with this sport and run to the rink to sign up for lessons? But do we have the right conditions to develop young skaters? I always though that in figure skating there is a problem: talented skaters go abroad/west to train… Is there, to play with words, a “skate-migration”?
T: No, right now there is no “skate-migration”. Simply, we have many gifted girls, they can’t wait and let their talents parish, so they leave, to skate for another country, so they could at least skate. We can’t hinder them. There are international rules, according to which we release them to another country so they can develop their talents. It may be difficult, because sometimes very good ones leave. But they should not be held back, it’s not fair to children. So only in that regards there are transfers.

Q: Do we here provide good conditions?
T: Are you kidding me? We provide excellent conditions!

Q: You, yourself, no longer train skaters, and only act in the capacity of a consultant for the Olympic teams?
T: Yes, that’s how it turned out in my life. Apparently “somebody” decided that I am no longer useful, and my knowledge is not needed. And yet it (coaching) is my main job, and I take it very had.

Q: But now if you see some talented boy and girl, do you not want to say: “come with me, I’ll make a champion out of you”?
T: I never said this (to anyone) and never approached (anyone), they all came to me on their own (editorial: laughing). I had my own groups, like many coaches. That’s where we raised our champions. Traveled a long road.

Q: Ok, let me re-phrase. Can any child have a hope that his/her coach will be Tatiana Tarasova?
T: If I am called – I will be there, on that very day.

Q: Excellent. Now I have this question, maybe it will sound strange to you… Given the recent national political discussions about pension reforms, would it make sense to hold a show “Ice Age – 50+”?
T: That needs to be addressed to Ilysha (Averbuch). You know what Igor Moiseev (famous choreographer of USSR Folk Dance Academy and "Moiseev Dance Company") used to say? “An dancer (ballet artist) should work for 20 years and then retire.” And the dancers came to him and said “we do not want to retire. We are of sound mind and in good shape, we can still dance”. And Moiseev said to them “You can still dance, but it does not mean you’re watchable/stage-worthy”. (one of Moiseev’s sayings. He meant “age takes its tall and the audience notice it”).

Q: There is a show “Voice – 60+”. Did you see it?
T: “Voice” – is not on ice skates. It’s not a health hazard. The worst damage possible is to your vocal cords. I did see it, by the way. Of course you can learn to skate on ice even after 50. But to do elements – is a risk. I don’t know who would risk it. It’s dangerous. Perhaps if some older former skaters are invited… Or invite maybe those who want to retire before their due time. Those with some disability. But I don’t advise it. (she means it most likely as a joke).

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Like a small boat on the ocean...
Thanks for posting that. The questions seem a little adversarial. I was surprised to see that.


Well-Known Member
T: The sport is fair – it is based on merits (Sport – is a very fair thing). Either you can do something, or you can not. If you can’t do something, you need to learn how to fix it, so that you can. People realize it since childhood. They realize and learn. And in ballet? In music? Or any sport? All this takes a full dedication from the child; it teaches him to develop.
You can’t bypass (seek an easy way around). You can’t deceive (fool anyone). You come out (on the stage) and you stand as if naked (at the mercy of the audience/judges).
And in life nobody is spared from anything (insured from anything). It’s best to learn from childhood about your shortcomings and try to become better, than to remain a pampered princess all your life.

Love it!

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