Brian Orser: Medvedeva has something to say, she skates with a certain message
Brian Orser summed up the preliminary results of cooperation with Evgenia Medvedeva, told why ultra-c elements may be “easy” for her in the future and his attitude to the quad jumps in the ladies short program.
by Vladislav Zhukov for tass.ru dd. November 17th, 2019
Brian, when we spoke with you in China, you said that at the Grand Prix in Moscow you hope to see the result of Medvedeva’s hard work in trainings. And here it is – the result. Are you satisfied with what you saw?
– Of course! This helps me, as her coach and teacher, to make her believe that work will be rewarded. I do not mean that Evgenia did not try before – she was always a hard worker, otherwise you don’t become a world champion and Olympic medalist. But now, as an adult, she needs to work harder. And this is exactly how her approach to training should look like – every day you need to wake up in the morning and go practice.
Just like people go to work. Or, for example, like at a university. When you study, you just get up in the morning and go to the library. It’s the same for the athletes – we wake up and go to the gym. Training is work, and you need to perceive it that way, as an adult.
Before the start of the Grand Prix in Moscow, you noted that Evgenia is in the best shape in her life. Some were skeptical of your words, but, as we say, the result is on the scoreboard. Tell me, taking into account all factors, can the result of this competitions be considered a kind of revival for Medvedeva?
– Yes, I think so. I think this is the first time in her “adult” life when we all saw her skating this way. She showed that she is a personality, young but at the same time an adult girl. And she has something to say, she skates with a certain message.
I think, we saw it for the first time in her. We had a good skate at the World Championships last season. But here, I think, she performed better both in short and in free programs. And this is visible in everything – in presentation, interpretation, elements. And it’s more to come.
When you just started working with Evgenia, you said that it would take about a year and a half to give her a new technique. And also to adapt to the new training system …
– By the way, just a year and a half has passed, right?
Exactly. Do you think the process of adaptation is complete?
– Yes. It seems to me that at these competitions we came to this. That was our path – we began last May, and now it’s been a year and six months.
And are you happy with how this period went?
– Of course! For me it is an incredible experience. In addition, in previous years, I was able to achieve high results with single skaters, and I have not had such a challenge ever since I started working with Yuna Kim. She was 15 years old then. Together we went through the period when she turned into a beautiful young lady. I think for her this process was not so complicated because of her physique …
I’m really very proud of what we did [together with Medvedeva], as well as what we still have to do. And she, I think, is also proud. This is a big breakthrough for her.
Have you discussed with the leadership of the Russian Figure Skating Federation your work with Medvedeva?
– Yes, they support me from the very moment we started our cooperation. This is generally a unique situation – I think this [change of coach] was the only option for Evgenia. I think everyone understands what it means to the federation and other skaters – she is an incredible fighter. And the audience loves her.
They support what she does, as long as she works hard. And, of course, we get advice from the federation, technical experts and judges. This happens quite regularly.
Evgenia always speaks warmly about you and Tracy Wilson. You know, like a family. Tell me, do you communicate with her outside the ice?
– No, our communication is based on a discussion of work, schedules, things like that. As for the rest, her mother lives with Evgenia in Toronto. She has her own life, and I trust her in everything related to focus on figure skating.
What do you think about her being vegan? Does it help in work or vice versa?
– I think it’s a pretty healthy diet. We didn’t talk about that much, but I can judge by how she looks on the ice. And she looks healthy. She has a balanced diet, Evgenia works with a nutritionist in Toronto.
There should be a balance in everything. But she is energetic, she is in excellent physical shape. If there were any problems, I would intervene. You know, if suddenly the weight was less than necessary, or vice versa, it would bother me.
Now let’s talk a little bit about urgent matter. What do you think about the proposal of the FFKKR to allow quadruple jumps in the ladies’ short program?
– I try not to get into it. Because in any case, I can not influence these decisions in any way. We just have to act within the framework of existing rules, that’s all.
But you know, it sounds pretty simple – change the rules and allow quadruples in the short program. But skaters is under enormous pressure in the short program. So many times we saw mistakes in short programs that were caused by this pressure.
You have no groundwork, nothing to rely on at all. And such a limited number of elements … In a free program you can make small mistakes on jumps, because there is an opportunity to correct them at the expense of other elements. But in a short it is necessary to “land” everything. I remember what was going on in my head when I skated myself. Quadruple in a short program is very difficult.
What about Evgenia? She used to say that she was working on a quadruple salchow. Do you practice quadruple jumping with her now?
– Yes, we train a quad. We continue to work in this direction, we do everything necessary outside the ice in order to prepare her body for this. And you know, I think that as soon as she begins to feel this element, it will be quite simple for her. Someday we will come to this.
Now the main thing is to continue to work and try-try-try. And carry out the necessary training outside the ice, which will make her strong enough to cope with a quadruple.
Will we see a quadruple from Evgenia in competitions this season?
– Everything is possible. Since Zhenya will probably not make it to the Grand Prix Final, we will have time to concentrate on training.
We will not make plans for the Grand Prix Final, let’s better talk about the Russian Nationals in Krasnoyarsk …
– Oh yes, I’m just trying to figure out how to get there. This is not so easy! (laughs).
Will you fly with Evgenia to Russia for the national championship? There will not be such a big break after the Japanese Nationals …
– Oh sure. I will have about a week after the Japanese Nationals, so I will fly to Russia.
What goals will you set for yourself and Evgenia for the Russian Nationals?
– We will just continue what we are doing. I would be glad to see the same skating from Zhenya in Krasnoyarsk as here – in short and free programs. It would be wonderful, and most importantly, it is in our power.
Of course, it would be nice if she managed to qualify for the national team right there, and we would not have to try to qualify through any other competitions, as it was last season. Although it was wonderful that she got a second chance and took advantage of it. But I do not think that we will be aiming at any particular place.