Ilia Averbukh: In Russia people are fond of cheering for the second

Posted on 2017-08-29 • 4 comments


Ilia Averbukh told how the work on Evgenia Medvedeva’s programs are going, Olympic season and gave an advice to Adelina Sotnikova.

How is the work on Evgenia Medvedeva’s new programs in Olympic season going?

– Olympic season is a very responsible story and certainly not the most suitable time for experiments. It is the time for summing up the results, so Zhenya and I decided to continue moving in the same direction that we set in the previous two years of joint work.

What is the point of this direction?

– These are some philosophical messages. We do not play any particular character. Zhenya’s artistic images have exclusively philosophical nature. I hope that new programs will make an impression accordingly. I am very pleased with how the free program is developing, at the moment we’re also polishing the short. I think that all Zhenya’s distinctive features will remain this season. I would really like everyone to give her maximum support now.

Evgenia is our main Olympic hope in figure skating. How could it be otherwise?

– The thing is Zhenya has already won two World Championships, but in Russia people are fond of cheering for the second. This can be called a trend. But now is not the time to root either for the second or the third. We have a leader whom we must support comprehensively, because Zhenya has the highest chances from all figure skating disciplines to win a gold medal for our team in Pyeongchang.

Are there any circumstances that can prevent this?

– Of course, that’s sport! First, her competitors do not rest. In women’s single skating, due to the fact that it is very young, new stars appear very quickly and unexpectedly. The fight is serious, no one is going to hang a gold medal around Medvedeva’s neck just because.

How does Evgenia look in the training process?

– I’m often at trainings and see how she gains shape. I can say for sure that there is no relaxation or rest on laurels. There is daily hard work. Due to the fact that the group of Eteri Tutberidze is very strong, the girls are motivating each other. The entire training process is similar to a well-established mechanism. At the moment, Eteri Georgievna’s school, especially in women’s single skating, is absolutely the strongest in the world.

How big is the chance that in the Olympic season a new name will suddenly appear in women’s single skating? For example, Alina Zagitova will win the Russian Championships and go to the Olympics.

– I absolutely do not rule out such possibility. I also see how Alina trains with Zhenya, we can say that they work in sparring. Zagitova is in very good shape and I think that the whole fight will be between these two girls. The Olympics are the time of the “shooters”. We can recall Tara Lipinski, Sarah Hughes and even our Julia Lipnitskaya – their victories were unexpected.

Is there an explanation for this?

–  The Olympics are a much more difficult competition for those who took leadership before it. For example, Michelle Kwan who won the world championships, but could not reach Olympic gold. The Olympic Games are easier for those from whom nothing is expected. But I hope that it won’t affect Zhenya, I will especially worry about her, because we have been working with her for almost three years now.

The pressure of victories and expectations does not affect Evgenia?

– It doesn’t affect the training process. I think it can play a role at competition. Of course, it is always easier to go forward when nobody expects anything from you. Now Zhenya has to hold all this load of high expectations on her shoulders, but if she passes through all this, her victory will be more significant than the fleeting flashes that I have already mentioned. This will be a victory, which moves the winner from the category of just a “champion” to the “legendary champion”.

Adelina Sotnikova announced that she will miss the season, although first she was planning to go to the Olympics and was preparing under the guidance of Evgeni Plushenko. Having missed so much time, could she compete for Olympic spot?

– There is always a chance. Adelina is a very young athlete, she is 21, of course, she could fight. For example, I did not have much skepticism about this. I thought that in a tandem of two ambitions: Evgeni Plushenko, as a coach, and Adelina, as an acting figure skater, a unique synthesis could arise. However, much spoke against such a development of the situation. Someone thought that it is a PR to raise interest in Plushenko’s school and Sotnikova herself. This was 50/50 situation, so it turned out that the second 50 outweighed. Now I would recommend not to play this card any more –  from the next season just keep quiet and skate.

by Sergei Podgornov


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4 Responses to “Ilia Averbukh: In Russia people are fond of cheering for the second”

  1. Mad for Skating says:

    Oh, no. Rooting for the second in Russia is utterly dangerous. Don’t ask me how I know this.

  2. Zuza says:

    Writing this in April 2018, it’s almost funny how the interviewer predicted the future about Alina

  3. lala says:

    LOL! PR to rise in Plushenko’s school? Really? Where does she live? Plushenko doesn’t need PR in this way. His name is enough by far. Eh, lots of malice and jealousy in figure skating..

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