To the 80th anniversary of Edouard Pliner was published a big interview with him. Mostly about figure skating in Georgia. I made a translation of some parts that can be interesting not only for Georgian figure skating fans.
Being a famous coach in the USSR, in the prime of life you dropped everything and moved to the United States. Why?
E.P.: I was hoping that in America – a rich country, where people have money, with financial support and with American traditions I can do something new. And I was taken as a special person. But it’s impossible to change the mentality. They have their own traditions: American coaches don’t trust a lot to not American single skating coaches.
E.P.: You see, figure skating is a very expensive sport, I think, the most expensive after skiing. Coaching services, ice, equipment … everything is expensive. And there is a tradition that it’s impossible to push on a child …even just a little bit. You can’t do that. It’s wrong. To achieve good results it’s necessary to have character, to have character you have to nurture it while athlete is still a little child. Now I’m a witness of decline of the American figure skating. And why?! Because out of millions grows only one diamond. Here is an example: Brian Boitano -he’s from a mass skating group. Coach was growing with it, and has grown to an Olympics. You must be very lucky to have everything – talent, money, coach’s knowledges and ice. That’s where I went, but my hopes haven’t came true.
But Rafael Arutyunyan, a pupil of my school, who had worked 11 years at the Pioneers Stadium in Moscow, grew up in a wonderful coach, and was named “Coach of the Year”. In America not American receives the “Coach of the Year” – it’s a miracle. And you know what else is important? The right person in the right place at the right time. I was invited to the rink of my dream – three rinks under one roof. I am grateful to America for the fact that I didn’t have to experience the difficulties that I had experienced. In general my coaching fate is happy, I planted a tree in the right place, trained beautiful skaters in Russia, and now I was provided a good old age (laughs).
Do you have any you unrealized plans?
E.P.: Yes! Yes! I had a girl at the Olympics, I wanted her to be the first. She was the medalist at the World Championships, silver medalist, and I would like her to have gold, and it was possible … Of course I have some … You see, in America, I haven’t self-actualized at the highest level …
It seems to me that now not only American figure skating is experiencing a downturn. In general, the sport lost its former interest. Did it happen after the introduction of a new judging system?
E.P: 6.0 – old system, it did not provide complete objectivity. It was necessary to measure the art by the sliding rule. The implementation of some gradations of difficulty had to move skating forward, and it did, but we’ve lost the audience. Earlier people were involved, but now the figure skating has grown so much, has changed so much, that there was a need for new criterias. They implemented them and they are objective by 1000%, but there was a second mark – the one that used to be for the artistic. Here are some nuances. There are five such criterias whereas the technical is only one. So they’ve started to manipulate with this second mark.
So, they are too subjective?
E.P.: Yes, if technically you executed / not executed, with second mark it’s more difficult: the interpretation, choreography, performance … Previously, it was one mark. And now, when you have these five criterias, you can “throw up” the athlete. Excuse me for the expression, but when Harutyunyan’s boy skated brilliantly the program with six quads and they removed him to the fourth place, correspondents ran to him: “Raf, Raf, comment.” And he raised his hand and said: «Guys wake up! F * ck you!» Only our person could have said that.
Anonymity of judges is wrong. Previously, judges had to take the blow for their marks, and now: who, what, where? The popularity has fallen because earlier in the same America were personalities: Brian Boitano, Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan. Now, unfortunately, in America there are no such personalities. But they appear in Russia. This year, the girl won everything that was possible. She is a daughter of my student Jeanne Devyatova – Evgenia Medvedeva. And works with her a student of our school – Eteri Tutberidze.
What advice cnan you give a novice skaters, so they can reach Olympic heights?
E.P.: 5% of success – talent, 95% – work. In America I’ve learned to tell a phrase: we’re not a teacher and a student, you and I – partners. It’s the most important thing – when a teacher sees his athlete as partner, they can pass through everything. It is my belief. And there is another component that doesn’t depend on the coach and athlete – an organization.
the source: sova.news