Interview with Maxim Kovtun. About continuation of his career, wotk with Plushenko and return to Buyanova.
Maxim, after the Russian Nationals you said that you want to take a break.
– Yes, I talked about this absolutely openly. I wanted to let go the situation, not to think about anything. I participated in the show of Ilia Averbukh, spent time with my relatives, did what I wanted.
At that time, in my thoughts decided that I finished with the sport. I gained weight. In show jumped only triples, no more. Everything was great there. In the “Nutcracker” I played two roles at once: Drosselmeyer and there was a solo of the “invited guest Toreador”. It was necessary to quickly change clothes, go on the ice again. It was a good experience in terms of mobilization, jumping in the darkness. Physically it was necessary to withstand 3 performances a day. It was such a New Year’s marathon. I don’t remember the exact number, but for two weeks in St. Petersburg, we had about 40 performances. Then, to be honest, I didn’t think what would happen next, but for myself I finished with the sport.
How did your dad react to this, he’s also a figure skating coach right?
– He said “Thank God.” He was very worried about me, and the whole family was worried. But after the Russian Nationals I had a period when everything was changing literally every day, turning upside down. When in February I called my dad and said that I was coming back, he took it as a joke. He was really shaking from my phone calls.
Why did you change your mind and decide to return?
– We met and talked with Zhenya Plushenko. He said that Inna Germanovna Goncharenko, who had parted with CSKA, moved to his Academy. Before starting to train with Zhenya, I talked with my parents and friends. I asked Ilia Averbukh for an opinion. He didn’t try to dissuade me, said that this is a chance, why not to try again.
I had a thought before that, maybe, I should return to CSKA, but I tried to stop thinking about it. And then everything turned out with Zhenya, Inna Germanovna. Zhenya really motivated me during training. I couldn’t and didn’t want to look ungrateful.
I am grateful to Zhenya Plushenko for offering to work with him. If he hadn’t, then probably my life would have been different.
But before you had strained relations.
– Time passes. Negative emotions fade. And you do not need to feed yourself with this. Moreover Zhenya and I had never communicated before. When this happened, we met, talked, looked at each other from the real side and realized that we are cool guys.
Everything that happened is in the past. Zhenya said at the first training session “From now you are no one. You have no titles or ranks. You’re just a figure skater who came from the village, just Maxim. And we start everything from scratch.” He persuaded me that there was no need to look back, just look ahead. And for me, everything became easier. There was a huge desire to work.
Why didn’t it work out at the Plushenko’s Academy?
– Zhenya has an excellent Academy, but the ice has non-standard size. It’s difficult for professionals to prepare there, Zhenya is constantly on the road. And I did not have time to wait. When I decided to continue, I really wanted to work, I had to get the programs.
How did you explained this to Zhenya and Inna Germanovna?
– I said everything honestly. But it’s easier to talk about business with men. There are no unnecessary emotions. We talked with Zhenya, parted as friends. He said: “Call at any time.” Wished me success.
Then I met with Inna Germanovna. Explained that I’m returning to CSKA Moscow, to Elena Germanovna. She replied: “I understand. It seems a right decision.” I was glad that she understood me. We parted well, without a drop of negativity. She even invited me for a weekend at her country house. I’m grateful to Inna Germanovna for everything. During our work we have become very close.
Was it hard to call Elena Germanovna (Buyanova)?
– First I texted her, then called and we met. She, of course, was shocked. She did not expect anything like this. We talked for more than two hours, although it seemed to me that the conversation was short. After that she thought for a very long time. And on April 1st I received a message: come to the coaching room, grab your skates you have ice at 4pm. I realized that a new life begins.
It’s always difficult to come back. The question is for what?
– In the life of every athlete there are periods when you work on the run, without a soul or something like that. At such times it seemed to me that if I finish, everything will be super, super life will begin. Perhaps I had to go through this, because the understanding comes with your own mistakes. While you haven’t dealt with something yourself, you will not understand. I’m just like that. I realized that the feeling of unfulfillment will simply devour me in the future.
Don’t you worry that there are other guys in the team who perform well?
– If there is sparing, you can grow on it. You just need to take everything right. It is necessary to fight for a place under the sun. I need to return the trust of people, fans, because recently they started to unsubscribe from my social networks. There are, of course, dedicated fans, which I know by their names. The rest need a result. It you have result then they like you. No result – no love. But in all sports like this.
Over the past months, I understood a lot. For example, that you shouldn’t say much, give promises. You just need to turn on your head and prove it on the ice. Better late than never.
by Olga Yarmolina and Tatjana Flade for fsrussia.ru