Vaytskhovskaya's interview with Arutyunian

TAHbKA

Cats and garlic lover
Messages
20,912
Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Rafael Arutyunian for rsport.ria.ru

EV: Your pupil caused an uproar a year ago landing 6 quads in his LP. How many do you plan showing the Olympic season.
RA: For now it's around 4-5

EV: Seriously? I heard about 7...
RA: It's a possibility. It all depends on how ready we are for the Games, whether there is enough energy. Last season, for exmaple, Nathan skated well in the nationals and the 4CC, won them both but he ran out of steam by the Worlds. Hence this year we postponed the preparations a bit. Nathan is a young skater, besides he has a lot of new elements in his programmes.

EV: Such as?
RA: He started landing a quad loop - last season we didn't show that jump. This season he landed it twice in a competition.

EV: So the number 7 might be real?
RA: It's not about the quantity. But about Nathan being the first skater who landed all the quads in a competition. Not in one programme yet, but it's just a matter of time. As a coach that's the goal that I set.

EV: Agree with me, the Olympic season is not the right one for setting the records.
RA: Absolutely agree. Hence the talks about the amount of the quads is premature. We are now trying different variations and will decide by December.

EV: After the Olympics you'll get to that track again?
RA: No one knows what will be after the Olympics. Reckon there is another rules change coming and the quads will be re-evaluated.

EV: Surely they will not cost less then now.
RA: No. But if a fall from a quad will be penalized harsher we will all have to adjust the programmes. Even now it's not quite obvious which is better: land 2 quads, 8 or 5. Yet every new quad demands a different approach to the programme, it's a different tension, everything is different.

EV: The possibility of the rules change limits your coaching thought?
RA: It does for me. It's exactly that: I have no idea what to do now with my skater.

EV: And if you were sure there would be no limitations what would you be thinking about now? A 4A?
RA: Of course. Every coach always prepares the skater to break a record, that how it works. One record, the other, the next. This is how we worked our whole lives. Today we have no idea what will be the next step.

EV: Among the coaches how hot the rules change theme is?
RA: I think we are sick of it. Then who would listen to us? Ask yourself a simple quesion: who exactly decides on the rules in figure skating?

EV: If you talk about the quads the idea, AFAIK, came to the ISU from the president of the technical committee Fabio Biancetti.
RA: Did he ever coach?

EV: Good question.
RA: This is what I am talking about. You want to change the rules? Ok, why not ask someone who not only understands them but spent half a century near the boards? Did someone ask what does TAT think on the matter? Alexey Mishin? Me? Mishin have probably been coaching for 55 years, Tarasova - for more than 50, I'm working for 41 years. From the morning till the evening all we do is thinking about figure skating and how it should develop. At least ask our opinion to keep the face.

EV: But listen, not so long ago you said if it was up to you you'd limit the young jumping girls in the senior competitions.
RA: I would limit the age, not the complexity of the jumps. You can land all those? Great, do all that among your age. When you grow older become a senior and prove you can still land all that with all that beauty you'll grow. It's a different matter. You can't raise a skater for many years, let him develop some habits and knowledge and then within an hour announce the marking is completely different.

EV: A year ago your relationship with Nathan Chen were shaky - he even left for a while to a different coach. Have you settled your differences?
RA: You never do. Have you ever met a skater who could tell they never argue with the coach? There are always differences, you try to get over them and the new ones pop up. It's a never ending process especially with the top athletes, who are surrounded by a million advisers. Thousands of people who would love to use an opportunity to be related.

EV: That's obvious. I learned many times the coaches who know what they worth never cling to their athletes and are not trying to keep them. But it's not just a skater that you have, but a special sort of jewel that you found and polished. Does it change anything?
RA: It's exactly because I found and polished him would not cling to him. First - because indeed I know what I am worth and what I have done. second because I think it's wrong in general. Once you start clinging to the athlete...

EV: You become weak?
RA: No. You are being manipulated. That's when the working process ends. There is a good chance I survived as a coach because I never allowed that. But I then I never denied a skater a right to make a mistake. You want to leave? Go, do what you think is right. But if you stayed - work as you should. That's my position.

EV: Last year, I know, you were not satisfied how Ashley Wagner was treating her training after her fantastic success in the Worlds in Boston.
RA: Am generally rarely satisfied in that. But I have seen many skaters while coaching and let me assure you, there aren't many professionals there.

EV: What do you mean by professionals?
RA: It happened when I was working with Michelle Kwan. She came to one of the practices 20 minutes earlier. I told her I think it's a bit late. Michelle smiled and said she woke up at 8am, had a full training in her home gym. She came to the rink 20 minutes before the practice so she would have time to warm up again and be completely ready by the time she is on the ice. On the other hand there are skaters who consider it allright to come to the ice and then start the warm up. That's what they are used to. You start changing their minds, their attitude, and you gain some success, but once you stop looking too closely all is back to square one. That's the hardest thing about working with the mature skaters.

EV: Do you think Wagner is able to be on a higher level than she was in 2016?
RA: If she will be able to go back to the level she was on a year ago it would be great. How many skaters her age who still skate do you know? If only Carolina Kostner, who is still competitive because she was lucky to work with Mishin. Who else? Russia was not even able to keep Sotnikova and Lipnitskaya, who are both much younger than Ashley Wagner. So I do all I can and trust me, I really try.

EV: Do you generally like what happens now in the ladies skating?
RA: First of all I like what happens in the Russian ladies skaters where there are not only a lot of talented skaters, but they are well prepared to become stars.

EV: Judging by the JGP results where out of 6 skaters who made it to the JGP 5 are from Eteri Tutberidze/Sergey Dudakov group I'd say they found an algorithm that allows creating great performers from the good `material'.
RA: Agree.

EV: And yet sometimes I think if the skater stands out physically or is not ready to take the pressure he might be much more talented than the rest but he will not survive the factory.
RA: Also agree. But the thing is that if the factory is able to create so many potential champions then those who didn't keep up and broke down - who cares, why care if there is still a long queue?
It's different in the USA. If you cross passes with such athletes as Evan Lysachek or Michelle Kwan, who are so eager to reach the results and are ready to work almost 24 hours a day the coach is lucky. And if not - you still work. Because there is no one else.

EV: Do you envy the skaters who have such a factory?
RA: No. More like am sorry I don't have so much `material'. Well, what can I do, I don't have a skater who I could put against Evgenia Medvedeva. What is Medvedeva's main strength? She have been landing what she does 5 years ago. And now she just toys around with it - decorates her elements with some interesting moves, experiments with the programmes etc.
I mainly work on the restoration. I take an old car and start fixing the engine, doing some colour and general `tuning'. Last year Mariah Bell came to my group and one of the American journalists asked me what is it like working with a young skater. I didn't even understand first. Young? Who? Mariah Bell? She is 22! In Armenia it's too old to get married!

EV: Many figure skating fans are sure the gold medal destiny in the singles is already known. They name Yuzuru Hanyu and Evgenia Medvedeva. Do you agree?
RA: They both are, indeed, very talented and are close to that. Just that making predictions about the Olympics is useless. You can never guess how things will end up especially in figure skating.

EV: I still remember a conversation with your colleague Valentin Nikolaev before the SLC games, where he quite rightly predicted while Slutskaya and Kwan will be fighting Sarah Hughes has a chance to get between them. It might happen that while Medvedeva tries to keep her position Zagitova will jump ahead of her.
RA: Zagitova is indeed ready for that: she has a good body, she is well prepared, a fresh head, but no one cancelled consistency in our sports. And no one in the world shows the same consistency as Medvedeva had in the last 2-3 seasons.
Besides, as I said, you know what the Olympics are like. The one with the strongest nerves and the right preparation and the smartest will win. It's important to be smart.

EV: When you say `the smartest' do you mean the coach or the skater?
RA: First of all the skater, unless it's about a coach such as Tatiana Tarasova, with her professional ability and genes. She could overcome everything and everyone and find the only right solution.

EV: The more I look at the competitive sports the more I think the key figure is the coach. But when it's about the Olympics I'd put my money on the athlete.
RA: That's what I meant. The Olympics are so mentally demanding the athlete starts shaking. Doesn't matter what you tell them that moment, no matter how hard you try to get to them the words will not reach them. There is no right for a mistake - the time is limited and you can't go out there and skate instead of your skater. I.e. they have to deal with what is going on around themselves. If you can't - wait for the next Olympics, where you'll be 4 years older...

EV: Does it bother you both of you skaters might have to participate the team event for the team USA?
RA: it's something we'll have to prepare to, of course.

EV: Do you?
RA: For now we are preparing to what will be in December. When December will come we'll see how to correct the reparations. Of course at the Olympics every skater would focus on their individual result, but it does not mean you can do the team event half force. So we'll try to prepare for the Olympics in a way that they will be able to skate both events. We'll see how it works..
 

Spun Silver

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,130
My favorite was:

What is Medvedeva's main strength? She have been landing what she does 5 years ago. And now she just toys around with it - decorates her elements with some interesting moves, experiments with the programmes etc.
I mainly work on the restoration. I take an old car and start fixing the engine, doing some colour and general `tuning'.
How Ashley survives working with this guy I have no idea.

Also love his response to the proposed IJS changes — they should have asked some top coaches for their opinion just to look like they cared.
 

skatfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
8,452
Love his honesty. Makes me wonder whether Ashley will have the goods to compete on the GP given his assessment of her condition.
 

Tinami Amori

Well-Known Member
Messages
20,156
I still am not a big fan of Raf, but I have to say, he always comes up with gems...
“Mariah Bell? She is 22! In Armenia, it’s too old to get married!”
:rofl::rofl::rofl:

He was not kidding...... Outside of Erevan, Capital of Armenia where more educated population resides, in rural communities avg. marriage age is 16-17. If a girl is not married by 18 it is shameful to her and her family. The official marriage age now is 18, and the rural communities want the minimum reduced or removed all together..... so the girls can marry earlier.
http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65942
“An 18-year-old girl is already a spinster for us,” elaborated Aziz Tamoian, chairperson of The Yezidi National Union of Armenia and the World, a Yerevan-based non-governmental organization. “Adoption of such a bill will only ruin our families and make Yezidi girls unhappy.”

How Ashley survives working with this guy I have no idea.
Calling Ashley an "old car that needs fixing" is not exactly an insult coming from an ex-soviet-times coach or a teacher. They often use metaphors which may sound insulting but they really are not.

Our teacher used to say, for example, instead of "you're an idiot" something like "your head is nothing more than a hat-rack", or "you came to class today not to learn but to rub holes in your pants against a school bench", or "my poodle has better mental abilities than you", or "when you left home this morning, you took all your books but left your brain behind", etc.

That meant "the teacher likes you" and just sent you a message to shape up. calling you "idiot" is serious, means you get an F. but joking means you still have a chance....
 
Last edited:

lala

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,812
He was not kidding...... Outside of Erevan, Capital of Armenia where more educated population resides, in rural communities avg. marriage as is 16-17. If a girl is not married by 18 it is shameful to her and her family. The official marriage age now is 18, and the rural communities want the minimum reduced or removed all together..... so the girls can marry earlier.
http://www.eurasianet.org/node/65942
“An 18-year-old girl is already a spinster for us,” elaborated Aziz Tamoian, chairperson of The Yezidi National Union of Armenia and the World, a Yerevan-based non-governmental organization. “Adoption of such a bill will only ruin our families and make Yezidi girls unhappy.”

So probably they don't watch the Sex and the City series on the TV..:D
 

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,317
Preach Raf, preach! :respec:

"EV: Among the coaches how hot the rules change theme is?
RA: I think we are sick of it. Then who would listen to us? Ask yourself a simple quesion: who exactly decides on the rules in figure skating?

EV: If you talk about the quads the idea, AFAIK, came to the ISU from the president of the technical committee Fabio Biancetti.
RA: Did he ever coach?

EV: Good question.
RA: This is what I am talking about. You want to change the rules? Ok, why not ask someone who not only understands them but spent half a century near the boards? Did someone ask what does TAT think on the matter? Alexey Mishin? Me? Mishin have probably been coaching for 55 years, Tarasova - for more than 50, I'm working for 41 years. From the morning till the evening all we do is thinking about figure skating and how it should develop. At least ask our opinion to keep the face."

And this!
RA: "... Just making predictions about the Olympics is useless. You can never guess how things will end up, especially in figure skating."
 
Last edited:

bardtoob

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,568
Yes, candidness is usually "refreshing" when it comes from someone you approve of and who trains your favorites.... :D. I can only imagine the FSU conversation if Eteri or TAT or Morozov said the same things... :argue: :drama::slinkaway :rofl:

You know what they would say if Morozov said a girl was too old :rofl: ... Of course, I approved of D10, but what Morozov did to him last year was just yuck.

I have to admit :shuffle: . . . I think it is far more appropriate for Raf calling a 22 year old woman a spinster by Armenian standards than it was for Eteri to talk about the type of loving a teenage boy was getting from his girlfriend :cold: . . . Then again, I have a bias because I did not like how Eteri ushered Lipnitskaya out of skating. If Eteri knew she was making disposable skaters, then she should have told Yulia what to do with the money. Yes, I have high standards with an American bent, and I remember Frank Carroll telling a story about how when he went pro with the Ice Capades Maribel Vinson Owen told him to only tour for one year for the money, then use it to go to Law School; he had earned his BA while training with her.
 
Last edited:

bardtoob

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,568
I am sure you do.... you're an "American".....:lol:.. Armenia is a victim of Evil Russia, it can do no wrong....:rofl:

I deserve this :D

It would be nice if I had four passports, and could use the one that is most convenient ;)

:shuffle: I always think of Armenia as a victim of Turkey :shuffle: ... I always think that Armenia was treated about as bad as any other country in the Soviet sphere of influence . . . like equally bad . . . like Armenia was treated like Poland.
 
Last edited:

aftershocks

Banned Member
Messages
17,317
Yes, candidness is usually "refreshing" when it comes from someone you approve of and who trains your favorites.... :D. I can only imagine the FSU conversation if Eteri or TAT or Morozov said the same things... :argue: :drama::slinkaway :rofl:

Eh @Tinami Amori, you do know how to exaggerate. There have been plenty of refreshing interviews posted with all variety of Russian coaches and skaters, which have been admirably received and praised by a cross-section of FSUers.

In fact, IMO many U.S. skating fans are enamored of skaters from other countries, while often routinely criticizing U.S. skaters for their failings, which tend to be endless, if we take into account some of the goings-on in many U.S. skater threads on FSU. :lol:
 

Tinami Amori

Well-Known Member
Messages
20,156
Well, he probably would say that...:scream:
He would say "18 is too old"..... now days... :lol:

EV: That's obvious. I learned many times the coaches who know what they worth never cling to their athletes and are not trying to keep them. But it's not just a skater that you have, but a special sort of jewel that you found and polished. Does it change anything?
RA: It's exactly because I found and polished him would not cling to him. First - because indeed I know what I am worth and what I have done. second because I think it's wrong in general. Once you start clinging to the athlete...

Raf..... :lol:......This is just so out of "Master and Margarita" minus ref to a "woman"..:rofl: ..... a proud one with qualities never begs anyone for anything, all that is due will come to him, just wait and it will be offered...:drama:
 

FSfan107

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,989
Thanks for the translation. That was interesting and informative. Doesn't sound like he thinks much of the work ethic of U.S. skaters outside of Kwan and Lysacek.
 

hoptoad

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,929
I enjoyed this interview, and now I'm wondering,

-- Who were his first students to be successful on the world stage?

-- Does he currently have any young (under 12 years) skaters? I remember him discussing how working with Ashley and Adam is different from bringing up skaters with your own technique, which makes me wonder if he's getting the chance to do that.
 

Lara111

Well-Known Member
Messages
569
My favorite was:


How Ashley survives working with this guy I have no idea.

Also love his response to the proposed IJS changes — they should have asked some top coaches for their opinion just to look like they cared.
But this is so true
 

Jun Y

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,776
Even I have been sick of the endless tinkering of the technical scores since IJS became official in 2004 (?). Some of the adjustments make sense, such as walking back on the rewards of Bielman position and using the same feature in multiple spins. In many cases though, the tinkering is used as a way to manipulate the system for politics and tug of war among federations and short-sighted gains. It's unfair to athletes as well as coaches to such fickleness. I have assumed that the technical committees consult with coaches in the field extensively about these changes, but it doesn't look like it from what Raf was saying.

If I were a parent I would not want to put my kid through competitive figure skating.

There should be a more stringent process for debating and approving these technical changes to reduce the number and frequency, and more measured and serious consideration for whether a change is good for the long-term health of the sport, or not.
 
Last edited:

el henry

#WeAllWeGot #WeAllWeNeed
Messages
1,567
Would Raf even know if "they" consulted with Frank Carroll or Brian Orser? And given his comments, would that "count" to him if they did?

(FTR, I don't think any consulting was done at any time, based simply on my SWAG. But if so, it should certainly have been done from a wide range of coaches......)
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information