Ilia Averbukh about Russian single skaters – Evgenia Medvedeva, Anna Pogorilaya, Elena Radionova, Maxim Kovtun and Mikhail Kolyada. And about Yuzuru Hanyu.
After Grand prix Final, Russian Nationals and European Championships Evgenia Medvedeva won the World Championships with a record in free program. So, any pressure is a child’s play to 16-year-old talent?
Ilia: Evgenia was able to withstand the whole season on high note and set a record at the World Championships – exactly when it was necessary. I’m glad that this year I collaborated with Evgenia Medvedeva. For me, as a choreographer, it’s very important that her free program sounded this way at the World Championships. Evgenia was the only Russian skater, who got standing ovation, in situation when the audience was completely cheering for Americans. It’s a best prove of her power. When there is a great art on the ice, then no one can say nothing. Everyone should skate as Evgenia Medvedeva, and then no one will remember about the judges or anyone else. In the history of Soviet and Russian women’s figure skating there are only four world champions – Maria Butyrskaya, Irina Slutskaya, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Evgenia Medvedeva. She didn’t get in a row with those, who constantly stays in second place. This shows great champion character.
Can you say that Anna Pogorilaya and Elena Radionova also coped with nerves and responsibility?
Ilia: I’m happy for Pogorilaya because she was probably under the triple pressure. She went to the World Championships on third spot. And a third spot was discussed the most, because we have the Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaya as substitutes. Pogorilaya had to prove to everyone that she went to Worlds rightfully. And she did it with honor, greatest respect for that. But it can be seen with the naked eye that Anna still need to improve in choreography of her programs,. If she can do this, she will be a serious contender for everyone.
Elena Radionova skated the free program on her maximum. The complexity of Elena’s programs slightly, but inferior to the programs of several skaters. However, she has already passed the adolescence and as mature figure skater proves her competence. Radionova should be supported. With a good work in the next season, she is also able to achieve high results.
Medvedeva stood up at the end of hard season. So, she will also cope with growing up?
Ilia: I worked with Evgenia, so I know her a little better than the others. Internally Medvedeva has matured long ago, she has a character of winner. There will be no problems. The problem can only be of anthropometric character. Evgenia can grow, and there will be some problems with coordinations, all skaters are going through it at the time of physical maturation. Let’s belive that Evgenia will go through this period as easily as it possible.
Maxim Kovtun placed only 18th at World Championships. What’s going on with Maxim?
Ilia: Season was difficult for him. In the first half Maxim pleased us, performed quite successfully. In the second half of the season and at the World Championships we expected much more from Maxim. But he is still very young, he’s only 20 years old. He still has time for him to improved significantly and to fight with the leaders. Although, the competition is very tought now.
What Kovtun needs to do after another disastrous performance?
Ilia: Externally, he looks like a formed young man, but it seems to me that internally he isn’t mature yet. At heart he is a big boy who is probably not fully aware of the talent God gave him. In this case, simply he needs time. This time may come tomorrow, or maybe never. Neither coaches nor a hundred thousand psychologists who will be jumping around will not change the situation. Kovtun must grow up internally himself.
How do you evaluate Mikhail Kolyada’s fourth place?
Ilia: With Mikhail everything is opposite. To the second half of the season and World Championships, he came in the best shape. Kolyada already has a good technique of difficult jumps and some confidence, when the athlete goes into the jump. At such moments, you realize that Kolyada is likely to land it. And it’s pretty cool. But he still need to improve in choreography, in the layout of the program. Mikhail’s programs still of the junior level and not competitive with the best programs of the senior level. In general I can say that there is no hopeless situation in our men’s figure skating, everything can be corrected in the next season.
How big is the potential of Kolyada?
Ilia: Misha has very high prospects, as well as Maxim Kovtun and Adian Pitkeev. This three boys soon will divide leading position between them and compete on an equal footing with foreigners. In general, this World Championships turned out optimistical for the Russian team, despite of not very successful results. There are two years before the Olympics and and in all four disciplines our skaters have good chances.
How to explain that Yuzuru Hanyu, who beat record after record, once again didn’t win the World Championships?
Ilia: Some kind of psychological fear can be noticed. For the second time in a row Yuzuru gives the victory at Worlds to Javier Fernandez. I say this with all respect to the Spaniard, who skated the free program stunningly. But if Hanyu skated cleanly, he would have become a world champion. For the second year in a row, he lacks something, didn’t have enough strength. In the warm-up it was evident that Hanyu not in a best shape, confused. Perhaps, he has some problems, that we can’t know about. Maybe, Fernandez, who trains with Hanyu, could see these problems. Perhaps it gave a psychological support to Javier.
the source: sovsport.ru
Ilia Averbukh also summed up the results of the season here.