Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov: “We took a step back, but two steps forward.”
Interview with Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. Guys told about the beginning of this season, how did they managed to prepare for the Nationals in three weeks, work on a new free program and motivation after winning the national championships.
source: by Olga Ermolina for fsrussia.ru dd. 8th January 2021
Congratulations on the victory, which is very important to you. During the season, the initial plan had to be revised several times. But if you go back, when and where did you start preparing?
Vladimir: Preparations began in June after a fairly large quarantine. We spent three months at home in Moscow.
Evgenia: When the World Championships was canceled last season, we returned from America. Then the borders were closed, and we could not fly back. So the whole quarantine we was here.
Vladimir: We were at home, kept in shape, but off the ice it was difficult to call this training. Therefore, when members of the national team were allowed to go to Novogorsk, we skated there for a whole month, and then we were able to fly to America as soon as flights were opened. This was in July. We made a lay out of the new free program with Marina Olegovna (Zueva – ed.), then we changed it almost completely with Maxim Trankov, but kept the music.
Did Maxim fly to you in the USA?
Vladimir: Yes, in July we trained in America with Marina. Then in August Maxim came. We returned home in September to perform at the first stage of the Russian Cup. We returned with programs, but still in a rough form. We spent a training week in Moscow. We were supposed to perform, but I got a fever and fell ill with covid. And everything went wrong.
You also missed the test skates. Why?
Evgenia: We were supposed to participate in the first stage of the Russian Cup, and it was almost right after the test skates. Therefore, we skipped the test skates.
Vladimir: The first stage was a week after the test skates, and we got three performances: the test skates, the first and second stages – everything goes in a row. It would have been tough after such a long break, so we were allowed not to take part in the test skates, but to participate in the other two competitions. But this plan failed. We missed two and a half weeks because of my illness. We prepared for the stage of the Russian Cup in Kazan. There we opened this season and showed the programs for the first time. The shape still was a bit rough, but pretty good. Not bad for a first start. Then we should have performed at the fifth stage, but Zhenya fell ill.
Evgenia: After Kazan, I fell ill. And we had to miss another stage of the Russian Cup. But Maxim (Trankov – ed.) talked with Alexander Ilyich Kogan (general director of the FFKKR – ed.), And we were told: “Don’t worry, get ready for the Russian Nationals.” It turns out that in three and a half weeks we were preparing urgently for the Russian Nationals.
Zhenya, at a press conference in Chelyabinsk, you told how difficult the preparation for this Nationals was for you. How did you manage to mobilize yourself?
Evgenia: Indeed, the preparation for this Nationals was not easy. The competitions in Kazan ended, we returned to Moscow. We trained until the end of the week. And on Monday, after training, I felt a little bad. I measured the temperature at home – 38.3. I was worried, because I have never had such a temperature in my life. I immediately called the guys and said that there were no other symptoms, except that I was coughing in Kazan. Maxim and I agreed that we would call each other on Tuesday and, according to my well-being, decide what to do next. And then that same day in the evening the temperature subsided and did not rise again, but on Tuesday I felt pain in my lungs. It wasn’t hard to breath, but my chest ached. I did a CT scan and was diagnosed with pneumonia. I spent two weeks at home.
Then, when I was back on the ice, at the first trainings we consulted with Philip Shvetsky (doctor of the Russian national team – ed.), What can be done, what kind of load to give. After the course of treatment, I had a blood test. They said: there are no complications, and I calmed down … It was difficult to enter the training process. The first week we did 1-2 elements, and it was fine. And on the second one, when the large-scale performances began, I felt that I was getting tired quickly, I had no strength. Even after a couple of elements it was tough. But, perhaps, the current circumstances mobilized us.
I am glad that we have recovered, because before that, Volodya had been ill with coronavirus. I am glad that we came to the Nationals, because this season there are no many competitions. You constantly train, train, so you want to be on the ice and show your programs.
Considering all the circumstances, did you expect to perform like this in Chelyabinsk?
Evgenia: As soon as the doctors allowed me to train after an illness, our work was very fruitful. Seryozha Voronov joined us. And we did a lot of run-throughs. We were well prepared for the Nationals. We just needed to show what we had prepared. We really wanted to.
How long have you been working with Sergei Voronov? He’s a jumping specialist on your team, right?
Vladimir: He appeared in the team before the stage in Kazan, in 2-3 weeks. We tried it, we liked it. By the Russian Nationals, he did his part of work pretty well. We had a lot of mistakes on jumping elements, namely technical ones, but now Sergei has fixed this. We did a large number of jumps, spins, step sequences, everything, so in this regard he helps us a lot, a lot, and we are very glad that we have him in our team.
Whose initiative was it to invite Sergei Voronov?
Vladimnir: It’s just because Sergei and Maxim’s birthdays are close. They congratulated each other, talked. Max asked Sergei what he was doing, because there was a pandemic, there was no shows. Sergei replied that if you need help, he will be happy to help. We tried some jumping things with Sergei, we liked it, so he joined our team.
The pandemic has messed up many plans. In recent months, you have been spending a lot of time in Moscow, training with Maxim Trankov, Marina Zueva remains your head coach. What can you say about training?
Vladimir: Last year we moved to Marina, who became our head coach. She needed to work with us for some time one-on-one to understand who we are and what we are. Maxim came to us whenever possible, he was at the training camp. We did not have such close work with him, but still he kept in touch and, if possible, controlled us. But at that time, there was enough of everything: the move, and a new place, a new training system … We had to adjust, and this affected our skating in general.
Do you still have Marina Olegovna’s training system?
Vladimir: Yes, we are training according to the “American system”. The first workout in the morning, and I haven’t skated so early in my entire career, but now it’s usual for me. At 7 o’clock I wake up, have breakfast and go to practice. At 9.30 am the beginning and then the second ice with a short break. In the afternoon there is time to recover and do some businesses. I like. Got used. It has already become a habit – an early wake up, and to everything quickly in two workouts in a row. Moreover, recently, very often competitions are held in the first half of the day. Take the European Championships, Worlds, and other competitions, especially in Japan.
You have a new free program. Tell us how you worked on it? Why did you choose this music?
Vladimir: We liked Adagio Albinoni, but for a long time we were choosing which option to take, with lyrics or not, who to prefer from the singers.
Evgenia: We wanted something new, as this music was used a lot in skating. Marina asked to look if there is a performance with lyrics. And I remembered that not so long ago I watched, and Dimash sang Adagio. I offered and Marina liked it, that’s how we decided to make a program.
Vladimir: We have three options there. We listened to all three performers – the Il Divo, Lara Fabian and Dimash.
What is your program about?
Evgenia: We get into the starting position and the first movement – Vova exhales and inhales his perception of love into me …
Vladimir: This is a story about a girl, more precisely, the image of a girl who is nearby, but unreal, intangible. It is like a shadow that you are reaching for, that you are trying to meet, to see – she is always there, like a guiding star.
Evgenia: Marina came up with this libretto.
You said that you did this program, but then remade it with Maxim.
Vladimir: At first we just did a lay out of the program – the order of elements, transitions between elements. And when there is a complete layout, then we look where the gaps, where it is empty, where it is simple, where it is convenient, where it is inconvenient. We clean up all this later, and in the course of the season we still make some adjustments to the program. We worked on this in the summer.
To what extent have you been involved in this process?
Vladimir: Initially, when we just started to work on the program, there was a different order of elements. And when the strong part of the vocals starts in the middle, we had a spiral, which caused dissonance: the music went up, and we – down. We had to redo it. Now, when the music “rises”, we make lifts, which enhances the impression, it looks logical. In this program, we proceeded more from the music, and not from the desire to arrange the elements in the order we want.
How much did quarantine affect your perception of life? What has changed in after this forced break?
Evgenia: I realized that these three months that we spent at home, I really miss training, that I really want to come to training every day. Before that, when for 10 years in a row, you know what and where, it seems like a routine. And then suddenly – everything breaks off and you begin to appreciate what you had even more.
I had a great desire to return. And when we went on the ice, everything was not so bad. I thought that I would my legs would start to go in different directions … But everything somehow went, went … Gradually we restored element by element. We felt a new breath or something …
Over the past two seasons, you have had ridiculous mistakes at the competitions, other pairs bypassed you and there were people who wrote you off, saying that a new generation had already appeared. But now you have returned refreshed. What helped?
Vladimir: Everyone always has enough “well-wishers” – those who will help you with a “kind” word. It’s a sport. And there is no such thing that you skate and have to be in the top all the time, you need to confirm everything with your skating. In the past years, before the “reset”, we have reached our maximum. Yes, there were elements, technically we skated programs, but there were no, let’s say, interesting programs, choreography, and it was necessary. Because we could have continued to do the elements, but it would be a ceiling, and this ceiling was not enough for the next step. Because foreign pairs skate differently. Both people and judges need skating, programs, artistic images – what we worked on last year, so that there is story, mature skating, with meaning. It takes a really long time and there is no formal mark for it – this is not an element that you did and received points. But you still have to create the impression of the program, and then there will be a completely different attitude and a different level.
In other words, have you reached a new level by going to Marina Zueva?
Vladimir: We took a step back, but two steps forward.
And this added confidence: quantity turned into quality.
Evgenia: We hope so, although we are one of the most experienced at this championship. I looked at the lists of participants, where almost everyone’s date of birth begins in 2000. Only one athlete was born in 1999 and Volodya and I in 1994 and 1992 …
Vladimir: Yes, not sixteen …
But it is important how you feel. How does this success motivate you further?
Evgenia: It gives confidence that we are on the right way, that at some point we made the right choice, that it works. This gives strength to go to practices every day and work even harder. And when you receive an award for that, it is even more motivating.
Vladimir: We are waiting for the official announcement of the Russian competitions, which will become an alternative to the European Championships, we will participate there.
Evgenia: I really want to perform. Half a season has passed, and we had only two competitions and we lack the emotions that you get in competitions.
Vladimir: Competitions – it’s good. But we had Kazan, where we went, and Zhenya fell ill. I don’t want to get sick after each competition. Hopefully this time everything works out.
Tatiana Tarasova: “If we have the opportunity to host the World Championships in Russia, we will host it brilliantly! No one holds championships better than us!”