Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Zueva

TAHbKA

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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Marina Zoueva for rt.ru

EV: What did you learn from the Europeans in Graz?
MZ: I generally like not only following the competitions but the practices and the warm ups. Everyone has a different approach and there is always something to pay attention to. For example I noticed that Sinitsina/Katsalapov's practices were great, not a single mistake, which is something new for them. I think it's part of the strategy. Thanks to those practices in judges' minds they came even closer to Papadakis/Cizeron. They are almost equal. And, think, it wasn't a surprise they beat the French once the French made a mistake.

EV: Oleg Vasiliev said it doesn't matter how the skaters do before the competition. The example he gave was the practice before the SP where your pupils Tarasova and Morozov were spotless, while Boikova/Kozlovski failed almost all their elements.
MZ: It was the same before the LP, by the way. And yet: if we set the goal to win the Olympics they have to aim not only skate well at the competition but at the practice as well. Especially when the practices are open for the judges, the press and the audience. When you are making mistakes all the time no matter what you'll never get a 10 for the presentation. That's the way our sport is.

EV: You said you don't consider Tatasova/Morozov's silver a failure. It's the 4th competition in a row your athletes lose to Boikova/Kozlovski. You understand such a prolonged list of defeats will hurt their image, the impression, the second mark...
MZ: The judges can't mark them high when they fail their elements. It effects the choreography as well. I know for sure: should Evgenia and Vladimir skate well their result will be very high. that's it. Of course am upset with their mistakes, it would be silly to deny. But let those mistakes happen now, rather than the moment you can't fix it anymore. We have done the main job, I hope it's visible. We changed their image, they have their own face now, they skate. Besides, I see the improvement from one competition to the next.

EV: The amount of work you have done with Tarasova/Morozov is visible. What do they do collaborating with Mozer and Trankov? I ask because it's something not visible for a viewer.
MZ: The work is done with all the specialists and there are the results, just that they are not really visible yet - it's hard in such a short period of time to gather it all at once. But it will. We do all we can for that. I keep explaining the journalists: my work with the guys is not a revolution, not an attempt to ruin all and create anew. I had simply joined the process that happened for many years. Even now I never rely on my point of view only and try to gather as many opinions as possible, especially at the competition. It helps seeing the whole picture.

EV: When you first started working with Evgenia and Vladimir were you sorry it was only now and not after the Sochi Olympics?
MZ: I never thought about it. What for? I live today. I like working with the guys, I have a lot to give them, I have an understanding how to develop them further. I would even say Tarasova/Morozov are the last of the Mahicans in a way: the last team who looks like a real pair, in it's full sense.

EV: After the Sochi Olympics it seemed Tarasova/Morozov were redundant - for their coach, for the federation. I think they still have that need to be loved, appreciated...
MZ: Well it's exactly what am doing now. Just that we need time. Am still in the process of picking the right specialists for them: we have to work on the jumps and a lot of other things. Of course we'd love to see the result sooner. I hope by the Worlds we'll be in the top shape and skate there differently.

EV: When commenting on their not really good skate Morozov mentioned he and Evgenia try to come earlier to a competition where they might be jetlagged, but this time they couldn't stay home after the Nationals because you needed to go back to the USA as soon as possible
MZ: It's impossible to attend all the competition in advance - the jet lag takes at least 10 days. And even then the athletes would sometimes miss the elements. You can never be sure. Had Tarasova/Morozov skated clean in Graz you would all be writing the jet lag doesn't exist, right?

EV: Are you limited in any way when making decisions about this pair?
MZ: No. We are all on the same note, we are in a contact constantly. Maksim Trankov comes to Florida quite often.

EV: A year ago commenting his own work with Tarasova/Morozov Trankov made a sad joke that now everyone knows he's not much of a coach. Since Maksim still works in your team he does have his good coaching sides after all?
MZ: Of course. He can see and evaluate a situation very fast, he feels the athletes, understands what must be done. Except for that Maksim has his own career, a very long one behind him and an understanding the result does not come immediately. You have to be patient. As for the technical part Trankov worked with various great coaches at the time and it's a vast experience on it's own. His knowledge in the pairs skating is unlimited. Most important is to use it all wisely.

EV: I thought Maksim's saying the main advantage of the two times world champions Sui/Han is their programmes by Nichol somehow doubtful. And that she would not work with the Russians...
MZ: I don't think that's the reason. First of all any successful programme is how it's executed. I worked with the Chinese team at the time during 4 seasons when they first began their juniors career. They both are very dancy, especially him. They have a great dancing coordination, they have a special feel of the music. Hence I started choreographing very dancy programmes for them. `Rhumba' was brought to me by Alan. Name me one pairs skater who would bring their choreographer a dance music? It was the same with the `Russian dance'.

EV: Who on earth is Alan?
MZ: That's how we call Han in the USA - it was easier for him to pick himself an American name. And again, the outstanding choreography is first of all an outstanding execution.

EV: Have you ever counted how many programmes can a top choreographer don one season and remain the level of the quality?
MZ: I don't believe it's limited. There were times when I would do up to 200 programmes a year when I was working in Canada. It was part of my job that was not even payed because I had a contract.

EV: After the Olympics in Sochi Sinitsina/Katsalapov came to you but they had to come back because of their behaviour...
MZ: I never said that.

EV: It's not a secret not all foreigners can behave correctly when they are in the USA. I know after the last worlds Aratyunian had to part ways with his Korean pupil Su Lim. Did you have to teach Tarasova/Morozov to behave right?
MZ: All athletes behave differently in the practice - I wouldn't even differentiate the Europeans from the Russians. They all fight during the practices. Hence everyone who is in the group has to do the mental work as well. In my case there are athletes from 11 countries. They are all sometimes stressed, they all sometimes have misunderstandings with their partners.


EV: I guess in Russia the coaches are less strict about such conflicts?
MZ: Yet it does not mean the Russian coaches do not work with their athletes on the mental side of things. However, there is the Safe Sport in the US, where it's written explicitly what is forbidden for coaches and the athletes. And the list is indeed quite long.

EV: When will you start working on the new programmes with Tarasova/Morozov?
MZ: In April. We decided to start the season earlier. Last year we were choreographing the programmes in July and it was a bit late. I like it when the final result is visible before the beginning of the season.

EV: Do you already have the ideas for the programmes?
MZ: Of course. And the music.

EV: How do you explain almost all ultra c elements are gone from the pairs skating?
MZ: The rules, where the judges mainly pay attention to the quality of the elements. They are looking for an interesting entry and dismount, the elements to be executed well. It all gives more points than the quad throws or quad split twists.

EV: But you already started thinking what programmes should your team do in 2 years in order to aim for the gold in Beijing?
MZ: Of course. Just please don't expect me to share it with the world just yet
 

VGThuy

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EV: Who on earth is Alan?
MZ: That's how we call Han in the USA - it was easier for him to pick himself an American name. And again, the outstanding choreography is first of all an outstanding execution.

LMAO! I’m imagining him quickly looking through a list of American names to go by and just choosing from the first few he saw. At least, that’s what my husband, who is also Chinese did, when he was younger.
 

MacMadame

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My step-father and ex-BIL picked American names that sounded like their Chinese names. Though my ex-BIL kept changing his.
 

VGThuy

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My cousin who goes by Amy for the past 15 years or so originally chose Courtney (probably due to Courtney Cox and Courtney Love) but then the 90s were over.
 

MacMadame

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My cousin who goes by Amy for the past 15 years or so originally chose Courtney (probably due to Courtney Cox and Courtney Love) but then the 90s were over.
My ex-BIL was a piece of work so I won't go through his evolution of names in public. But I will say that it wasn't changing his name that annoyed me, at least not 100%. It's that he wouldn't tell me that he'd changed his name so when I called him by the name he last told me to use, he'd get all offended. I solved the problem of his ever-changing names by always using his Chinese name. 🤷‍♀️
 

oleada

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My step-father and ex-BIL picked American names that sounded like their Chinese names. Though my ex-BIL kept changing his.
This is what some grad school friends did, but I also feel like flower/virtue names (Grace, Lily, etc) were popular.
 

MacMadame

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These days most of the people I work with from Asian countries just go by their Asian names though. I guess they figure people mispronouncing their actual names is better than having people call them by some name they've never been called by?
 

VGThuy

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These days most of the people I work with from Asian countries just go by their Asian names though. I guess they figure people mispronouncing their actual names is better than having people call them by some name they've never been called by?

I guess after what feels like literally a million "Grace Lee"s they decided it's less confusing to use their real names. Of course that may not stop Asian-Americans from naming their kids that.
 

Immortelle

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The ESL class I taught 15 years ago had several Asian students, and a lot of them chose English names. The only problem arose when a couple of them decided they didn’t like their names and changed them on me! One girl changed names three times over a semester and eventually I made her stick with the third name. She stayed as Ashley for the rest of the two year course...
 

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