Yaroslav Paniot interview

Sylvia

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By Sport24 correspondent Alena Volkova:

Machine translated excerpts:

- How did you decide to stop playing for Ukraine and start skating for the United States?

- It started when I was invited to the adult stage of the Japanese Grand Prix (NHK Trophy). At that time I was training with Vyacheslav Zagorodnyuk. Skated with an injury. I called my federation and said I wanted to do it, but they convinced me to compete in the Grand Prix. At that time, they had already reserved all the hotels, all the tickets, and it was already impossible to return, as they explained everything. In the end, I offered them a deal: I will go to the NHK Trophy, that is, I will not perform well, because I was badly injured, I had a stress fracture. They said: “Well, Yarik, we will make an agreement that if you go to the NHK Trophy, you will withdraw from the Ukrainian championship, but you will still go to the European and world championships”. That is, they will give me time to recover from the Grand Prix stage.

I went to NHK, skated there badly, and I could not skate better, because I was injured, I trained badly, I just wanted to somehow feel how to skate. And then they told me: "Well, Yarik, we are waiting for you at the Ukrainian Championship."

I ask them: "What about our agreement?" And they told me: "What kind of agreement?" And this was the last straw of my patience for all these misunderstandings, deceptions. And at that moment I decided to change Ukraine to America.

- What was the most difficult part of the transfer?

- The most difficult thing is that I have already been to the Olympics, and there is a rule for the Olympians: if you were at the Olympics, then the transition to another federation will take place not within one year, but three years. Ukraine wanted it that way. They justify themselves by the fact that they supported me financially. Therefore, they made it so that this quarantine lasted three years. And this is the most inconvenient.


- If we go back to the US championship. Did you expect this result?
- Yes. My task was to become the third. I expected to be in the top 3 (Paniot became 4th, but 3rd in the free program - Sport24). Even though I did, I was third in the free skate. Not bad. For the fourth place in America they also give a medal, so I was not so upset.
:D

Good to hear Paniot confirm in the interview that he will be released by Ukraine "in May this year" - so he should be eligible for Team B envelope funding and inclusion in the ISP for international assignments in 2021-22.
 
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Sylvia

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This article by Lynn Rutherford inludes quotes from Paniot and Todd Eldredge:
Excerpts:
An only child, he and his mother, Oksana, moved to California a decade or so ago, settling in Tustin, about 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Another Ukrainian, 1996 European champion Vyacheslav (“Zag”) Zagorodnyuk, took Paniot under his wing and coached him at Lake Forest Ice Palace.
...
“From Zag, I learned all of my jumps, and he was a very important person in my life,” Paniot said. “Nikolai [Morozov], I got from him a lot of skating skills. Tammy [Gambill], she taught me how to work, how to be an athlete, how to push yourself forward. Todd Eldredge, he helped me put it all together, do all the jumps in one program. Plus, he has big experience in his figure skating career, [which is] is also helpful to me.”
“We talked to U.S. Figure Skating to see what was going on, because they (Paniot and his stepfather) weren’t getting anywhere with it,” Eldredge said. “We finally got an answer back. In May, he will get his release from the Ukraine. He has had his green card for five or six years now. His intention is to get his [U.S.] citizenship. After what happened last week, the ball is rolling quickly right now to at least be able to compete at the Olympics next year. That wasn’t really on our radar, we were looking at 2026, but the way things are happening it’s a little bit more realistic.”
“My goal is, I want to make Olympic team for the U.S.,” Paniot said. “I am not yet a citizen, but I will be soon – this year, I think. I’m not doing it casually. It is all serious.”
 
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Ice_Breaker

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Erin

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That’s a nice article about Paniot. Interesting that he has had a green card for five or six years - I didn’t realize he has been in the US for so long. The bold prediction from @VGThuy of him making the Olympic team next year may come to fruition after all! I’m glad to hear he is getting a release from Ukraine soon too.
 

VGThuy

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That’s a nice article about Paniot. Interesting that he has had a green card for five or six years - I didn’t realize he has been in the US for so long. The bold prediction from @VGThuy of him making the Olympic team next year may come to fruition after all! I’m glad to hear he is getting a release from Ukraine soon too.

“We talked to U.S. Figure Skating to see what was going on, because they (Paniot and his stepfather) weren’t getting anywhere with it,” Eldredge said. “We finally got an answer back. In May, he will get his release from the Ukraine. He has had his green card for five or six years now. His intention is to get his [U.S.] citizenship. After what happened last week, the ball is rolling quickly right now to at least be able to compete at the Olympics next year. That wasn’t really on our radar, we were looking at 2026, but the way things are happening it’s a little bit more realistic.”

Seriously, they should get is ASAP because you never know. There's no downside to it since he wants to get it by 2026 anyway.
 

Tinami Amori

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:revenge:
- Can you name your idol in figure skating?
- There was Evgeni Plushenko for some period of time, and then I accidentally, spontaneously met him. I was then in Novogorsk, training with Nikolai Morozov, I was on the third floor and there, from the window, I saw Evgeni Plushenko parking his car.

I immediately ran, hoping to take a picture with him. It was then that I saw him in person for the first time. Realized that he was going to the lobby and I ran there. I waited until he finished talking to an employee about the room key. I intercept him to meet him in the hallway. He was already next to me, and now he was even closer. I ask him: “Can I take a photo with you, please?”, And at that moment he looked at me and just walked by. And from that moment on, he is no longer my idol, I put my attention on Javier Fernandez.
 

Erin

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Seriously, they should get is ASAP because you never know. There's no downside to it since he wants to get it by 2026 anyway.

He's probably just recently become eligible, as it's five years after receiving the green card. Now probably everything depends on the USCIS side and particularly how quickly things are moving in a cv-19 world. But hopefully having a less immigration-hostile administration will help.

ETA - since his last competition was 2018 NHK, he will be more than three years after his last competition for Ukraine by Beijing, which is good or he would need another release from Ukraine under Olympic charter rule 41. So once he gets his ISU release in May, he should be able to be done with them.
 
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Tinami Amori

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I honestly thought that Paniot should have been 3rd over all, not just in FS, @ US Nationals (his FS should have been marked few points higher, and Brown's few points lower/in PCS), yet suspected the bronze will not be awarded to him exactly because of his immigration status.
 

VGThuy

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:revenge:
- Can you name your idol in figure skating?
- There was Evgeni Plushenko for some period of time, and then I accidentally, spontaneously met him. I was then in Novogorsk, training with Nikolai Morozov, I was on the third floor and there, from the window, I saw Evgeni Plushenko parking his car.

I immediately ran, hoping to take a picture with him. It was then that I saw him in person for the first time. Realized that he was going to the lobby and I ran there. I waited until he finished talking to an employee about the room key. I intercept him to meet him in the hallway. He was already next to me, and now he was even closer. I ask him: “Can I take a photo with you, please?”, And at that moment he looked at me and just walked by. And from that moment on, he is no longer my idol, I put my attention on Javier Fernandez.

He looks like Stephane Lambiel, he should list him as well, haha.
 

Karen-W

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I honestly thought that Paniot should have been 3rd over all, not just in FS, @ US Nationals (his FS should have been marked few points higher, and Brown's few points lower/in PCS), yet suspected the bronze will not be awarded to him exactly because of his immigration status.
I can't agree with you there because Jason's SP was an absolutely brilliant skate, even without a quad and Paniot struggled in the SP. Overall, the FP and final placements were correct.
 

Tinami Amori

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I can't agree with you there because Jason's SP was an absolutely brilliant skate, even without a quad and Paniot struggled in the SP. Overall, the FP and final placements were correct.
I did not say Paniot was better than Jason in SP, or should have been scored higher. I do think Jason was over-scored compared to Paniot in FS. Even juniors do 2-3 quads in FS, and Jason thinks he can "just skate pretty", and unfortunately it gets rewarded.
 

VGThuy

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Jason deserves to be rewarded for what he does well, and he’s world-class for what he does. That’s how IJS is supposed to work. I do think the lack of quads and other men having multiple quads and not being deficient on non-jump elements will catch up to him.
 

Ruby999

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I can't agree with you there because Jason's SP was an absolutely brilliant skate, even without a quad and Paniot struggled in the SP. Overall, the FP and final placements were correct.

Jason Brown has been one of my favorite skaters since his Riverdance days. Sublime short program! However, Paniot did two quads in the short program. I personally have a hard time calling his performance in the short a struggle. My husband and I had never seen him skate before, and we were like who the heck is this with the good quad flip and the nice presentation, and he’s so fast?! I felt the placement in the short was fair enough. Chen was Chen, Zhou was great, and Brown was sublime, so Paniot was fourth. But in the free: Chen had a mistake but because of tech and reputation he had a mistake to give. Zhou choked (after Chen faltered I actually wondered whether Zhou would manage to beat him, but I guess the pressure got to him). Then Brown was okay (amazing costume!) but fell on the quad and popped something else. I thought: woah, Paniot is going to actually get the silver — these guys left the door wide open. Paniot was really, really good, but the scores for the other guys meant that he was still 4th overall. Take a look at his PCS scores for the competition. So low. Nobody knew who he was, so he got 4th. If Zhou or Brown had skated like Paniot and Paniot had fallen and popped in the free like they did, those would not have been the results (the pops and falls coming ahead of the multiple quads with good technique and the great performance — no way). It was a reputation thing. I also don’t think an international judging panel would have had Paniot in 4th. I felt bad after watching it that sometimes in figure skating even the competition is judged on ‘body of work,’ not on what actually happens on the day. Never mind the issue that with the way the women in figure skating are scored, Brown might not have beaten Paniot in either program. I actually prefer the way the men are scored, though, because skaters like Brown and Deniss Vasiljevs stand a better chance. But that felt strange when Paniot came in 4th at US nationals, and I did wonder if it (even if unconsciously) had to do with him being a newer face and not really being American...
 

VGThuy

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Internationally, Brown has shown to be able to beat men with quads, even multiple quads, in the short. It's the long where they end up catching up, but they need not be 17 points behind him after the short to do so. Vincent's PCS has been steadily climbing up and despite his bad skate, in terms of base value, he was only about less than two points lower than Paniot.
 

nylynnr

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Jason Brown has been one of my favorite skaters since his Riverdance days. Sublime short program! However, Paniot did two quads in the short program. I personally have a hard time calling his performance in the short a struggle.
It wasn't a struggle at all, it was a good program, but Paniot did one quad in his short -- a quad flip, triple toe combination. He and Eldredge's big goals for next season are to include two quads in the short, and to add the quad lutz to his competitive repertoire. I cannot agree with "If Zhou or Brown had skated like Paniot and Paniot had fallen and popped in the free like they did, those would not have been the results" -- Paniot by his own admission simply doesn't skate like Zhou or (especially) Brown yet. You're not starting on an even playing field in terms of PCS, choreo, etc.
 

Tinami Amori

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Paniot was really, really good, but the scores for the other guys meant that he was still 4th overall. Take a look at his PCS scores for the competition. So low. Nobody knew who he was, so he got 4th. If Zhou or Brown had skated like Paniot and Paniot had fallen and popped in the free like they did, those would not have been the results (the pops and falls coming ahead of the multiple quads with good technique and the great performance — no way). It was a reputation thing. I also don’t think an international judging panel would have had Paniot in 4th. I felt bad after watching it that sometimes in figure skating even the competition is judged on ‘body of work,’ not on what actually happens on the day. Never mind the issue that with the way the women in figure skating are scored, Brown might not have beaten Paniot in either program. I actually prefer the way the men are scored, though, because skaters like Brown and Deniss Vasiljevs stand a better chance. But that felt strange when Paniot came in 4th at US nationals, and I did wonder if it (even if unconsciously) had to do with him being a newer face and not really being American...
That!! :respec:
 

VGThuy

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So one placement higher overall, and still behind Zhou. Also, at 2019 Worlds where Jason had lower base value than he did at 2021 Worlds, he was still able to beat men with quads overall. In fact, he placed second in the SP without a quad. I could see Jason and Paniot scoring the same way as he did against Lazukin at 2019 Worlds. It would have been close but not a sure thing as you’re making it seem like.

I was the one who made a bold prediction that Paniot can make the Olympic team next year, but he needs a bigger TES buffer than he has now and needs to improve his PCS and GOE to do so. Right now, he rightfully deserves his PCS compared to Brown, who maximizes his GOE and PCS. Nobody skates like Brown and he deservedly scores extremely high on those areas. Zhou had to learn how to bridge the gap and he has, and Paniot can do the same but Paniot at 2021 Nationals has some way to go. He can do it, but it’s clear to any skating fan who opens their eyes that there’s a world of difference in quality and that explains the 17 point difference between Brown and Paniot in the SP and why Brown has a 12 point buffer in PCS in the LP. What one poster dismissed as “skating pretty” is actually a showcase of the mastery of mixing incredible skating and dance skill that no other skater can replicate right now and one that took a lifetime’s of work to get to. It’s like dismissing a lifetime devotion to the Bolshoi.
 
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Ruby999

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So one placement higher overall, and still behind Zhou. Also, at 2019 Worlds where Jason had lower base value than he did at 2021 Worlds, he was still able to beat men with quads overall. In fact, he placed second in the SP without a quad. I could see Jason and Paniot scoring the same way as he did against Lazukin at 2019 Worlds. It would have been close but not a sure thing as you’re making it seem like.

I was the one who made a bold prediction that Paniot can make the Olympic team next year, but he needs a bigger TES buffer than he has now and needs to improve his PCS and GOE to do so. Right now, he rightfully deserves his PCS compared to Brown, who maximizes his GOE and PCS. Nobody skates like Brown and he deservedly scores extremely high on those areas. Zhou had to learn how to bridge the gap and he has, and Paniot can do the same but Paniot at 2021 Nationals has some way to go. He can do it, but it’s clear to any skating fan who opens their eyes that there’s a world of difference in quality and that explains the 17 point difference between Brown and Paniot in the SP and why Brown has a 12 point buffer in PCS in the LP. What one poster dismissed as “skating pretty” is actually a showcase of the mastery of mixing incredible skating and dance skill that no other skater can replicate right now and one that took a lifetime’s of work to get to. It’s like dismissing a lifetime devotion to the Bolshoi.

I have no issue with the genius of Brown. He’s amazing and deserves high PCS. I know he scores well against quad guys — when he hits everything especially. I actually thought Paniot would come in 2nd, just edging out Brown who would have been 3rd, and that Zhou would come in 4th. I think Zhou is great, but he had an implosion of a free skate. I just personally wasn’t sold on the high PCS of Zhou or even Chen (for that lackluster performance) compared to Paniot. And Paniot being as far as 17 points back after the short probably did have something to do with his being ‘nobody.’ If Paniot can hit his jumps consistently, his PCS and GOE will probably rise too, now that he put himself on the radar. But it would be nice in figure skating if people didn’t have to prove themselves first before getting the scores they deserve. I enjoyed the Mark Kondratuik surprise at this year’s Russian nationals, and was encouraged that the judges gave him the bronze over better known skaters who didn’t skate as well as he did on the day.
 

lurkz2

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I have no issue with the genius of Brown. He’s amazing and deserves high PCS. I know he scores well against quad guys — when he hits everything especially. I actually thought Paniot would come in 2nd, just edging out Brown who would have been 3rd, and that Zhou would come in 4th. I think Zhou is great, but he had an implosion of a free skate. I just personally wasn’t sold on the high PCS of Zhou or even Chen (for that lackluster performance) compared to Paniot. And Paniot being as far as 17 points back after the short probably did have something to do with his being ‘nobody.’ If Paniot can hit his jumps consistently, his PCS and GOE will probably rise too, now that he put himself on the radar. But it would be nice in figure skating if people didn’t have to prove themselves first before getting the scores they deserve. I enjoyed the Mark Kondratuik surprise at this year’s Russian nationals, and was encouraged that the judges gave him the bronze over better known skaters who didn’t skate as well as he did on the day.
Though I do get the USFS logic. Mark is qualified to represent Russia this year at Worlds while Yaro is not qualified to represent the US. And they need to earn the Olympic spots.
 

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