Alexander Zaitsev: predictions for the Worlds

Posted on 2016-03-29 • No comments yet


A two-time Olympic Champion in pair skating Alexander Zaitsev (in pair with Irina Rodnina) shares his predictions for the upcoming World Championships in Boston.

Do you have a feeling that this season the circle of contenders for the World title in pair skating is wider than usual?

Alexander: Yes, it’s true. Let’s count: our pairs Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov and Ksenia Stolbova / Fedor Klimov. Then World Champions  – Canadians Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford. Also let’s add emerged from the shadow  Chinese team Sui Wenjing / Han Cong.

Can the Americans fight for a gold?

Alexander: I wouldn’t discounted them. The Championships is held on their territory, and at home, as you know, even walls help. And usually the judges estimate the hosts more liberal. So, we get the rivalry of four countries: Russia – Canada – USA – China.

In your opinion, what will be the key element in the fight for the gold of World Championships 2016?

Alexander: Today world pair skating elite has a very solid jump content. Someone does two triple jumps, someone even three. Some couples started to do quad throws and quad twists. Who better perform it, showing a balanced skating in general – that, of course, will win.

volosozhar trankov

How do you evaluate the chances of Russian pairs?

Alexander: I hope that one of the Russian pairs will finish at the highest step of the pedestal. But don’t forget that the Championships is held on a different continent – in North America. And the time difference, acclimatization will be a considerable difficulty for European and Chinese athletes. In general, I expect a bright and unpredictable fight.

Does someone of the mentioned pairs has an advantage?

Alexander: A distinct advantage – no. All pairs in today’s elite, has its own trump cards and the overall level is very solid. And in such circumstances the war of nerves is coming to the fore. Crucial role will play not only the technical level of athletes, but also a psychology.

Apparently, plus the gained shape.

Alexander: Yes, a training sessions in Boston – it’s a very important factor. Who prove to be there more consistent, better technically – will have an advantage in the judges’ eyes, who traditionally watch these trainings. Often, a major tournaments have been won there, and this way: the judges previously formed an opinion – who is more consistent, who is more artistic.

Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot.

Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot. © DPA

In your opinion, can the German Aljona Savchenko – Bruno Massot interfere into the fight for gold? Or the time of five-time world champion and her new partner has not come yet?

Alexander: It won’t be easy for them. They’re seem to be pretty ready, but they had a very long period of time without competition. And it’s a lot: the competitive tonus and the judges’ attention can be lost. Yes, Aljona and Bruna are gaining the shape, and soon will have their fight shape. But those, who have competed at the highest level for the last few years without major interruptions, will have a definite advantage. They’re – “in public”, “in front of the judges”. However, the picture will become fully clear only after the short program. Those who will finish in top-four  after the short program, will compete for the gold medal.

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