Alexander Lakernik: It may turn out that Kostornaia, Shcherbakova and Trusova will have nowhere to compete
Vice-President of the ISU, judge and technical controller Alexander Lakernik commented on the idea of personal contracts and the upcoming Grand Prix series.
by Timur Ganeev for sport-express.ru dd. 30th August
How did you feel about the idea of personal contracts?
Alexander Lakernik: Intuitively, I like this idea, it’s reasonable. It may have different pitfalls, problems that need to be discussed. Still, the transfers are different. There are transitions that are caused by the situation when an athlete stops growing and goes to another specialist in order to fulfill himself. And to say that all the transfers are wrong is wrong. On the other hand, the coach, who has invested time, soul, knowledge in the athlete, and they just say goodbye to him and leave for another. I don’t really like this approach. The coach should get a compensation for this. But I’m not an expert on this topic. I express my personal opinion, this is not the position of ISU.
What would be the amount of compensation in a personal contract? For example, when Alena Kostornaia switched from Eteri Tutberidze to Evgeni Plushenko?
Alexander Lakernik: Question not to me. To answer this question, I need to consult with lawyers, coaches, and athletes. And again, all transfers are different. Often it happens with the consent of the coach himself, when he sees that the athlete can no longer grow up with him. For various reasons. Not enough ice, not enough qualifications. These are two different things. But, indeed, there are cases like with Kostornaia or Trusova. The athlete leaves suddenly, absolutely not discussing this with the coach, the person who taught them everything. How to separate these cases is a difficult question, but it is probably should be discussed.
Should any sanctions be applied to Kostornaia for switching coaches outside the transfer period?
Alexander Lakernik: She officially remains an athlete of the “Chrustalny” school “Sambo-70”. Nobody allowed her to change the school. And some additional sanctions are another matter, I am not ready to discuss it. But there is no doubt that the transfer should take place within agreed terms.
What do you think about Mikhail Kolyada’s transition from Valentina Chebotareva to Alexei Mishin?
Alexander Lakernik: You’re pulling me into a conversation that I don’t want to have. Misha Kolyada is an insanely capable athlete, but he has not fulfilled even a third of his talent. If we talk about his transfer to Mishin, then the only question is – isn’t it too late. Only time will tell whether Kolyada made the right choice or not.
Will the rivalry between Kostornaia, Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova reach a new level in the new season?
Alexander Lakernik: It is more important to understand how will new season look like. It may turn out that they will have nowhere to compete. For now, we hope that there will be such an opportunity. They will meet, they will skate well, but so far these are only hopes.
Due to the pandemic, the Grand Prix stages will take place in the form of national competitions organized by the local federation. In your opinion, will the interest to the stages in the new format continue to be high?
Alexander Lakernik: If we manage to hold the Grand Prix stages, it will be very good. It much better than ISU would have given up on this idea. How interesting they will be will depend on the list of participants, who will manage to come. This will all depend on many factors.
It will be difficult for figure skaters to compete in such conditions, in fact, we will get two Russian Nationals.
Alexander Lakernik: When an athlete goes to the official competitions, first of all, he fights with himself. He tries to skate as well as possible.
Did you manage to attend the junior test skates in Moscow?
Alexander Lakernik: Yes, I have been to singles. I liked that, despite the pandemic, everyone really wants to skate. Athletes, coaches, judges are very glad that they can meet, watch the programs, discuss them. This is a small step, but it is regarded as a holiday. Thank God that these skates took place. Everyone has more or less recovered and are in good shape.
I would like to know your point of view on the possible raising the age limit in ladies’ skating from 15 to 17 years. This issue will be discussed at the ISU Congress in 2021.
Alexander Lakernik: There are different points of view on this issue, but even if a census is introduced, believe me, this is not fatal (previously it was reported that if this proposal is adopted at the ISU congress, then it will most likely come into force after the 2022 Olympics in Beijing – ed.)