Ekaterina Bobrova: “In my opinion there is no longer a situation where there are Papadakis-Cizeron and everyone else”
Ekaterina Bobrova about recent news in figure skating, Sinitsina-Katsalapov, Stepanova-Bukin, Chock-Bates, Papadakis-Cizeron, Davis-Smolkin and her expectations from the Olympic season.
source: sport24.ru dd.15th October 2021
Let’s start with our pair Sinitsina / Katsalapov – they have an injury again. Are you worried about their Olympic prospects?
Ekaterina Bobrova: You know, at the moment, yes. I just saw how many top-level athletes came to Finland. No one is afraid to take part in another competitions, to show programs, skate them, make mistakes somewhere. This is just a “challenge”, usually not many skaters of this level go there.
Of course, first of all I wish Nikita health. And Vika too/ I wish them to heal everything so that it no longer bothers them throughout the season. I heard that after the test skates, Sasha Zhulin started to think out something with a free program. It seems to me that you need to decide on the final version and just skate it, and if you do some changes, then only minimal ones. For many years I skated under the guidance of Sasha Zhulin. I am sure they know what they are doing, and in the end they will approach the main competition in optimal shape. The question is whether this amount of competition will be enough for them so the judges and specialists see them, accept and get in love with them. And perceived as the main contenders for the first place at the Olympics. It’s ice dance after all. So far, unfortunately, there are concerns about this.
Ekaterina Bobrova: Okay, let’s forget about the free program. I watched their rhythm dance in Yoshkar-Ola. It was different at the test skates. I began to wonder where the idea of the rhythm dance theme was, but I perfectly understood that these were just test skates. So I relaxed and decided that the guys would work on it. And I already liked everything in Yoshkar-Ola – every accent, every interaction, how amazing Nikita is and what a beauty Vika is. So let’s wait for the free dance, God bless them health.
But after watching Finlandia Trophy, I realized that it would not be so easy for our pair. My opinion is that there is no longer a situation where there are Frenchmen and everyone else. True, it is also not felt that there is Vika – Nikita and everyone else. Chock and Bates will be our rivals this season too. Both their dances are good. In the rhythm dance, I didn’t really like the dress, but this is a matter of my taste. They will still look for their images, but I liked everything about the programs.
In rhythm dance, Papadakis and Cizeron are my favorites so far. Very cool style, it suits them very much. In the free program – Chock and Bates, but the French are also incomparable. This is something close with art, you watch mesmerized. Maybe I expected a little more from them for the Olympics. In principle, you can compete with them. They took a very difficult theme – the original tango, while it looks a bit rough. But in comparison with the Masters de Patinage event, I liked their performance in Finland much more.
And yet, the Americans took my heart, I do not have enough epithets to fully describe my emotions after watching. When their program ended, it took me two minutes to comprehend what I saw. They took a non-trivial theme – not love, not Romeo and Juliet, not tango, not “Carmen” – this standard Olympic set. They took a risk and did it very cool.
Missing the World Championships, how much a disadvantage was it for Papadakis and Cizeron? In absentia, now they are getting less points then Sinitsina and Katsalapov in Stockholm.
Ekaterina Bobrova: What I would definitely like to warn against is not to compare in the scores in Yoshkar-Ola and Finlandia Trophy. I will also explain about the World Championships. Now is the beginning of the season. At the World Championships, they already gave everything they could and to whom they could. Vika and Nikita skated a free dance at their peak. Judges are people too. They see great skating, Sinitsina and Katsalapov are still gonna win. Why not add another ten points? This is purely human we like it – let’s add more. It often works like that.
At the beginning of the season, the judges can’t give the world records. At the same time, the guys have not skated super yet, they can do better and cleaner.
Two years ago, Gabriella and Guillaume began to break records in the fall.
Ekaterina Bobrova: Then there was a situation when there were French and everyone else. Now they need to get in shape. After skipping a season, it is very difficult to enter the competitions. I know from myself that you need to be careful, do it step by step. I think they will show themselves. Why rip your shirt off when everything is fine now?
Can we say that the situation in ice dance has changed a lot? In the spring, the Russians were the favorites for the Olympic gold. Is victory drifting away now?
Ekaterina Bobrova: We said that because there were no French. Vika and Nikita became world champions, and it is worth a lot to enter the Olympic season in this status. Now is the new season, Papadakis and Cizeron will cling to the gold medal so hard so it won’t be easy for anyone. And we need to do the same.
We haven’t seen or heard much about our second pair Stepanova / Bukin. Is it worth looking at young pairs in such a situation? Who do you think deserves an Olympic spot?
Ekaterina Bobrova: I wish Sasha and Vanya all the best, I always root for them and worry. I often text to Sasha, we communicate well. But in their case, there is really a certain omission – we do not see them, we somehow forgot them, they have injuries, illnesses, and everyone is already fighting for Olympic gold. Let’s see how they start.
We have a small tendency – in the Olympic season, the federation works for the pair which has it’s greatest hopes. At the moment, these are the reigning World and European champions Vika and Nikita, and you can’t get away from this. But no one knows which shape Sasha and Vanya will show. We haven’t even seen their programs. Maybe they’re quiet now, and then when they appear we’ll be very surprised!
In general, I want to believe that Vika and Nikita will take theirs in the season, perhaps end their careers, but Vanya and Sasha will wait another four years. I would like them to take their world and European championships, they are exceptionally worthy of this, they can do it one hundred percent.
And Olympic gold?
Ekaterina Bobrova: Of course, why not? A lot can happen in four years. But so far it turns out like this.
Now we have two pairs – the clear favorites of the Russian Nationals, but I don’t see the third pair which may come closer. But the national team has three spots. So in December I will take popcorn and chips and will watch the fight for third place with great interest, because it will be very hot. For a long time the favorites were John and Tiffany (Jonathan Guerreiro and Tiffany Zagorski – ed). But it will be very difficult for them to keep their place at the Russian Nationals. We haven’t seen their free dance yet. The short program has interesting idea, but other pairs have either more harmonious or more understandable style … Tiffany and John take with a brilliant skate, wake them up at three in the morning and tell them to do a side by side step sequence, they will perform it on the fourth level. But I don’t understand yet what is wrong.
I really liked Diana and Gleb (Davis / Smolkin). Surprisingly – Annabelle and Andrei (Morozov / Bagin).
Why is it surprising?
Ekaterina Bobrova: I worked with Andrei a lot in the same group. And let’s just say, I know how he didn’t like to train. We saw this in the previous two seasons. When he fell at every competition! It happened, let’s be honest. And now they are a beautiful pair with high-quality programs. I thought – oh, interesting!
Last season I was very impressed by Liza and Egor (Khudaiberdieva / Bazin). But at the test skates, I really did not like the costumes for the short dance, they distracted me. I also liked thir previous free dance more. Well, and, of course, do not forget about Nastya and Kirill (Skoptsova / Aleshin). So I will watch five pairs in the fight for the third place.
Would you like the Tutberidze team and family to be represented in four disciplines? In the other three, she will probably have representatives, Diana is already claiming for the Olympics.
Ekaterina Bobrova: It would be cool! A historic moment will happen. But this spot still needs to be won. It won’t be easy even for the favorites.
Can Tutberidze’s name play a role in the selection?
Ekaterina Bobrova: I’ll tell you this – according to the rules of the federation, the first spot is 100% given to the champions, the other two are determined at the European Championships and… through the coaching council. That is, you ask a question, and judging by the rules, anything can happen. But nevertheless, I do not think that everything will be decided by a pure vote in the council. Still, they will choose the one who skates better, who is better prepared.
We already had precedents that a pair went to the European Championships, did not perform well, and they were replaced. Recently, the federation has been making informed decisions about where and whom to send. I really hope that this time they will do everything right.
Let me quote our judge Vedenin: “Papadakis and Cizeron skate great, but it’s cold. The partner is gay, and you can’t hide it.” Does such assessment has a right to exist?
Ekaterina Bobrova: My opinion is that this factor should not influence the judges’ scores in any way. I don’t understand at all, why we talk about it? Now I am carefully choosing my words to be understanded correct. But excuse me, what about partners who hate each other, and then show passion on the ice, love, kiss gently touching their hands? This happens very often – and then getting off the ice they go in different directions. Or there are pairs of brother and sister. Maybe we’ll talk about it?
Let’s judge what we see on the ice, not orientation and whether skaters are couple in life. Dima (Soloviev) and I also has never been in love with each other, we are friends. Where does the idea come from that we need a lower the second mark because of that? Let’s watch how people act and show emotions during the competition. And so far I like what I have seen more and more.
Related topics: Alexandra Stepanova Ivan Bukin, Annabelle Morozov Andrei Bagin, Diana Davis Gleb Smolkin, Ekaterina Bobrova Dmitri Soloviev, Gabriella Papadakis Guillaume Cizeron, Madison Chock Evan Bates, Tiffany Zahorski Jonathan Guerreiro, Victoria Sinitsina Nikita Katsalapov