“Annabelle left upset, saying, “How are you going to work here?” But did we really need to go to the USA for training?” David Narizhny about the breakup with Annabelle Morozov
Interview with David Narizhny about the breakup of their pair with Annabelle Morozov.
source: TASS dd. 12th December 2022 by Veronika Sovetova
From the first joint season, Annabelle Morozov and David Narizhny became the leaders of Russian ice dance, but the duet split in December. In an interview, Narizhny commented on the situation with Morozov, spoke about plans for the future, and shared his opinion about the ideal partner.
David, we didn’t have time to get enough of the new Morozov-Narizhny pair when everyone was dumbfounded by the news of its breakup. What happened?
David Narizhny: It didn’t work out for us, that’s all. To be honest, I had no plans at all to bring this topic up for a wide discussion, but it just so happened that literally everyone spoke out in this situation.
Except you. You’ve just started working together, but you’ve progressed so fast with Annabelle. What’s the secret?
David Narizhny: We worked very hard, but we didn’t get much done. The main thing is that we did not have time to feel each other as partners on the ice, and to remove minor flaws. But I want to say that Annabelle is a very strong partner, a real athlete. I admired her character—fighting, temperamental, and free. I even tried to learn something from her in this regard since I am more restrained in my emotions.
How did it happen that at the beginning of this year you broke up with your previous partner, Elizaveta Shanaeva? I heard the version that you almost “dumped” her.
David Narizhny: I also heard this version, but people who do not know anything about this situation say so. We worked for a long time with our entire team, with Liza, to understand what is not working out. On the eve of our final season, we had a serious talk for several hours, making plans for the season. But as the season progressed, I realized that we never reached an understanding. Then we skated together for a short time after the Russian Nationals, and that’s all. I realized that it was pointless to continue. So this was my decision.
And when did the offer come to skate with Annabelle?
David Narizhny: A month and a half later. We spent the majority of the summer working on programs. We stayed in the USA for more than three months; we left on May 20, and returned on September 10. At first we were in Mexico, where I was getting my visa; then we spent a little time in New Jersey with Annabelle’s mother; then we began to travel to New York to skate the programs, and then we moved to Miami.
Mexico? Was it interesting there?
David Narizhny: Yeah, we didn’t really see anything. It was not a resort in Mexico, which you can imagine; there were construction sites around and some kind of gangs. We only went out to the store. Strong acclimatization is also required. I fell asleep at four o’clock. And I don’t even want to think about the problems with local food. All I can say is that it had serious consequences. As for entertainment, we once decided to go to the pool, but when we got there, we realized it wasn’t worth the risk.
Did you make the decision to move easily?
David Narizhny: It was necessary. We prepared for the trip in two weeks; I didn’t even have time to take all the exams at university, which is why I had to come back for a week. When I was coming back, I fell ill on the way. I got supercooled in flight, and when I was sitting on the transfer, a chill began, and the temperature rose. And I have to fly even further. In general, after this flight, I was sick for another week.
Were conditions fine in the US?
David Narizhny: Yes, quite fine. We started skating the programs, reinforcing everything that we had prepared in Moscow with our coaches, Irina Zhuk, Alexander Svinin, and Alexei Gorshkov. And of course, we began to create an arsenal of elements in order to be more free in the choreographing process. There was a lot of work.
We saw the results of this work at two stages of the Grand Prix, and they were very good. But what happened next?
David Narizhny: After the stage in Kazan, we had a couple of days of rest. Annabelle came to us; she is always welcome in our house, and my parents treat her very well. On that visit, she said that we needed to fly to America. At first I was silent, trying to understand. First of all, by the way, not the situation itself, but why Annabelle is talking about this and not Nikolai, her father, and why our coaches Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin are not aware of the situation. But it’s at least a week on the road.
There was also talk about changing the free program. But what kind of change can we talk about if we have a Russian Nationals soon? There is only time left for polishing, for working on unison, on that contact in a pair that is always so striking during the performances of top ice dance pairs. But I was not heard. In general, Annabelle left upset, saying, “How are you going to work here?” But did we really need to go to the USA for full-fledged training? We are adults and independent athletes, and the results of our work are 90 percent dependent on ourselves. Coaches are primarily our assistants, and we had them here in Moscow. Didn’t these coaches bring our programs into good condition? Didn’t they put us on the ice at the Grand Prix stages? And then, what would we look like with a new rough program? I do not believe it is possible to demonstrate such at the Russian Nationals.
Which one of you made the final decision to break up?
David Narizhny: But it wasn’t really discussed at all. We had a conversation at the Russian Figure Skating Federation, we were given time to decide. The main question we had to answer was whether we were going to compete at the Russian Nationals. After that, we sat down to talk, but it was a dead end, since I did not see the need to go to the USA before the Nationals and Annabelle had a different view of the situation. In the evening, I texted her, “So we’re not going to the Russian Nationals?” The answer was “yes.” That’s all.
It turns out that everyone made their choice?
David Narizhny: It turns out to be so.
From your coaches, I heard that the main reason was your unwillingness to return to the United States.
David Narizhny: I can’t say that I don’t like America at all or that I don’t feel good there. But some things still cause discomfort. On the plus side, I liked working there with specialists, but they also came to us in Russia. The issue is not only in America. The issue is that I don’t want to skate without knowing the future; I want my opinion to be respected and heard, so that they tell me about our plans not through a partner but directly.
What is going on now? Are you looking for a partner?
David Narizhny: Now I’m working on everything I can on my own, and I’m waiting for the end of the season. Perhaps in the offseason, there will be some options. I always set myself up that everything that is done is for the best. And 24/7, I repeat to myself that everything will be fine; you just need to overcome this or that moment and move on.
Name the main qualities of your ideal partner.
David Narizhny: I have no stereotypes in this regard. But, perhaps, for me the main factors would be the ability to work, listen and correctly perceive the criticism of coaches, having own initiative, the ability to make contact, the ability to interact and help each other. Then everything will be fine.
You have decided to stay with the group of Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin. Why?
David Narizhny: These are my coaches; I worked in this group and I remained there. We have a good environment on the ice, and they always support me. There are moments when you have done everything and everyone is still busy with work. It is not easy. But when people who understand you are next to you, everything is seen a little differently.
Have you considered becoming a coach yourself?
David Narizhny: No, never. That’s not for me. I have been skating since the age of three and doing ice dance since the age of six. This is my life now. But if someday I finish with figure skating, I will try myself in other areas. I have always been interested in the movie industry, for example. Someday I will definitely try it, but not now.
Related topics: Annabelle Morozov David Narizhny
Evgenia Medvedeva: “The organization in Russia has always been one of the best. I involuntarily recall the stages of the Grand Prix in France – it was hell. Plastic medals; bus that doesn’t go according to the schedule.”