Daniil Gleikhengauz: “We pull Alena out, but she loves to drag herself back”
Interview with Daniil Gleikhengauz about the interim results for “Khrustalny” team.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 26th September 2021 by Dmitri Kuznetsov
Daniil, congratulations on the victory of your pair Tarasova / Morozov. How do you like your transition to pair skating, have you already adapted?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: We will see at the end of the season. But of course it’s interesting. I wanted to work with pairs. Now we know what to work on, Zhenya and Vova have a lot of advantages, but there are also some problems with jumps that we need to solve as soon as possible. Because the number of good and clean run-throughs in training has grown, now we need to do the same in competitions.
It was said that the guys needed the transfer to your coaching stuff in order to make mental changes. Right?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Well, that’s a little less work than we do.
If we talk about girls, correct me if I’m wrong, but Sasha Trusova looks the most noticeable at the beginning of the season.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: It just because you saw her three times.
Why did you decide to go to America at all?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Because we chose this competitions. Everyone has different B events, Sasha chose this competitions.
But her schedule is noticeably tougher, five programs in two weeks. I am concerned that you will exhaust her at the beginning of the season.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: No, she herself asked to go to Syzran. We initially decided that she would come to skate only the short program, because we are training the axel in competitive conditions. It is clear that it was in plans for the test skates. Because the number of clean attempts she made in training, run-through to the music was huge, and we were surprised that it did not work out in Chelyabinsk. But they all have their own problem areas. She needs to get over it. And we are trying to do it faster than the main qualifiers start.
Are you generally satisfied with the shape of your athletes? Those who are fighting to get to the Olympics.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Everyone has a completely different shape. Each person is individual, everyone has competitions at different times and different circumstances, because of which they are in shape or not.
How relevant is the concept of peak shape in figure skating? After all, it’s not a biathlon, you don’t have races every day. Surely the specifics of peaking is different.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: There is pre-season preparation, and we can start from it. Further, every day, the shape is gained relative to it. The question about peak shape – it is not the question of the beginning of the season. But we really have a completely different sport. Due to travel, competitions, pauses, rest, there can be no permanent peak of shape.
Is the situation with Anna Shcherbakova just a lack of physical shape? There are no quads. Or some kind of puberty?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Your favorite word, yeah.
Which explains everything easily.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: No, Anya just lagged behind everyone for two months in preparation, she did not skate. A month of rest, a week of training – and a month and a half of rest. Obviously, it was very difficult to gain shape. There was not much time. At the moment, she already looks better. Of course, the shape isn’t optimal, but we have already restored the quad flip in training. As for competitions – we’ll go to the B event, we’ll see there whether we’ll there with a quad or not. We will decide when ready.
Alena Kostornaia. Psychologically, she had a very difficult season, how did you get her out of it? Is this more a mental kind of work?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Basically, the work is always physical. Because you need to do something to make something work. We pull Alena out, but she loves to drag herself back. We pull her out back. This is how we work. This is not the work for psychologists, when you are simply underperforming somewhere.
Kamila Valieva. Do you have the feeling that something is going wrong with the Bolero program for the second season? Are there no doubts about the decision to keep it for the Olympics?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: There is no doubt, of course.
Are you satisfied with everything now?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Firstly, in Chelyabinsk we tested the content with the quadruple salchow. We know a certain content she would skate clean 100% and everything would work out. There was such an option. If she skated ideally, then the program would look optimal. We ourselves know how it happens when it fails somewhere. Therefore, we worked the same now, I think there will be a better performance at the next competitions.
That is, the problem is in jumps and not in some understanding of the Bolero?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Well, in your understanding, what is Bolero?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Well, dance. So here we can … (Then the fans began to attack Daniel. One elderly lady asked to take a picture because “she adores him.” So what we can do in the dance, apparently, will remain a secret for a while.)
Okay, let’s talk about Dasha Usacheva. I saw a screenshot on social networks that a fan suggested the music of Nessun Dorma from Turandot. Surely your direct on Instagram is full with messages with tips.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Yes, they write a lot. I see something, something not. As for Dasha’s program, I don’t remember exactly that I chose this music because of that.
Have you ever used a recommendation from messages?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Short program for Moris Kvitelashvili. They sent me the name of the singer, I listened and liked it.
What was the strangest thing sent? Maybe Mikhail Krug?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: They send different Russian chanson, yes. But there are a lot of options out there. People send what they like. This is fine. This does not mean that the composition is suitable for an athlete or that it can be skated on ice, but this is a common human behavior.
And Maiia Khromykh. Agree that she is the dark horse of the Olympic selection?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: So can be said about each athlete. Maiia, it seems to me, is improving more in components now. She really looks like a grown-up girl and skates both programs beautifully. Last year everyone was happy with the short program and many lacked something in the free program, this season both the judges and the audience speak very positively about both programs. They both fit her, she looks good in them. The next question is the stability of quadruple jumps. We continue to work on the triple axel. Everything will depend on whether she masters it during the season. If we put it into the program, she will have high chances. If she jumps the quadruples stably, same, she’ll be in the mix.
How many programs have you choreographed for this season? Have you counted? There should be tens.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Well, less than before. This time I did not choreograph for many of our children and juniors. A new member of our team, Georgy Pokhilyuk, worked with them. Fasting season for me. (Laughs)
You said that every program and athlete is a new journey, but when you travel a lot, your eyes get blurry. I can write myself out too.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: But you haven’t written yourself out yet, what do you think?
Well, there is a burnout sometimes. Isn’t the same for you?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: I don’t know, I don’t have it yet. Maybe if it ever happens, I myself will understand and stop doing what I am doing.
When there are many contenders for the Olympics in one group and they are all ambitious girls, is it really all friendly?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: It seems to me that they are talking more and more about this, because yes, the topic is interesting for everyone. In fact, absolutely nothing has changed. We are back in the atmosphere we had before the previous season.
Yes, now you have to work more … Didn’t you think so when Sasha and Alena returned?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Why? We work as much as we did.
You said you read haters sometimes. Remember the funniest one?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: I won’t recall a lot of things now, but when Alena skated “Angel” for the first time, I was accused of music cutting, because at one moment the shower turns on there. But it wasn’t me, it was the original track. Sometimes it’s very funny when the complaints go, in fact, not to me, but to the composer.
Last season you had another hater in a sense – Evgeni Plushenko. Do you miss last season, Instagram fuss? The ratings were definitely higher then.
Daniil Gleikhengauz: He is a coach, not a hater. But no, we only care about the result. We are working in this sport to bring medals to the country. Everything else does not interest us at all. Hype, conversations only interfere.
Are you a happy person now?
Daniil Gleikhengauz: Yes. (Smiles.)