Alexei Yagudin: “The medals of the team event downgrade the significance of the individual medal.”

Posted on 2022-02-03 • No comments yet


Interview with Alexei Yagudin about Olympic team event.

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source: dd. 2d February 2022 by Dmitri Kuznetsov

Alexei, how are you? How much did you see at the Olympics?

Alexei Yagudin: If only there was an opportunity to watch something (laughs). Of course, everyone is in various “bubbles”. Athletes, choreographers and coaches in one, commentators and the press in others. There is no direct transfer. Of course, we cannot go outside. Yesterday, we recorded a video with Alina Zagitova and Ilia Averbukh about how leaving our hotel here is like entering an airport in Russia. They read your accreditation, check your clothes and so on.

But it’s better this way. It’s better to wear masks everywhere. Although in Europe they are now removing the mask regime and everything is becoming quite free … But let there be these masks and sprays. The main thing is that the Olympics are happenning for athletes. This is their holiday.

We’re talking after the training of the girls, which was attended by a lot of journalists. Does such serious attention harm the skaters?

Alexei Yagudin: This is absolutely normal. Our girls are used to it. Not the first top competitions for them. For two or three years, constant attention, constant interviews. They are used to it. Also, the skaters came from the training camp in Krasnoyarsk, where they were filmed every day. A huge amount of media at the training of our girls – and where do the media come? Where it’s interesting. And the women’s single skating is the most interesting thing that will happen in figure skating at the Olympics.

Is there any worries about coronavirus tests? Daniil Gleikhengauz, Alexander Kogan are not here… And it seems it’s clear why. Do you feel the pressure?

Alexei Yagudin: Not globally. You understand that we all were tested negative. We cannot go outside, we have no right. There are people around us who are also “negative”. But there’s a little worries when you wait the results. And we do tests every day. If something goes wrong, you just won’t leave the hotel. Waiting for a call, what result will they tell you. I’m fine, even if something go wrong. But it’s a different story for athletes. They are much more worried about these tests. God Forbid something happens here. Who knows, maybe this is your last chance?

Can we say that the Russian team was not lucky, especially because of the peak of the wave?

Alexei Yagudin: The peak of the wave is everywhere. We have a sharp jump in numbers, in France, about 400,000 infections every day, as far as I know. Our athletes were in Krasnoyarsk, where they also tried to make covid-free spaces. Earlier used to say when you arrived at competitions: ready – not ready, and then were you lucky or not, still there was such a moment. And now you should be lucky twice, both in figure skating and in passing tests.

In the context of tests, it is often said that the Chinese will knock out competitors with the help of tests.

Alexei Yagudin: I don’t believe. It is clear that absolutely everything is possible in our life. But almost 100% sure that this will not happen.

What do you think about our guys and girls in training?

Alexei Yagudin: Regarding the boys, a cool thing came to me during training. You know, it was like checking into a hotel room. When you check in, you look – yeah, here are slippers, here are towels. Our guys trying it’s like checking the territory.

I liked the ending of their training – they kind of went into the room, laid out things and felt quite comfortable. In my opinion, Mark Kondratiuk stood out. He seemed a little fresher. But this is not an indicator of what will happen at the competitions.

As for the girls, this is also their first official training. Valieva – all the same, beautiful and good. Shcherbakova, in my opinion, improved her shape – and not just a little, but decently. She did a quadruple flip twice, and very easily, in the program – a quadruple lutz. Yes, each of them made mistakes, but Shcherbakova shows the difference between the Russian and European Championships and what we have now.

With Trusova, everything is as usual. She knows how to do all the quads, and her task is just to be able to collect them. In everything else, everyone make mistakes and fail something.

But is it worth trying to collect them here, at the Olympics? Although Tutberidze was clapping for her athlete.

Alexei Yagudin: Well, I have not seen their training and I do not know how they work. It seems to me that Sasha needs to understand what she wants more – either to win or try to perform five quads.

Isn’t doing both an option?

Alexei Yagudin: Yes, it is an option. But that’s more of a bonus.

The Olympics starts with a tough confrontation – Russia vs. USA in a team event? Is there a feeling of a big battle or are we the favorites and everything is boring?

Alexei Yagudin: It’s clear that we are the team event’s favorites, but we need to understand who will perform, where the substitutions will take place. We are the main favorites, but four years ago we were also not really behind, but ended up in second place. Let’s not recall the past, say what and how… Again, the ice is slippery.

For me personally, the medals of the team event downgade the significance of the individual competitions. When you become the Olympic team champion, and in the individual championships you placed out of the top three. Still an interesting format…

You don’t like it very much?

Alexei Yagudin: No. I believe that the significance of any medal of individual event is downgraded in this case.

Does that mean it’s unfair?

Alexei Yagudin: Winning thanks to others in the team and winning personally are two different things. But this format has already been carried out more than once, of course, there is no need to remove it. Moreover, we have the opportunity [to win].

And why are we waiting so long with the announcing the team?

Alexei Yagudin: We are waiting, this is a strategy, like chess. Naturally, it is easier for us to build on and make decisions based on who will skate in other teams, especially America and Canada. Purely hypothetically, it is almost impossible to beat Nathan Chen in a short. If there was another skater, it would be possible to put a stronger one of ours. It’s a strategy, team event. Here they act not in personal interests, but in the interests of the final.

Can you name your version of the team?

Alexei Yagudin: No.

Why is it downgraded?

Alexei Yagudin: For me, an individual one is the most important medal. For example, Bobrova and Soloviev, they are gold medalists in the team, but in the individual competitions they did not make it into the top three. For us, the people of the past era, when there was only an individual competitions, you are there. And when you are not very good, and in the individual competitions you don’t have the opportunity, but in the team, thanks to the girls, good pairs, you can get on the podium.

And may someone not have enough strength for both competitions?

Alexei Yagudin: If we argue in such a way that we are not able to skate even four programs, then how did you prepare, what did you do? Emotionally and physically it can be hard, but if the girls of Tutberidze skate their programs two or three times even in training. What for them to skate another short or free program with a break of several days?

On the first day I saw the guys adapting. The first workout is the feel of the ice, some are used to softer ice. I heard creaking, the ice could be harder. The atmosphere, especially since men will compete first at the Olympics.

Well, women too!

Alexei Yagudin: Yes, but our women are mentally stronger than our men. But from the first training session, knowing that competitions are not tomorrow, so far everything is fine.


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