Alexander Zhulin: It’s sport, you have to be prepared for everything

Interview with Alexander Zhulin about Victoria Sinitsina – Nikita Katsalapov, Ekaterina Bobrova – Dmitri Soloviev and Olympics. Translation.

Victoria and Nikita won bronze at Skate America. Are you pleased with them?

– Very pleased. Finally they skated both programs cleanly. Well, some levels technical panel didn’t give them, but for me it was clean, good, solid skating. Not on 100% yet, but the guys are finally on the right way. In my opinion, they have understood something in this life. I’m very pleased with how they worked last two weeks. If they continue to skate like that, I think this pair will have a huge potential.

In your opinion, when did they “understand” something? After an unsuccessful competitions in Minsk?

– I think that after Minsk they understood something, and after tGrand Prix in Japan they understood everything. It is very important for the coach that his athletes understand what he wants from them. This is the most important thing.

After the short dance at Skate America, they could not understand why they got the first level of difficulty for rumba pattern.

– I did not understand either.

It’s hard to experience such moments when it seems they have done everything but the judges gave such in return?

– Of course it’s hard. But we have such kind of sport, quite subjective. What can I say … For me they skated rumba very well. I admit that if other technical experts were sitting there, the guys would get other marks. I also understand something in figure skating.

The results at Skate America turned out in such a way that Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev did not qualify for the Grand Prix Final.

– One stupid mistake on the spin in Moscow prevented them from getting into the Grand Prix Final. The guys have already blamed themselves, but unfortunately they lacked scores of tenths to get to the Final. But that’s ok, life does not end there. This an Olympic season, there are many competitions ahead. This are Russian Nationals, European Championships and the Olympics, I hope they will happen for us. Of course, it’s a pity that we did not qualify for the Grand Prix Final. But it is sport, you have to be prepared for everything.

Have you corrected that mistake on the spin?

– There was nothing to correct. Katya and Dima were very well prepared, and it seemed to me that they wanted to do this spin at some absolutely fantastic speed. Better than usual. But it was necessary to do as always. But again, this is an experience. Each can do a mistake. No doubt that Bobrova and Soloviev are a wonderful pair. It was just an accident. How can people be blamed for this … They made some conclusions for themselves, I hope that there won’t be such mistakes again.

When Katya and Dima showed the third result in the free dance at the World Championships in Helsinki, there was a hope that this achievement will be developed this season. But still leaders – the French Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume cizeron and Canadians Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir get some unreachable scores.

– Don’t forget that this is an Olympic season. It is a kind of aftertaste of the whole four years. Both technical experts and judges look at these two pairs as at celestial beings. Of course they give them scores they deserved with their consistancy and skills. The same was before Sochi, when Davis / White and virtue / Moir were the obvious leaders. Of course the French and Canadians stand out now.

But do you agree with such a colossal gap from the rest?

– It’s not my prerogative to talk about marks. This is up to the judges.

Judging by the first half of the season, we can state that all other pairs will fight only for the bronze at the Olympics?

– It seems so.

And the fight for the third place is it on equals?

– Well, that’s luck of the draw. Depends on a lot of factors. How will go the short dance, the free, practices, how will the judges talk among themselves. Do not forget that the ice is slippery, everything can happen. Finally, you still need to be selected for the Olympic Games, to get there. I believe that Katya and Dima are a wonderful pair, the same as Vika and Nikita.

So, the fact that they didn’t get into Grand Prix Final doesn’t exclude them from fight for the high places at future competitions?

– Absolutely not. Anyway, if Katya and Dima had gotten into Finals instead of the Italians as number six, what would have changed? Nothing. But if they hadn’t made a mistake on a spin, had won the Grand Prix in Moscow and had gotten into Finals as number third or forth, that would have been a different story.

You said the phrase “If the Olympics happen”. Do you follow the news how Russian athlete one after another is deprived of Sochi medals?

– Of course, we read the news. I feel sad for the athletes. All decisions are made only on the basis of the words of one person – Rodchenkov. There are no other evidences.

Do all this news affect skaters?

– Of course. How can you concentrate on work, if you do not know whether you’ll go to the Olympics or not? How can you prepare for something, if you can be not allowed to go there? Of course, this is in everyone’s mind. Actually, it’s a horrifying situation.

We are talking now in Lake Placid, where the Olympics were held at a time when the sport was given a political coloring. So, now politics is back in sport again?

– It has never left. No matter how many times you say that sport is outside politics, unfortunately, this is not true. If the Olympic Games are held without Russian athletes, they will be devalued. For me it will be just awful. But life goes on, we will fight.

by Andrei Simonenko for rsport.ria.ru

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