Renat Laishev: “Tutberidze has a difficult character. But she is a modern example of how to treat students. Both carefully and reverently at the same time.”

Posted on 2022-07-04 • No comments yet


Interview with Sambo-70 president Renat Laishev. About Eteri Tutberidze, Diana Davis possible switch to US national team, Kamila Valieva’s doping case, Medvedeva and Zagitova.


source: dd. 1st July 2022 by Vlad Zhukov

We translated the interview partly. Some parts are complete Russian propaganda which we don’t want to translate and publish, some untranslatable stream of consciousness. But some are quite intersting)

Renat Alekseevich, didn’t you tired of journalists?

Renat Laishev: Well, there were different cases – funny and not very funny. In general, I am very grateful to the journalists, because they helped me educate and set up the guys properly. I wanted to see the perspective of the school, and they guided me, one might say.

I really appreciate journalists very much. I consider them to be the advanced stratum of the population. They are informed, they know what people need. It’s interesting with them. A lot of graduates of our school became journalists.

Alina Zagitova, for example, tries.

Renat Laishev: Well, yes. She also tries boxing (laughs). By the way, I don’t know how Alina restrained herself when the ring announcer called her “Kamila Valieva” a couple of times. This is a nightmare. She could have punched him! (Laughs.)

Since the conversation has already turned this way, the classic question from the past – Alina or Zhenya Medvedeva?

Renat Laishev: Medvedeva.


Renat Laishev: Well she was one of the first. They are all wonderful girls, I treat everyone fine, but it’s just like this. I will name Zhenya Medvedeva and Anya Shcherbakova. Although Sasha Trusova’s father is a sambo wrestler, and Julia Lipnitskaya is our first such a star in general. She has a little daughter now, everything is fine, we are very happy for her.

In principle, I have the right to sympathize. Only liars in pedagogy says they don’t have favorites. In fact, in the soul, we always have them.

I will explain why I asked about Alina and Zhenya. I think many still remember that situation with the raising of the school flag at the 50th anniversary, when you called Zhenya instead of Alina, and you said about her something like “Is she the queen of Chanticleer or something?” Why? for?

Renat Laishev: Well, it just came out. The fact is that for the whole world they are great champions, but for us they are students. And why exactly the Queen of Chanticleer … Well, why should we bow in front of them? We are always waiting for them, everyone can come to the event, come to the microphone. They are our pupils, not just stars.

Another point – when Alena Kostornaia and Sasha Trusova left Eteri Georgievna, you constantly talked about them with such overtones that they will return. And shortly before Sasha returned to “Khrustalny”, you announced that she was returning. What was it? Were there really any negotiations that we don’t know about?

Renat Laishev: No, there were no negotiations, to be honest. I actually just assumed, but in the end it all happened. You could say I’m clairvoyant (laughs).

Slowly approaching “Khrustalny”. We know that for a national team members the federation pays for skates, costumes and programs. What does the school provide? For example “Sambo-70”.

Renat Laishev: Trips to competitions – we fund them for both skaters and coaches. We are talking about some additional competitions not planned by the national team. For example, Eteri Georgievna comes and says that it is very necessary to go to the pre-season competitions – we pay.

In addition, through our sponsors, we sometimes helped athletes get apartments and cars. Including skaters. And these sponsors are the graduates of our school.

Did you happened to help Eteri Georgievna?

Renat Laishev: Yes. Including financially, of course. Money is never superfluous, so there is nothing special about that. I also brought a sponsor to Eteri Georgievna.

Why did I start talking about it – in the past few years, there have been rumors that Khrustalny has become an autonomy within the Sambo-70 and exists almost independently. Is this true?

Renat Laishev: In principle, yes, although this autonomy is conditional. “Khrustalny” was attached to a stronger administrative unit – to the school. It was the right decision, a kind of optimization. And the head of the school, of course, must control all processes.

But the fact is that all talented athletes and coaches are difficult and strange people, extraordinary. Not of this world. Of course, they can be suppressed administratively, driven into the framework, but if you have the same goal, you, as a leader, simply create help and do not interfere with development. You let go of the situation and observe from the side. I tried not to interfere and not to push together administrative interests with creativity, which Eteri Georgievna is engaged in.

How did they push together?

Renat Laishev: Well, let’s say that the coach should not be interested in the economic and financial problems of the school. Coach just needs to have conditions no matter what. And he’s even right about that. He creates, and you are like service personnel who must provide everything needed. So this conditional autonomy was practically from the very beginning of Khrustalny’s stay in our school.

You say that all creative people are not of this world. How does this show itself in Eteri Georgievna?

Renat Laishev: In a difficult, not an easy character. And also in teaching talent and in relationships with athletes. She is a modern example of how to treat students. Both carefully and reverently at the same time. Many coaches have this approach – for example Irina Alexandrovna Viner. I think they are similar.

What is the difficulty of her character?

Renat Laishev: She is a difficult person to communicate with.

What do you mean?

Renat Laishev: It’s hard to say… It’s not easy with Eteri Georgievna. As with other extraordinary personalities. It all comes from originality.

On the other hand, much of this, it seems to me, is put-on. Inside, she is a sincere person and a beautiful woman. And her character and rigidity are more like a form of protection from the outside world. We knew her completely different in relation to her mother, to her daughter Diana. There were problems when she studied at our school. Known problems.

Do you mean hearing?

Renat Laishev: Yes. We don’t touch much on this topic, but it really happened. I asked some of the teachers to stay after the lessons and explain the material to Diana individually. She couldn’t take everything. And then Diana had a small surgery, it’s true.

My own daughter had eight surgeries on a head, so I know what I’m talking about. I don’t see what the problem is to say about such things. It just happens.

It is clear that the transfer of Diana and Gleb to the US team is being considered. I think, we can already talk about it as a fact. In this case, I will conditionally take the side of the prosecution – do you think that in the current circumstances this a betrayal?

Renat Laishev: Well, what can we demand from defenseless people? We need to be more forgiving. Moreover, they do not lead themselves to artificial exclusion from the country, from school, they arrange their personal lives. Only time will tell if they are right or wrong.

Although, of course, the guys will certainly have certain remorse. I have many acquaintances who are invited to work by foreign companies. And their children at school come to me and ask if it would be a betrayal if dad … That is, even children have it, although, of course, there is no betrayal here. We must be better and more flexible than all this West. We must not take revenge. And this is how we “kill” them.

On the other hand, Diana and Gleb trained and received some privileges, being in the Russian team, went to the Olympics representing Russian team, which will have a very positive effect on their future career. And then – the transition to the other national team, which is also our principal rival.

Renat Laishev: They have a right to it. I would say so – they have the right, but God be their judge. We cannot judge them for the circumstances they found themselves in. And then, well, they are not the strongest pair. And our country is talented, so there will be nothing terrible, I’m sure.

And what about Eteri Georgievna? I remember the last time I talked to you, you said that she would be back soon. Yesterday she has finally returned. Have you considered the option that she would stay in the US?

Renat Laishev: Well, maybe she’ll retire there! And will rest. She had the right not to return, given her accomplishments. It is unlikely that anyone will repeat this in the next century. We need to bow and say thank you for what she has done for the school, for Moscow and for the country. And if it suddenly happened … Well, they would squeak for a couple of weeks and subside.

Why did I start this whole conversation – until September 1, it turns out that she is an employee of Sambo-70, right?

Renat Laishev: Yes.

That is, when going on vacation, like all other people, Eteri Georgievna had to fill an application.

Renat Laishev: Everything is correct. There was an application from Eteri Georgievna, she was officially on vacation. I can’t immediately name the date of its end, but so far everything is in accordance with the regulations, she is on legal leave. On the other hand, a person may not come out of vacation …

Well, it’s a dismissal.

Renat Laishev: … but I had no reason to believe that Eteri Georgievna would do that. We worked together for so many years, this explosion of talent took place before my eyes, that I simply could not think otherwise. At first, her girls were of little interest, and then suddenly they began to rise. Miracles!

As you can see, given that she’s back, I was right. And against this background, we see all the ins and outs of the International Olympic Committee. Kamila [Valieva] was found guilty of a doping use at the Olympics, so why was she allowed to compete then? Because they are smelly goats, money is more important for them than the Olympic Charter.

But she couldn’t be not allowed. The investigation is still going on.

Renat Laishev: No, it wasn’t like that. The TV companies just came to [Thomas] Bach and said, “You jerk, figure skating is one of the most popular sports. And if there is no main star, our ratings will drop and we will not pay you money. So let her compete.” And he did, but before that he squeezed every juice out of Kamila. It’s a shame! First they talk about a “protected person”, and then they themselves reveal everything publicly. Yes this Bach is a jerk and everyone around him! First, they destroyed a 15-year-old girl, and then they began to get out.

But don’t you admit that doping could really be? Purely in theory, as an option.

Renat Laishev: I admit that there could be an inconsiderate use. When I was an athlete, I fought in the 68 kg weight category. Once I had to lose weight, I took a sip of furosemide – 2 kg fell off. Now it is a banned substance, and before we didn’t even know about it.

The psyche of a young athlete is arranged in such a way that everything is aimed at winning and it doesn’t matter what happens to you today. It seems to them that life is endless, and there is only one first place. Why are they recruited into the army at the age of 18? Because you just take a machine gun and go, not really understanding what awaits you. You did not know life, did not see what death is.

Therefore, everything is, of course, possible. But, it seems to me that if Kamila had something, it was definitely by accident or thoughtlessly.


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