I’ve already posted some sneak peaks form this interview with Marina Zueva, and here’ a full version.
The news about Patrick Chan, one of the best single skaters in the world, joins your group, shocked the figure skating world. How did this happen?
– Patrick skated on our rink in the summer, and then decided to continue training in our group. He liked the atmosphere, our coaching staff – and he decided to stay with us.
What did he ask you to teach him?
– Patrick is a formed athlete, with remarkable career, it’s difficult to say what else he can be tought. Rather, it’s necessary to create an atmosphere in which he’ll be able to show his capabilities.
Provide a comfortable climate.
– Yes. With comfortable climate at practices comes the technical consistancy. In the case with formed athletes, climate is the main thing. Don’t forget that Patrick came back after a break, in this time a new generation of single skaters has come.
It’s known that Patrick has difficulties with triple axel. Are you trying to solve this problem?
– Of course, we are working on it. And Patrick works himself. Not only coach’s advices are important, but also an execution. He works a lot with video.
Are the coaching roles divided in work with Chan?
– While we all follow Patrick. Rather, like this. For a long time he had one coach, and now there’re three.
You, Johnny Jones and Oleg Epstein?
– Yes. Of course, Oleg has experience of working with single skaters. He worked with the Olympic champion Evan Lysacek in 2010, he worked with Gracie Gold. I have all the previous experience in singles and pairs. I worked with Alexander Fadeyev, Anna Kondrashova, Gracie Gold.
– Ice dance appeared only in Canada. Prior to this, I worked only with single skaters and pairs. In America, I coached pairs – Canadian champions Kristy and Kris Wirtz. I raised my son Fedor Andreev. So, it’s not a new field for me – I just came back to it ten years later. Of course, Patrick has a little different technique, more American than Russian. But we don’t break anything. We adjust, look what can be applied better to Patrick’s technique.
Chan is a great artist. Have you already felt that a diamond got in your hands?
– Of course. Now he came to us with ready programs, choreographed by David Wilson. And music for the free program is written by Eric Radford, two-time world champion in pairs. He played the piano, then were added cello and orchestra. Very soulful music – both emotionally and rhythmically suitable for figure skating. Because the skater wrote it – put love and knowledge into it. Patrick chose it himself, and he skates it’s from his heart.
Once, you came up with a program to Mahler for Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in advance. Have you already have ideas for Patrick for the next season?
– The idea that I will coach Patrick is too new for me. So, I just started to make sense of it, to think.
Did Canadian Federation set you some goals?
– The Federation always sets goals, but first of all skater feels his opportunities himself. The task is not easy, but doable.
The gold of World Championships and Olympic Games?
– First, Patrick needs to catch up. To feel confidence. He said recently – I’m already 24. And I see that it’s only 24. Of course, it will be his third Olympics, but Evgeni Plushenko won medals at four Olympics. So anything is possible with reasonable approach, competency and love. I’ve always been a fan of Patrick’s. He’s already made his contribution to the figure skating, he is followed, people tried to skate like Patrick, perform like Patrick, with emotions, with soul.
The beginning of this season has shown that the tendency to execute as many quadruple jumps as possible didn’t pass.
– Patrick regained quadruple Salchow. With toe loop it’s two quadruples. It’s necessary to do them consistently and cleanly. Plus components. He has unique execution of programs. Every time at practices he leaves such an impression – happiness to watch.
Is it possible to compete with Yuzuru Hanyu, who started to do quad loop?
– Yes, it’s real. Now a skater who performs four different quads trains in my group – Nathan Chen. He came to our group to improve the presentational part of figure skating – steps, turns, expression. He learned how to put his heart into execution of the program. Now he’s working on it and slowly regains his quads after injury.
– Before leaving to Finland, we conducted a rehearsal of the competition – Nathan did a clean free program with four different quads. Toe loop, Salchow, Lutz, Flip. It is unique. Now it’s necessary to bring it to the competition. It’s a great merit of Rafael Arutyunyan, who did a great technical work. In terms of abilities, Nathan is on leading positions. Now it’s necessary to improve the second mark.
Not so long ago you didn’t have any single skaters, and now you have two and which ones!
– The confluence of circumstances of life. But happy ones. Of course, to see such a talent like Patrick, to see every day how he skates, to have a possibility to work with such a diamond, to help Nathan to demonstrate his capabilities – all this is happiness.
Dancers are not jealous?
– They come to the competition, saying that after our practices they don’t even want to see competitions of single skaters. They train together. And the dancers see what loads single skaters have, what kind of work they do. Every day they skate the short program at one practice, and the free program – at another practice. With all jumps.
Your students Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov returned to Russia and now train with Oleg Volkov. In which mode you continue to work with them?
– They have a plan, they should follow it. Of course, it’s difficult to be responsible for what they do, nothing can replace live training and live chat. But we are in touch with Oleg Volkov.
Will you place them on the ice at Grand Prix?
– I’ll be in China, where will also perform Maia and Alex Shibutani. Nikita is now undergoing rehabilitation after surgery. It was made in early April, and it turned out that the problem is more complex than we thought. Therefore, the rehabilitation period took longer and the season we started much later than we should have. But I’m very pleased that the programs that we did, turned out and got positive feedback from experts. Now the main task for guys and Oleg is to polish them.
In preparation for the main competitions – European and World championships – a loss of time is critical?
– Firstly, it’s necessary to get there, to qualify. The National Championship will be very serious, it’s necessary to be ready. Before the “Grand Prix” Victoria and Nikita will perform at the stage of Russian Cup, I hope it will help them to get in shape. They are in a more difficult situation than other pairs – due to surgery, which postponed the beginning of preparation for the season. Minimum for three months. But I cheer for Russian athletes with all my heart, and I will definitely continue to fight for this pair.