Ilia Averbukh: I’m sure Medvedeva and Zagitova have no conflict
Ilia Averbukh about Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova.
Now Evgenia Medvedeva will have to fight to get to the Grand Prix finals. Can she win Grand-prix in Grenoble “on order”?
– Yes, but the competition will be very tough. The winner of the Japanese Grand Prix Rika Kihira will perform in France. She jumped the triple axel twice. It is very serious. But, of course, Zhenya can win this Grand Prix.
Stanislava Konstantinova will also perform in Grenoble, she became second in Helsinki. Do you think she is able to push Medvedeva to the third place, which won’t allow her to get into the Grand Prix final?
– If Zhenya skates clean, then, of course, she still have competitors: Alina Zagitova, Rika Kihira. She can lose to Konstantinova only if she makes mistakes. If Zhenya skates her programs clean, Stanislava has no chance.
Medvedeva could have won at Skate Canada, if she hadn’t failed the short program. How to avoid repetition now?
– To skate … She can do everything. What else to say? Zhenya needs to calm down. Her level of skating is very high. She is a two-time world champion, Olympic silver medalist. While Zhenya doesn’t show her skating, the absolute leader of the season is, of course, Alina Zagitova. If she continues to skate the same way, even triple axels will not help her rivals.
Will you be very surprised if Medvedeva won’t make it into the Final.
– No, the Grand Prix Final is not the main competitions of the season. The Russian Nationals is ahead. Then Zhenya will have a not very good performance in the first half of the season, but this doesn’t mean that she can no longer compete on equals. Moreover, Zhenya isn’t in the best shape now.
Zagitova didn’t have serious competitors at the two Grand Prix. Won’t it relax her before the Final?
– She showed a colossal gap in scores. In general, at the beginning of the season, every competition has its own psychology. There is no pattern from one competition to another.
Alina Zagitova is no longer yesterday’s junior, but an Olympic champion. Evgenia Medvedeva changed not only the coach, but also a country. In your opinion, for whom it’s harder now?
– Each of them has her own psychological problems. Alina is the leader of the season. She needs to prove that her past success wasn’t accidental. She does it brilliantly. Zhenyu must prove to herself that she did the right thing by changing a coach. And regain her titles. This season will be very hard for both of them. Changing the country it’s a big test for Evgenia.
Do you think it a test? Probably in 19 years it is not so critical to change the country.
– She changed the country of preparation. Zhenya always trained in a completely different system. While she hasn’t adapted yet to the Brian Orser’s training system, who is undoubtedly a very talented coach.
Orser said that he works three hours with all skaters, an hour – only with Zhenya. Is that enough?
– Here we must judge by the result. If we don’t see the result, then there are some problems. If there is a result – no problem. We’re looking forward to seeing Evgenia at the Grand Prix final.
Canadian coach also noted that the next step in Medvedeva’s career is to enjoy skating. But didn’t she enjoy skating before, training at Eteri Tutberidze’s group?
– Of course, she did. Zhenya should always thank Eteri Tutberidze for everything she did for her. I’m sure that it will be so. Passions will pass, and everyone will understand how much they have done for each other. Zhenya always very honestly fought at competitions for her coach and for herself. Eteri worked very honestly with Zhenya. As for the Orser’s words, this is the usual North American style: let’s enjoy everything. In the Russian and Soviet school is not like that. You go on the ice to win. Having fun is great. But first of all sport should be a sport. Ideally, everyone gets both pleasure and results.
Medvedeva and Tutberidze can meet at the Grand Prix final. Maybe Zhenya really should take the first step to make peace? Better even in public. So that everyone can see that and stop discussing.
– I think truce will surely happen. But, of course, a little later. I’m sure that each side has its own truth. I, as an outsider, understand: the process has already begun, and I don’t see there no right, no wrong one.
After moving to Orser, Zhenya has already been blamed that she lost her femininity and grace. Do you agree with this?
– No, I think that Zhenya has feminine skating now. Not because of working with Orser, but simply because she is 19 years old now, she matured, her gestures became more conscious. Zhenya looks more adult on ice. I will not comment on her programs. For me it’s not right to do, because I have worked with Zhenyu for three years.
Aren’t you surprised by irreconcilable battles which the fans of Medvedeva and Zagitova have on Internet? Sometimes it seems that even football fans are less bloodthirsty.
– On the one hand, it is not bad and draws attention to figure skating. But sometimes it becomes like some kind of insanity and goes beyond permitted. I would advise everyone to support their favorite skaters, but also to respect their competitors.
Maybe Zhenya and Alina should publicly shake hands, hug – and everyone will calm down?
– I am sure that Zhenya and Alina have no conflict. They communicate normally and respect each other. I see no reason why they won’t shake hands.