Artur Minchuk – about Moskvina’s jokes, “conflicts” of skaters and Beijing-2022
Interview with Artur Minchuk. About work with Tamara Moskvina, Mishina-Galliamov, Boikova-Kozlovskii and plans for the season.
source: rsport.ria.ru dd. 31st May 2021 bu Boris Khodorovskii
When did your cooperation with Tamara Moskvina begin?
Artur Minchuk: In 2016, the Star Ice school of Tamara Moskvina and Alexei Mishin opened at the Yubileiny sports complex. I called, asked if there were any vacancies – and got a job. Apparently, I worked well, since together with Moskvina went to a school opened with the active participation of Anton Sikharulidze.
Nikolai Velikov lured you to St. Petersburg from Kiev to skate with Ksenia Stolbova. Is it possible to compare trainings in the group of Lyudmila and Nikolai Velikovs with those conducted by Moskvina?
Artur Minchuk: Although the Velikovs trained several pairs who became world champions among seniors, they are still junior coaches. Nikolai Matveevich and Lyudmila Georgievna have some sense of talents and the ability to bring them to the champion level in juniors. Moskvina, on the other hand, is focused on work that results in victories at the Olympics.
Did World champions Anastasia Mishina and Alexandr Galliamov come from the Velikovs with the maximum baggage that they could take from these coaches?
Artur Minchuk: I’ve even read that they came as a fully formed pair with the maximum technical content. Believe me, this is not true. If they had been such a prepared pair, they would have become world champions a year ago. During the season that Anastasia and Alexandr are training in our group, they have complicated the lifts, twists, noticeably improved in presentation. They learned the jumps with Velikovs, and there was no need to complicate them.
What are three main qualities that help Moskvina to remain a coach of champions for decades?
Artur Minchuk: Reliability, stability and a sense of humor. Sometimes, with one joke, she can clear the air if a tense atmosphere that arises in training.
How often do you have to portray “good cop, bad cop”, and how do you distribute these roles with Tamara Nikolaevna?
Artur Minchuk: Probably often, but it always happens spontaneously. Sometimes I have to put pressure on the skaters, sometimes Moskvina does it. Who is considered good cop and who is considered bad cop by the skaters, sometimes we do not know it ourselves. And it’s not so important. The main thing is to have the result.
Did additional difficulties arise when two pairs competing for the leadership in the national team and the highest places at World and Europeans began to train in the same group?
Artur Minchuk: When Nastya and Sasha came, they were just a promising pair, and Sasha and Dima were National and European champions. This is a serious level. Although there is no hierarchy in our group. The situation, perhaps, has become even better: there is internal competition. When you see competitors on the ice, you inevitably improve. There are no conflicts between the guys, four outstanding personalities get along well in two locker rooms.
Does jealousy happen because competitors were given more successful programs or more attention is paid by the coach?
Artur Minchuk: All these moments were agreed upon when Mishina and Galliamov came to us. And not only with them, but also with Boikova and Kozlovskii. The guys know that if Tamara Nikolaevna is with someone on the ice, and I am with someone, then the roles will change in the future. Not a single skater is deprived of attention. Working with pairs, you need to make sure that the boy and the girl equally feel the attention and support from the coach.
Now Yasmina Kadyrova and Ivan Balchenko, who trained in Perm, have joined your group. Were there cases when a junior pair persistently asked to join Moskvina’s group, but were refused?
Artur Minchuk: Of course, it happened. A lot of young skaters want to change something when something doesn’t work out. And many are convinced that Moskvina can make Olympic champions from any pair. Only we cannot train the whole world. We are not chasing the number of pairs, we want to help achieve the maximum possible result with those who are already working with us.
Why did your group decide to go to Sochi for the first pre-season training camp?
Artur Minchuk: Are there any other options? It is better to spend the first training camp not at home. The guys are coming from vacation, the amount of work is large, and it is better to change the usual environment. The borders are closed, and even if it was possible to get to Austria or Switzerland, it is not a fact that we could work normally there under the existing restrictions. Sochi has excellent training conditions, air and sea. The training camp is organized by the Federation, and this guarantees that there will be no problems.
Have you already decided on the programs for the Olympic season for your pairs?
Artur Minchuk: There is clarity, there is no specifics yet. We understand that Olympic programs should be choreographed to the established style of the skaters. I can say for sure that we will change both the short and free programs for both Boikova and Kozlovskii and Mishina and Galliamov. It’s impossible to skate the same thing for the third season.
Choreographer Alexander Stepin, who also worked with a pair Stolbova / Minchuk, made a huge contribution to the work with the skaters of your group …
Artur Minchuk: Although they say that there are no irreplaceable people, it is impossible to replace San Sanych. His passing away is a huge loss for all figure skating. Together with Tamara Nikolaevna we are looking for a replacement, but Stepin was a unique choreographer. His programs were masterpieces.
You have never participated in the Olympic Games as a figure skater. What do you expect from your Olympic debut as a coach?
Artur Minchuk: In any sport, the Olympics are the main competitions in a career. For both the athlete and the coach. It seems that both the rivals and the judges are the same, but the responsibility is completely different. I cannot say that preparation for the season will be structured in any other way.
Before Igor Moskvin passed away, Tamara Nikolaevna said in an interview that she admits the option that you go to the Olympics in Beijing without her.
Artur Minchuk: I would not allow this. Even if she wanted to stay at home, I would persuade her to fly to Beijing.
Do you feel like Moskvina’s assistant or her full partner?
Artur Minchuk: From the first days of joint work, we did not have a distribution of roles. Naturally, Tamara Nikolaevna has tremendous experience and authority. I try to listen and watch how she works. Only I have never heard or seen that Moskvina somehow showed her assistants that she is the boss, and the rest must unquestioningly fulfill her demands.
Does your own sports experience help you in your work?
Artur Minchuk: These are two different incarnations. When you decide to coach, you just need to kill the athlete in yourself. Think only about how to bring your guys to a quality level, and not just mechanically do everything that you were told. I am very lucky to be working with Tamara Nikolaevna, who teaches this too.
After skating with Ksenia Stolbova, who has a reputation for being a difficult and unpredictable partner, probably nothing is scary anymore?
Artur Minchuk: It was quite comfortable for me to work with Ksyusha. Believe me, all the talks about her unpredictable nature do not correspond to reality. Yes, our paths diverged at some point, but we keep in touch.
In a recent conversation, Tamara Nikolaevna said that she had three vacation days this year. And you?
Artur Minchuk: And I have the same. In our group, coaches do not rest for a long time.