Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Moskvina

TAHbKA

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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Tamara Moskvina for rt.com

EV: After two of your teams did brilliantly at the Europeans I couldn't help thinking: it's a shame one of these teams will be defeated. Do you ever feel tha way during the competitions?
TM: I always leave the result to the judges. It's their job to decide who ends up where. Attempting to predict who will mark how is useless, more than that the judges are always different. Hence Arthur Minchuk's and my job is to allow the judges to choose yet have both of our team as high as possible. That's why we work with so many specialists.

EV: Boikova/Kozlovski spent quite a lot of time in Novogorks collaborating with Nikolai Morozov. Was it your idea or their requiest?
TM: I was the first to voice the idea. We were looking for a dancing specialist who would create their SP and would work on the expressions of the steps. I.e. the 2nd mark. That specialist turned out to be Morozov. He choreographed the programme and generally Alexandra and Dmitrii liked working in Novogorsk. In St. Petersburg they mainly share the ice with the juniors, while there they had a more mature company.

EV: Kozlovski admitted in the press conference the constant competition has two sides. It not only motivates the athlete, but also drains mentally. Do you have to take measures to reduce the competition within the group?
TM: The guys are not sharing the ice during the practices -they only compete at the competitions. It's just the way it is: it was more convenient for us working with them separately in two different groups. It's hard to tell which of the skaters is more pressure prone.

EV: What about your past skaters, who reacted to the competition the worst?
TM: No one. At some point I had Kazakova/Dmitriev and Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze. I knew the ladies are not very fond of each other, yet they were skating together, on the same ice and no one ever voiced their displeasure.

EV: So the ladies are harder to please?
TM: Can't say that. The situations differ and there is no sensor to measure the pressure within the group.

EV: What is more productive - having them share the ice or the separate ice time?
TM: When the athletes look at each other they start competing, try to do something better, to overtake the rivals and it's visible. But it's a normal process. I think that's the way the business is, no matter what field. Take `Apple' - they had an advantage in the IT because they wanted to overtake their rivals. Am certain there are spies from one company that have an access to all the information of the other.

EV: Are you saying you are following what is going on in the coaching groups of your rival coaches?
TM: it's easier in our field - we are often at the same rink and you can compare your work with theirs, see the advantages and disadvantages, change your preparations. I think I was quite good in that.

EV: As long as figure skating went by the old judging system your skaters seemed equal. Now Mishina/Gallyamov not only are ahead in the base value but also have all the titles except for the Olympics. Do you divide your teams in your head by their level?
TM: Let me remark about Mishina/Gallyamov's base level: they did their hardest combo before they switched to me from the great specialists Ludmila and Nikolai Velikovs. So it's not as if I taught one team one thing and didn't teach the other team. Besides, I really don't think Boikova/Kozlovskii are less competitive. Our whole training team is doing a lot so our teams would be equal.
If your rival has harder elements it does not mean they can't be beaten with the quality or the 2nd mark. However, you can never tell what the result will be. Every athlete is a black box in that matter. What is inside that box depends on a lot of things: mentality, motivation, how do they fell, their mood... Are you trying to convince me our athletes were not ready for the Europeans?

EV: Not at all. Just that there are so many talks now about one of your team certainly being part of the Olympic team event while the other team's place is not certain. Hence am trying to figure: did Boikova/Kozlovski have a chance to skate better in Tallinn?
TM: Unfortunately the guys did the silliest mistake in their salchow. It's not the hardest jump and Sasha and Dima never made a mistake in it. Never. Perhaps they wanted to show their best too badly and that will influenced their inner balance. As for the Olympic team event we don't know what the Federation will decide, so there is no point discussing. I personally would love to see the skaters who can bring our country the highest placement.

EV: How did you pull Alexandra Boikova from the emotional pit she landed after missing the jump in the SP?
TM: I had to mentally convince her

EV: It's understood in theory. But doing it and in such a short time...
TM: Can tell you a story. Before one of the main competitions Mishkutenok/Dmitriev were practicing and fell from the lift, and it was a nasty fall. They skated ideally in the competition and one of the foreign journalists asked me how did I make Natalia forget about the fall. I wasn't about to tell her in details. So I just blurted `oh, nothing special, I hypnotized the skater'. The next day am reading the headline: `Moskvina hypnotizes her skaters'.
On a more serious note - there are enough ways to mentally influence the athletes.

EV: Yes, but the situations that happen during the competitions are not always predictable and not always, I think, the coach has the time to analyze it.
TM: For those who don't do that all the time it's rather tough to figure it out. I've been working with the athletes for 50 years. I learned a lot of things myself, a lot came with the experience. Whether this or that approach would work - I still can't tell. I don't always get what I aim for, frankly.

EV: Ever since the records exist in figure skating the journalists pay a lot of attention to them. Does it matter for you that all 3 world records in the pairs skating right now belong to Mishina/Gallyamov.
TM: It doesn't matter to me. During the season the athletes have to improve the quality of the elements, the quality of the programmes - that's the essence and the point of our work. Hence if they haven't done any severe mistakes their result will grow. The speed of that growth depends not only on the execution but how the judging team works. It's all quite subjective. Hence the only thing matters is where the athlete was placed at the end.

EV: Do you always agree with the placements?
TM: I just play by the rules which in our sport are decided by the ISU and Russia is a part of it. Hence our job is to follow these rules. The judges follow the same rules, by the way. More than that, the judges don't decide anything alone. That's why I never have any questions. More than that I realize the mark in our sport is not only about the technical level of the execution, but also can be influenced by so many things: the cultural differences, the musical preferences, the subjective points of view, the relationship between people and so on. You can't turn the timer on, you can't measure the art in cm. The grades were given? That's it. That's history now.
The only thing I can do if am not happy with my athletes' placement is to take the protocol, learn it, analyze it and see what else can be done, so my athletes will not get level 3 for the steps or the spins, but the 4th. I don't understand my colleagues, who keep complaining after every competition that they have done everything right, but they are misjudged. Every time I want to ask `have you ever tried to understand why are you always `misjudged'?

EV: Will your teams have a break after the Europeans?
TM: They always do after a competition. For example after the nationals the guys had 5 days off for the first time, even though normally we take 2, 3 at the most, days off. But this time I decided to go easy. We all had a very stressful preparation period. Besides, you can't demand them to come to the rink on Jan 1st?

EV: I know some coaches who do.
TM: I witnessed many times our athletes get back in shape very fast after the break. So I trust them.

EV: The final preparations for the Olympics are a narrow path that the athletes can not take a step aside?
TM: The other way around. The Olympics are a hard and full of responsibility. If you create an artificial pressure you might get an opposite result. The shape, like Mishin likes to say, is like a slingshot - in order to hit your target you have to pull the rubber with the certain pressure, but you can't have the rubber torn. I agree: I'd rather my athletes did not work hard enough just a bit than have an injury. We have to be especially careful when they have no previous Olympic experience.

EV: Are they more nervous in that case or the other way around?
TM: It's more what should they be ready to. For example at the nationals Mishina/Gallyamov were skating after Boikova/Kozlovski. They skated great and, of course, the crowd reacted - the thunder of applause. Even though Anastasia and Alexandr were skating in St. Petersburg as the World champions it was a new experience for them. Sweden's hall was empty - just the volunteers. I told the guys then `start getting used to it. You will probably end up in the last group at the Olympics, where a lot will have a great skate. If not all of them'

EV: The ability to take the athlete's mind off the redundant thoughts - part of the experience?
TM: It became easier now: they all have their gadgets, computer games. I recall in SLC Olympics I went sleighing in the mountains with Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze - our American fans offered us such an opportunity. So me, the most experienced coach, did not take into an account there will be sun in the mountains. Lena came back with a burnt face.

EV: What is the most important at the Olympics?
TM: To mind as little as possible to what is going on around you. There will be a lot of annoyances - the tests, the blocked movement, various rules and limitations. You have to take every situation as a given and take it calmly without any unnecessary emotions. And it would be good to take their mind off the competition in question. Should we now remind our athletes every day their most important competition is ahead of them they will finish their skating in Krasnoyarsk even before they reach Beijing.
 

MsZem

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17,382
I just love Moskvina. She is a treasure.

TM: Can tell you a story. Before one of the main competitions Mishkutenok/Dmitriev were practicing and fell from the lift, and it was a nasty fall. They skated ideally in the competition and one of the foreign journalists asked me how did I make Natalia forget about the fall. I wasn't about to tell her in details. So I just blurted `oh, nothing special, I hypnotized the skater'. The next day am reading the headline: `Moskvina hypnotizes her skaters'.
:rofl:

TM: I just play by the rules which in our sport are decided by the ISU and Russia is a part of it. Hence our job is to follow these rules. The judges follow the same rules, by the way. More than that, the judges don't decide anything alone. That's why I never have any questions. More than that I realize the mark in our sport is not only about the technical level of the execution, but also can be influenced by so many things: the cultural differences, the musical preferences, the subjective points of view, the relationship between people and so on. You can't turn the timer on, you can't measure the art in cm. The grades were given? That's it. That's history now.
This is such a good answer.
 

Amantide

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4,309
Luuuurve this woman. A real legend in this sport. Period! šŸ„°
Thank you very much for the translation @TAHbKA

TM: No one. At some point I had Kazakova/Dmitriev and Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze. I knew the ladies are not very fond of each other, yet they were skating together, on the same ice and no one ever voiced their displeasure.

Please, tell me more.:watch:lol

Should we now remind our athletes every day their most important competition is ahead of them they will finish their skating in Krasnoyarsk even before they reach Beijing.

She's so right about it. :D Difficult thing to do, but absolutely essential to keep it together before such important events.
 

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