Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Zhulin


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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Zhulin `I want to try a new style' for

EV: You had a chance to take your group to Novogorsk and you declined. Why?
AZ: Frankly? I was afraid joining such a big crowd. All the sports teams went to Novogorsk once they could. The other thing that I disliked is that they are expected to give up their lives for a whole month and be completely isolated: once you come you can't leave. I have two little kids, my second daughter was born in April. I can't leave my wife alone.

EV: Does it mean you won't see the ice for a while now?
AZ: There is an ice on `Moskvich', where we already settled the practices. We did the 'rona tests on Monday, if the results will be fine we'll start skating. Of course there will be some limitations, but we are ready.

EV: Limitations of the amount of people on the ice?
AZ: That as well. The age. Only those above the age of 18 will be allowed to practice.

EV: What is the point?
AZ: I'm not the address. I fail to see the point of what is going on in Moscow. The metro works, there are crowds there yet you have to take a walk by the schedule.

EV: How did you communicate with the athletes during the *********?
AZ: Vika and Nikita ran a lot, they have a treadmill home, they worked on their flexibility and they are in the usual working shape. Previously we would skate till May 25th and start preparing for the new season in Moscow by 15-20 of June. We plan to start more or less at the same time and the most important now is to get back into the ice shape. It's a shame, of course, that we probably won't have the GP series: seems they will be cancelled.

EV: You might as well keep the programmes...
AZ: We plan keeping the SD. The FD, I think, will be a new. We skated that programme for 6 times last season. The new season is pre-Olympic, so we want something new, I want to try a new style.

EV: Do you have some ideas?
AZ: There are plenty of ideas, I wish I could implement them.

EV: Previous years you'd hold training camps in different cities, now it seems you'll have to remain in Moscow.
AZ: We weren't going much actually. Mostly we went to Novogorsk. I think in 2 months the athletes missed skating so badly that it doesn't matter anymore where to skate. Just to get into the season gradually without forcing and getting injured.

EV: Who do you think will have a harder time getting back after the long break - the dancers or the singles?
AZ: Certainly those who jump. Recovering the quads is much harder than a choctaw or a mohawk: I witnessed that process many times and know even such great masters as Daisuke Takahashi at the beginning of the season simply had no jumps. All has to be worked on anew, the coordination is tough. In order to jump on the ice the off ice training is not enough.

EV: A lot of skaters admit after the first month of quarantining it was tough staying in the high spirits and keep working not understanding what for. Were you depressed?
AZ: On one hand those two months flew so fast, but I can't say I rested - I was always under this pressure, the routine killed me. I saw that Vika and Nikita sort of `shrinked'. Most important is to stay healthy and keep your lungs. And it's important we did it, though I was really worried. You know, when the athlete is in the top shape their immune system is compromised and they are prone for the infections

EV: Were Sinitsina and Katsalapov working all this time by their own plans or were you correcting that?
AZ: I didn't really need to control the process much - they are true professionals. I know they did a huge amount of running work. They ran much more than previous seasons and hope they are in a good shape. A lot will depend not on Vika and Nikita anymore, but us, the coaches: what kind of steps we'll come up with, lifts, how spot on will the programme be.

EV: I know the US skaters used their time to develop: took online ice classes, for example.
AZ: When the ice dancer can't skate I think running is better than dancing. The main problem at the beginning of the season is not performing a certain lift or an element, but to skate till the end of the 4 minutes programme. It was always the case - even when I was a competitive skater myself. It's the shape. Fortunately the rules changes did not involve the ice dance this year, just the jumps.

EV: Judging by your voice you are sceptical.
AZ: What do you want me to be when Lutz and Loop cost the same?

EV: I think it is understandable, a lot of skaters execute the Lutz in a way that it almost resembles the loop.
AZ: You could say that. And still lutz is a different speed, the ability to hold the outside edge till the end, it's the jump against your direction, based on the contra-movement. Loop does not feel that way. Ask any skater which jump is harder. Am certain almost everyone will name the lutz. As for the skaters being able to `steal' the entry - that's part of their professionalism

EV: Were you serious now?
AZ: Why not? When I see the underotated jumps I always take it as a technical mistake, the lack of execution. The jumps should be fully rotated. Yet if a skater manages to `steal' part of the jump in the prerotation, I can only admire their ability to gain an advantage without breaking the rules. It's something to come up with, find that loophole.

EV: The autobiography which you started writing you recall that a lot of moves you use in your practices you saw at Stanislav Zhuk's and Sergey Tchetverukhin's. Why have you decided to start writing the memoirs?
AZ: It seemed such a book might be interesting. All went quite well, but once the lockdown was released and I felt I can soon be back on the ice my writing motivation went down. I hope I'll get back to it. I just need to find some free time.

EV: Did anyone ask you to choreograph a programme?
AZ: Yes, but I had to decline - I couldn't break the quarantine.

EV: What about doing it online?
AZ: I wouldn't even try. In my books it's like a rubber women or a non-alcoholic beer. I can't even imagine how can a choreographer work without feeling the person. I don't even want to think of a possibility we might have to one day.

EV: What hurt you the most during the *********?
AZ: The inability to play football with my friends. I tried moving home, but understood that the laziness takes over with every passing day. Fortunately I did not gain weight, actually I lost 3kg. I read a Japanese article about a person eating once in 24 hours and having a 24 hours break between the meals. I wanted to try that method. I liked the result. So the ********* caused me to lead a healthy life.

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