Ilia Averbukh summed up the results of Russian test skates 2017.
What are your impression from the test skates?
– First of all, it necessary to point put our women’s team. At the moment, girls are better prepared than others. None of them had big failures, each performance had the pros and cons. Test skates are a very useful event, it will push many skaters to enter the season even stronger and brighter.
Zhenya Medvedeva showed her programs very well, Alina Zagitova has interesting programs. I also liked the free program of Maria Sotskova. Of course, no one could avoid mistakes, but this is the very beginning of the season, so there is nothing terrible here. Medvedeva had couple of small mistakes, but it’s working moments.
Are you satisfied with the way Evgeniya Medvedeva’s programs look at the moment? Will they be improved?
– Of course, they will be further improved. In general, it is clear that programs suit Zhenya. It is clear that they are still not sufficiently polished comparing with how they will look in six months at the Olympics. There is still a lot of time ahead to polish many things – there will be Grand Prix, European and Russian Championships.
We always worry waiting girls after an off-season because they grow up, gain weight, get uncoordinated … But unfortunately for all the rivals, who were expecting that Zhenya will grow up, and for the happiness of her fans this did not happen. Medvedeva is in brilliant shape, she didn’t put on a gram and even if she grew up, it did not affect the technique of her jumps. It is most important! The thing that everyone was afraid of, knowing how girls change after successful seasons, did not happen.
Who besides Medvedeva is the main contender for Olympics’ team?
– Judging by the test skates, in my opinion, this is Zagitova and Sotskova. Elena Radionova also looked very good, and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva did not allow serious mistakes, but it seemed to me that Alina and Maria has a better element content.
What is the situation in men’s skating? On whom we can count?
– The situation in men’s skating is very sad if we’re judging by the standards of Evgeni Plushenko and Alexei Yagudin. So far, all that we see is an inner fight. In men’s skating, we are seriously lagging behind and while, unfortunately, we don’t see anyone who could reduce this gap with the world leaders. Yes, Maxim Kovtun did not perform, but this fact does not mean that we will see him in a crazy shape in the future. Yes, it is clear that Michael Kolyada can jump well. He can have a gorgeous quadruple lutz, but all this is in the potential. So, it’s impossible to say that there were some breakthroughs in men’s skating.
Didn’t silver medalist of Junior World Championships Dmitri Aliev surprised you?
– Dmitri Aliev is a ray of light. But we are talking about the chances of Olympic medals. So Aliyev is very far from them. And all the rest, as we were taught – the fourth or the forty-fourth place – no difference.
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev worked on their new programs with famous choreographer Radu Poklitaru. What do you think about performances of Ekaterina and Dmitri and the other duets?
– I can say that everyone liked their free program. Nikita Katsalapov and Viktoria Sinitsina left a good impression, as well as Ivan Bukin and Alexandra Stepanova. I think that these three pairs will fight for two spots to the Olympics. This will be a serious rivalry. Nikita and Victoria have added a lot, they have a very interesting free program. Yes, there were questions about the original dance, but wonderful specialist Alexander Zhulin works with them, he will correct these shortcomings.
What are the prospects for Elena Ilinykh / Anton Shibnev?
– I think this is not their season. This year they will spend on becoming a pair. They must get used to each other, show some results at the Grand Prix. If they go through this and have enough motivation for the next Olympic cycle, then we can talk about their prospects.
In theory, this partner is suitable for Elena?
– In theory, yes. They look very beautiful on the ice. Potentially, we can have a very good pair.
What is the situation in pairs?
– Very sad situation, considering that across Russia we could scrape together only five pairs. After all, pair skating is our headliner, we always won a huge number of medals in this discipline. This time, Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov did not perform, apparently, injuries again did not allow them to. It’s a pity, because it’s a very beautiful and strong pair, but we’ll wait till they can go on the ice.
I really like Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, but it was clear that they are not in optimal shape. Nevertheless, there is time, the guys will gain shape and will fight. But they have serious rivals.
How did their performances look?
– I think that Evgenia and Vladimir need time to prepare the programs. It often happens that the program does not look great, because the athletes are not ready to show it either physically or choreographically. When the guys gain the shape, their performances can look quite different.
So now I wouldn’t discuss Tarasova and Morozov’s programs, I would wait for the moment when they prepare them, when appear the speed at which they should skate, the costumes they are supposed to appear in, and, probably this programs will look differently than at the test skates.
by Sergei Podgornov for sport-espress.ru