Interview with Anjelika Krylova. About her come back to Russia.
Anjelika why did you decide to return to Russia?
– Five years ago, before the Olympics in Sochi, the leaders of our Federation of figure skating offered me to return to Russia and work here. But at that moment I was not ready. First of all, psychologically. Of course, became interested in this proposal, and all these five years I’ve been seriously thinking about it.
In America, I lived 24 years. But all these years I had a feeling of nostalgia and longing for my homeland. It seems to me that everyone who lives abroad, no matter how well, still misses home. But it’s one thing to come on vacation, the other to come back and work here. A year ago I realized that later it would be more difficult for me to do this, because now my children are not adults yet – Stella is 13, and Anthony is 11. At this age it is easier to adapt to everything new. In addition, a new Olympic cycle begins, so now it’s logical to start working here. My decision to return was supported by our Federation, Elena Anatolievna Tchaikovsky, which is very important for me. Because without this support it would have been difficult for me.
Well, I was not the only one who decided to take such a step. In the 90s a lot of our coaches and athletes trained and lived in America, but then they returned to Russia. So I’m not the first and only person who returns home. In Moscow, I really feel at home.
Moreover, over this years conditions of life and work in Russia have changed.
– Of course. Everything became much better and freer. This applies to living conditions also. In America you live outside the city, in your house, the skating rink is near. Moscow is a huge metropolis and life is completely different. There are a lot of things that I missed there. Communication with colleagues, friends, mother, native language, theaters, cultural life, special energy. It’s quite another matter to coach on your native language. In America, I missed this.
When did you start working and where?
– When I made the final decision to return, I began to prepare for my arrival. Elena Anatolievna Chaikovskaya, the most authoritative person in figure skating helped me a lot, she made it clear that I’m needed here. And, of course, coach Oleg Volkov, with whom we are now working together. Oleg prepared the ground. I am grateful to the director of the school “Megasport” and “Krylatskoe”, who is very helpful to us. Because the main problem in Moscow is ice. There are many skating rinks, but also many schools, coaches, skaters. And it’s quite difficult to find the ice even “under the name” of the Olympic champions, world champions. I know that many of our skaters would like to return, but they abandoned this idea because of lack of conditions. I was lucky in this regard.
Do you already have an understanding who, in addition to Oleg Volkov, will join your team, what specialists would you like to invite?
– My idea is to create a good team of specialists. This is a question number 1. I have an understanding how to do this, but it takes time: to try, to look at people in work, and after that decide who is right and who is not.
In addition to coaches, of course, we need a choreographer. Now in figure skating all that is connected with ballet has gone into the background. Perhaps, only in Russia, coaches remain staunch adherents of the “classics”. But I am a man of “old traditions” and I believe that lines, beauty, positions should be the basis of everything. In modern figure skating, you can not do without acrobats. Lifts, tricks – all this is necessary, especially at the stage of preparation of the program. You need a choreographer, because it’s very hard for one person to make programs for all students, choreography work is a big thing. Plus a sound director, a costume master … Psychologists who are used very widely in America. I do not know how it’s now in Russia, in my time it was believed that the coach is the chief psychologist for his athletes. It is clear that we need coaches-assistants who will help with small pairs. They should be experienced specialists who also know dances, technique. In short, many people are needed.
I arrived in Moscow in early April. Immediately joined the work. Of course, I was worried if we could work together with Oleg Volkov, because before that we knew each other only by competitions, where we came with our students. But everything turned out well.
Pasquale Camerlengo will come in the summer and help our group, because our joint concept, our work in America had a good result. Now Pasquale started working in Detroit together with Igor Shpilband. He’s a good choreographer, you can see it from the programs that he made for many top figure skaters.
Who trains in your group?
– I wanted to start with young pairs. When information appeared that I was returning to Moscow, some people called me in America, asked whether I could look at them. I’ve already seen a lot of athletes and still do. Children of different age come.
Betina Popova – Sergei Mozgov and Alla Loboda – Pavel Drozd also came by themselves?
– Of course. There were no preliminary agreements with skaters of the national team level. I repeat that I wanted to start with juniors, because senior athletes are a huge responsibility. These two couples asked, they said they wanted to work with me. I did not show any initiative. Of course, the year will go to get know each other, at first everything will not be perfect, but there are no miracles, it’s a sport. Therefore, I will not promise anything in advance. The guys are talented. Now there are several pairs in our group. Athletes from 9 years old to seniors. And pair from France – Louis Thauron with a new partner, a girl from Russia.
In your opinion, what is the difference between the preparation of ice dancers in Russia and overseas?
– For many years of coaching I have gained a lot of experience. And I want to realize, give my knowledge to our athletes. The training systems for dancers are different. They are difficult to change. We have a group system, there is an individual system. I think that for the ice dances the individual system will be much more progressive in the future. In America trainings of ice dancers take much more time, but so far, due to certain circumstances, here it is difficult to implement. Of course, there are individual lessons. But when the athletes reach high level of the national team and a large group is created, the question of individual lessons rests on the amount of time and ice.
What should be the relationship between a coach and an athlete?
– When you live in another country for so many years, you work on a different system, you get a wide experience, you analyze how to do it better, psychologically comfortable for an athlete, so there are no problems in terms of health and so on. But athletes should always feel the distance between the coach and the student, because when you spend a lot of time with the students, they start to push you around. At this moment, we must calmly say: “Stop” and explain that this is my place, and here is yours. Now there are a lot of young coaches in figure skating, and this line is sometimes blurred. There is no such thing as it was before, that you call your coach only by name and patronymic. In America, everything is different. There have “you” for everything, there is no middle name. Nevertheless, foreign athletes respect the coaches.
I like to spend time with my athletes, because I want them to feel comfortable with me. They can always come to my house. We can laugh, drink tea. But in training, they need to understand who is who. I can be soft, they say that I’m good and kind, they say so, that it sounds so good in Russian – dobraya (“kind” on Russian). But I can be different. I love justice, I do not like to punish for anything. But if I see that the athlete does not work, but plays the fool, then I become strict.
There is an opinion that overseas athletes work hard at trainings, because they pay for lessons. And we have a lot of time wasted. Do you agree?
– All individually. It depends on a coach and athlete. In our time, when I was training, there was a strict discipline: If you’re late for at least one minute you have to run 10 circles and do 20 push-ups.
Abroad, as elsewhere, athletes can also work laisily, be late for training. And if the coach is already on the ice, then he will add this time in the bill, say that he does not like it, that tomorrow the athlete should come on time. In any case, discipline is necessary. This is the first step to success. It’s should have been developed since childhood.
In Russia we have it. Figure skating is very popular here. By the way, in many ways this attracted me, and influenced my arrival. In Russia I saw many children, from which you can make good athletes. And I would like to grow high-class athletes from a young generation. In Russia there is a huge potential, many interesting, creative specialists in all directions, and this should be used in figure skating. There are so many opportunities, they only need to be properly implemented.
How do you think, which direction in ice dance will prevail in the coming years?
– Now the slow style has become very fashionable, surrealism. Now all try to emulate Papadakises, but not all of them are Sizerons. Therefore, it seems to me that each pair needs to look for their own style, what has always differed our best duets.
by Olga Ermolina and Tatjana Flade for fsrussia.ru