Ilia Averbukh summed up the results of this season, discussed the prospects of Russian figure skaters for the next year, commented on meldonium scandal involving Ekaterina Bobrova.
Figure skating season is over. How would you assess it? What was the main event for you?
Ilia: In general, I’d give a B for the season. By and large, it was quite successful.
The main event for me and I think for all professionals was an extremely successful performance of Eugene Medvedev, who, making her debut at the World Cup, took the gold from the first attempt, and won everything this season, all tournaments: Grand Prix Final, European Championships and Russian Nationals. This, of course, an outstanding result.
The whole team performed quite smoothly. There were disappointments, but there were breakthroughs. Now, of course, everyone works with an aim of the Olympic Games – 2018.
Every year in the Russian women’s figure skating, appeared new athletes who begin to dominate at all competitions. There was Adelina Sotnikova, then Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, now Medvedeva. Who impressed you more?
Ilia: I think I wouldn’t be quite correctly for me to answer this question, because I worked with Evgenia Medvedeva as choreographer and made a free program for her. So, of course, Evgenia’a performances are closer to me. But it’s true in one moment have appeared a whole galaxy of girls. And if they all would represent our country at the European Championships, it’s not excluded that our athletes would occupy the first five or six places.
Of course, At the World Championship this trick won’t work, but in Europe it will be so. The level of women’s figure skating in Russia is clearly higher than in many countries of the world.
I believe that Medvedeva will be able to avoid the transience of one season, which, unfortunately Adelina Sontikova, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Julia Lipnitskaya faced. I believe that she won’t become a caliph for an hour. I believe that the wisdom of her coach, the internal state of Evgenia, and I know her very well, won’t let her rest on her laurels, and next year Medvedeva will prove to all that her success wasn’t accidental or transience.
Does Medvedeva need to change something in her life, career, to maintain a high level, or you believe that she fully ready for a permanent victories?
Ilia: Evgenia will have to go through a very difficult period, a period when a girl becomes a woman. And in any case it will impose its mark, because the body will change, there will be a certain discoordination, which of course makes it difficult to do difficult jumps.
Psychological support and hard work of the athletes are very important. Everything will return, but you need to endure this period of time. Mother and coach will fight together with Medvedeva.
Let’s move on to the male skating, which is remains problematic. Don’t you have a feeling, that this discipline will pull us down at the Olympic team event?
Ilia: There were some disappointments in the men’s figure skating this season, but there also were some positive aspects. For example, performance of Mikhail Kolyada. I think he has a very good potential for great results.
It can be seen that Mikhail is very well trained in jumping elements. And if he can impruve in components, if he will have interesting program and improve in spins and step sequences – he will be absolutely competitive.
I’m sure that we should not write Maxim Kovtun off. I know that he is a goal-oriented guy and I think that next season will be a key for him. Either Maxim will return to the top, or we’ll forget about it, how we forgot of Arthur Gachinsky, who also wasn’t deprived of talent.
I would like to say a few words about Adian Pitkeev. I believe that he can become a big star in our men’s figure skating. This year he is working with Elena Vodorezova. If the coaches find an approach to Pitkeev and he gain stability, then by the level of skating Adian may even become the best skater of the country. I’m sure that God has given him everything, if only he had strengths and get a head on his shoulders…….
Russia remained without medals in pair skating at World Championships. Are Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov at this age still able to maintain their former shape?
Ilia: Max and Tanya undeniably are leaders and trendsetters in pair skating. Of course, it’s very difficult to find new motivation after the victory at Olympics, very difficult to go into the season. And I think that’s this problem prevented them from successfull performance at the World Championships.
But I don’t see any age limits in this situation. In pair skating there were much and much more age-skaters, who have won everything. For example, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy were skating and winning.
So, I think if the guys find new motivation, then with their potential and quality of elements they can absolutely calmly compete and fight for a third Olympic medal. In this situation, we need to support guys, once more tell them kind words of gratitude for the Olympics, which they gave us.
Did a doping scandal with Ekaterina Bobrova scare you? What do you think about it?
Ilia: On the one hand, of course, all is well that ends well. On the other hand, still has a downside, which for some reason no one wants to talk about. It turns out that WADA made a mistake by putting meldonium into the list of banned drugs.
And who will compensate to Bobrova and Soloviev the skip of the World Championships, where they could raise their rating, make some money and not to fall out of the league? This question once have been “sound off”, everyone thanked for the WADA decision. But for the guys it’s a huge blow, because they already had to missed the previous World Championships because of the injury.
So, once they started to remind of themselves, to regain position as received another blow. I think that now it’ll be very difficult for them to return to the leading positions, because competitors haven’t been asleep all this time and went forward.
Previously Bobrova / Soloviev’s place could always be taken by Ilinykh / Katsalapov. Now they have been parted for two years. How can you comment on this decision? Some believe that they did the right thing, others still regret about this split up.
Ilia: It makes no sense to discuss this topic. They parted not because of professional reasons, but because they couldn’t work together. There have been a human factor. And there is no right or wrong in this story. Skaters are not robots, if people cann’t co-exist with each other in training and do one common cause, then, no matter how talented they may be, they will have to break up.
Therefore, it’s silly to to talk about this. They parted. Firstly, Elena and Ruslan Zhiganshin took the leadership. This year, Nikita and Victoria Sinitsina improved a lot. Before the World Championships, they have shown very significant results, but in the tournament, unfortunately it didn’t work out so well.
I think affected the factor that they were making a debut at such level. In general, I think they have a potential, as the other duo has. Some other Russian duos has it too. All of them can still fight for the good results.
But, unfortunately, in ice dance we have the biggest gap from our competitors. That is, in spite of the not so outstanding results in the men’s figure skating, one of the boys can easily “shoot out” and quickly catch up the rivals. In ice dance between our guys and competitors there is a significant gap. Therefore, in the fight between Lena and Nikita the most importantly is to focus on the fight with the others. Russia should return the lost positions in ice dance.
the source: gazeta.ru
previous interview with Ilia Averbukh