Coach Olga Grigorieva about Dmitri Aliev “There is something poetic in this boy.”

Posted on 2020-02-20 • No comments yet


Coach Olga Grigorieva about Dmitri Aliev and quadruple jumps.

by Marina Tchernysheva-Melnik for dd. 19th February 2020

There is a coach in St. Petersburg – Olga Grigorieva. Figure skating fans do not see her in competitions. Olga holds training camps in different countries, gives young and already established skaters knowledge on her unique methods, helps to solve health problems (she is a surgeon by profession). And if she sees the future champion on ice, she helps the skater to meet a worthy coach. This is the role Olga played in the life of Dmitri Aliev.

photo Valeri Sharafulin / TASS

I know that you played an important role in the sporting fate of the new European champion Dmitri Aliev, when you helped him to move from Ukhta to St. Petersburg. Tell us more.

– It all started with a training camp that I held for the Komi Republic national figure skating team. In the summer of 2012, 19 people came to St. Petersburg, Dima was in the senior group. We spent 20 days on a small rink in a shopping mall.

13-year-old Dima already stood out from the group. Firstly, with his cat coordination, fast rotation and soft landings. Secondly, he listened well and took all the coach’s advice. Tell him and he immediately does what you said. Dima was an interesting child. During lunch and at the end of the day we talked a lot, I understood that Dima should be helped to grow, because in Ukhta there are no conditions for this. At the end of the training camp, children returned home, and I advised the leader of the Ukhta team to send a talented boy for a try out. He told me that they had already agreed to show him to Mishin. I was sure that the experienced Alexei Nikolaevich would immediately see Aliev’s potential and take him into the group.

But this did not happen …

– In August 2012, Dima came to the try-out with his father. I myself was not present there, because at that time I had my training camps in Italy. When I returned, I called the head of the Ukhta team, and they answer me that Dima is at home. I was shocked, called Dima. His dad said that Dima spent three days at the Mishin’s rink, but no one paid any attention to him. Alievs realized that they were not interested, and left.

I decided to find a strong group for him at all costs. I called Kirill Davydenko, then he worked as a second coach with Evgeni Rukavitsin. We agreed about a try-out, and I convinced Dima’s dad to try again. Dima and his dad flew in right after the call, I met them at the airport and took them to the Figure Skating Academy. We spent the whole day there – on ice, in the gym, and at the choreography class with Olga Glinka. Evgeni liked the boy. Soon, Dima moved to St. Petersburg with his grandmother, they settled next to the ice rink.

You believed in Dima when almost no one knew him. Has he changed after big victories?

– He remembers the good. In the fall of 2014, when Dima first successes came (the bronze of the junior Grand Prix) I came to visit the rink. Dima saw me and ran to hug. And said: “Do you want me to kneel before you, right here on the ice?” Because you inspired me and brought me here!” There is something poetic in this boy. He is very gallant.

They say you have your own technique for learning multi-rotational jumps. What does it consist of?

– Thanks to medical education and experience, I have a special look at the athlete’s body, the work of his muscles and the structure of the pelvis. To jump correctly, a person must create the right trajectory, place shoulders correctly, pelvis and knees, distribute the tension in the arms and legs, take off at the right time. A lot of nuances, and everything must be done in a split second. I see the skater and immediately assess his capabilities and the reasons of problems with jumps, choose exercises which can fix this problems quickly. I like the analytical approach to sports. I even watch competitions to figure out how a person started an element where he made a mistake … I can see all this right away, without repeated slow motion.

Let’s then analyze the causes of some recent element breakdowns. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and an attempt of quad toe loop at the Russian Nationals?

– Liza hurried, was nervous, because of this she shortened her pattern. Each jump has a rhythm and its own geometry. Accelerate the rhythm at the initial stage and the whole further scenario will be lost. It was only Plushenko who was brilliant and could roll over his head and still land the jump. In competitive conditions, skaters often think too much, hurry to make the most difficult element. This is exactly what happened with Liza. But I’m sure she will master her quad and perform it brilliantly. The girl has fantastic jumping talent.

Why did Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov make a mistake in a short program at the European Championships? Zhenya almost fell from a great height.

– Here, it’s rather not a technical mistake, but partner’s feature – he has jitters at competitions, there is no 100% resistance. That is, in training everything is more or less well, but at a crucial moment – a failure. This has already happened to him. I remember that at one of the Russian Nationals, at the beginning of their career Volodya fell from a side by side jump, it caused the same mistake, then he made two “not clean” throws, which Zhenya managed to land. And at the end, being very nervous Vova dropped his partner from a lift. This is a psychological feature of a person that a specialist should work on. Technically Tarasova-Morozov is a very talented pair.

Our young stars Boikova and Kozlovsky has the opposite situation. In a recent interview, Natalia Bestemianova noted that skaters know how to show their maximum at competitions.

– I think this is the result of the strategic work of Tamara Moskvina. She knows what “minus-start” and “plus-start” are. Even if something doesn’t work out in trainings, you go out on competitions in euphoria, and you succeed. So, our young champions are able to focus at the most important moment.

What does the jump learning algorithm consist of?

– This is progressive work: first the child masters single jumps, then doubles and more. When you do a single jump consistently, the question arises – how to increase rotations? You can jump higher, or make a sharper leg swing, increase the speed of rotation, band more tightly. The child must choose an option that is closer and more convenient for him. And if he does all of the above, you get a phenomenally beautiful ultra-c jump.

How long does it take to master a jump?

– It all depends on the level of physical shape of the child. In my practice, it happens that in 5-8 lessons we learn a new jump, sometimes it takes a month. Complexity is also matters. You can learn double axel and triple salchow, toe loop, loop with any average skater. And a triple flip a child without good jumping capabilities may never jump.

What is needed to master a quad?

– Extra physical abilities from nature: phenomenally high jump and high reactivity. A child should be crazy in order not to be afraid to fall, with no instinct of self-preservation at all. A coach should control the entire process of learning the jump and minimize the risk of injury, and parents, even if they watch the training, should respect the decision of their child to make sacrifices.


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