Elena Buyanova: In sport, someone is always a breakthrough force, the rest either catch up or fall off
Interview with Elena Buyanova. About training on self-isolation, Worlds cancelation, development of figure skating and Artur Danielian.
by Irina Stepantseva for mk.ru dd. 26th April, 2020
Elena, what is happening now in the heads of high-level skaters and in the heads of their coaches? There is no ice, no training, and no one canceled the result when it will be necessary …
Elena Buyanova: I have no confusion. I don’t feel lost. We cannot influence the situation, can’t change it. If it depended on me personally, I would do something, perhaps I would be unhappy with myself: here it was necessary to do this, here I should have done that… But the virus appeared on such a scale immediately – not even an epidemic, but a pandemic. And in the current circumstances you need to look for opportunities for … how to say it more accurately … so that what the athletes are doing now is most useful for starting training on the ice.
All our physical training coaches and choreographers are involved now. Yes, when it was possible, all the athletes did running in the parks. Now – you can’t do that, so they train at home. And that is why, as I laugh, all the devices that could be transported home were taken out of the gyms. Work is underway, but, of course, it’s not enough for professional sports. But how will it be? Those who are more disciplined will keep themselves in shape better. Rather, this: at bring themselves closer to it.
In one of the comments, the doctor of the figure skating team drew a difficult situation for top athletes: how much time is spent without a basic, preparatory, special, competitive load, the same amount will be needed to reach the same working level. Is there no danger that someone will overdo it in conditions of self-isolation because of the fear of losing shape at all? For example will bulk up to much? And a Danielian-beefcake, will come to the ice?
Elena Buyanova: Well, we can drive ourselves into any standstill with whatever fears! Do you need this? Everything will be clear when we meet with the athletes in person. There is always such a starting point in figure skating: we saw the state, then we go ahead and lead the skater from what he is at a particular moment. And if someone bulk up something, this also can be fixed with proper training.
Another thing is that it takes time. But no one knows what time will be given to us to prepare for competitions, to put new programs. We do not know what will happen to the season. How will it take place? When? What competitions will remain or be added? Everything is confused. For example, the junior Grand Prix series usually begin in August. I think this is hardly possible this summer. Nobody will really prepare for them. So we will wait for the ISU decision to understand what to do.
Just April 28, ISU, despite the previously published calendar, will discuss the start dates of the Junior Grand Prix. For example, the position of Vice President Alexander Lakernik is as follows: if in June skaters can skate everywhere and flights between countries are allowed, then the option of starting the series at the usual time in August will be possible.
Elena Buyanova: When there is an understanding what’s next, it’s easier to look to the future. Therefore, we will solve the task when it is set. And from the first day, after seeing the athletes “live”, we will build a training plan: how, whom and from where to pull out.
Was you for or against canceling the World Championships in Montreal?
Elena Buyanova: I was for it from the beginning. If the Championships had been postponed within a month, as the Japanese World Championships had been moved to Moscow at one time, this is one thing. Although it was insanely difficult organizationally. Many did not believe that we could handle it. And the skaters were at the peak of their shape for several weeks then, it could be held. And when the postponement were supposed for such an indefinite period: the beginning of autumn, the end of autumn instead of March … Of course, it was necessary to cancel. No one knows how the world will recover from this events. What can I say? Only one thing: when the terrible time is over, we will live in the old way.
What do you think, most skaters will prepare new programs or keep last year’s?
Elena Buyanova: I think those who were dissatisfied with something will change. By the way, sitting at home, you can listen to music in search of a good one! The situation gave the skaters a break when you can come up with something unexpected. In this sense, life gave everyone a huge break from weekdays. And you need to try to get the best out of it.
It is a pity that the one who did not jump, in the absence of ice, won’t start to jump …
Elena Buyanova: I stopped believing in miracles long ago. It won’t be easy for everyone.
Do you want to say that even the one who jumped consistently will stop doing it after the break?
Elena Buyanova: After a vacation, someone always quickly gets in shape, someone hard. Feet weaned, “rubbers” occur, long time of getting used to the skates. And this is just two weeks… But we can’t predict anything: everything happens for the first time and for everyone. What? How? I see and understand what the guys are doing at home now. But this does not mean that they will go on the ice and be ready for anything. Our homework is the minimum maintenance of shape. I’m talking about minimal, because the details slip away.
Artur Danielian burst into the season as a whirlwind, left the European Championships as a prize-winner and had to go to the senior Worlds…
Elena Buyanova: Of course, we were not preparing so calmly for Montreal, we felt nervousness and increased responsibility. Everyone understands what to prepare for. And all his thoughts were directed in this direction only. He was in good shape, although it pointless to talk about someone’s shape now. Of course, when when they first announced the postponement of the Worlds in Montreal, Artur was discouraged. Nothing depends on you anymore – this is where such an incomprehensible state comes.
Artur could have gone to the Junior Worlds which was held before quarantine. Why did you decide that he need to perform in seniors? For example Italian Grassl was at the junior Worlds and was going to Montreal.
Elena Buyanova: We decided with the federation that two championships are still hard. In the Italian team there are only two athletes, they can vary somehow. We have tactical things also. After such an emotional European Championships we decided to choose senior championships. But in the end turned out none. But it’s ok, lessons can be learned from everything, only time is needed here. Now everything depends, as I said, on the athlete’s self-discipline: in what shape he will come on the ice for the first time.
The ISU Congress was postponed for a year, and there, figuratively speaking, they had to decide what to do next with figure skating. Age of participants, complexity … Do you think something needs to be done?
Elena Buyanova: I think the main thing now is to determine the next season, this is the most important thing, and everything else – later. As a coach, I am for development, complication. Why, having such girls, to change the rules? I admire the girls’ quadruple jumps, and I am proud that it was our skaters who began to make them. But if you look through the eyes of ISU, I understand the experts. They clutch their heads. For them, Europe has stopped. No development is taking place in Europe. I talk a lot with our coaches who work there. And they, of course, say: we lose our jobs because athletes do not want to skate, realizing the senselessness of rivalry. They come for fun, pleasure, joy, but how to get it, knowing that you will lose? ..
But it’s not about sports anymore. And in general, it’s their problems so to speak.
Elena Buyanova: Maybe, but, thinking about the development of sports, ISU wants some harmony. To encourage people, to attract them. So that no one’s achievements would be to the detriment. But it doesn’t work like that. And in sport, someone is always a breakthrough force, and the rest either catch up or fall off.
Is Artur your main subject for attention and creativity today?
Elena Buyanova: There are also juniors – we will see where to develop them. And Artur, too: he grows, now it’s such an age when muscles sometimes will not catch up with growth. Artur is changing. When he just came, he was a very young man,shy. And now it’s easier – he’s revealing, opened his eyes to the world of figure skating. He went through difficulties, become stronger a little – both in soul and strength. He realized that he could overcome some things.
After all, the past season was difficult, growth has been active, the back is the weakest point. And when the pain is always with you … He had thoughts to finish, but little by little we coped with it. But there are many such athletes who, as a result, give up. It hurts, it’s hard to train, they cannot overcome this threshold … After all, many can endure, but only a few can overcome. This is the hardest part. There was a lot of talking with Artur. After all, he worked with a rehabilitologist for a long time. It was a dreary year, because all the time you had to go to classes that you usually don’t have. After all, what is rehabilitation? Step by step, which are not really visible. And it’s so boring and long, but you still don’t understand how everything will be then – good or bad?
Do you think that many children in figure skating schools will be lost for sports now?
Elena Buyanova: I do not know how the things are going in other sports, but no one will be lost here. Have you seen the little skaters and their parents? These are literally fans. The director of our school told me: as soon as the information went that the skating rinks would be closed, parents began to ask: “Tell me in advance so we can rent the ice at the another rink.” And, although it wasn’t funny at all, it was ridiculous for us: the desire to work is so strong that it does not have boundaries. So our children will not be lost. No one.
How will the break itself affect? The little ones usually rested for three weeks. Well, they will have more rest. And then, I know for sure that no one is messing around. They are all have online training, all in touch with coaches.
Tatiana Tarasova has recently said that China, Japan, Korea – all train on the ice at closed sport centers. And our elite athletes also need to do this.
Elena Buyanova: Of course, all the coaches are worried: the main rivals can go ahead, and we also have great sport centers. They say that the Chinese paid and went to such a centre in Japan. Yes, it’s a shame, and you’re afraid to lose time. Of course we would like to skate. But the number of infected people is growing every day. Yes, we need to start thinking how to do it as quickly as possible – our return to the ice. And not only on the ice. All of our top athletes will need help. But now, we should be patient.
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