Ilia Averbukh: “Perhaps it makes sense to hold a “match” Russia vs China, because figure skating is strong in China. But I don’t think it can be a replacement of international competitions.”
Interview with Ilia Averbukh. About Russia’s international isolation, the start of coaching and Evgeni Semenenko’s injury at the show.
source: sport24.ru dd. 2d May 2022 by Konstantin Lesik
One gets the feeling that a lot of ice shows are taking place in Russia now. Has international isolation given impetus to the domestic market?
Ilia Averbukh: No, I won’t say that. I think that now there even less shows than it was before. We always performed much more after the World Championships. Perhaps, because of the different organizers, such an illusion is created. In fact, in terms of quantity, there are fewer shows now than before. Of course, I’m sure that all the guys want to perform in various projects and shows. I really hope that everything will return to normal as soon as possible, and the guys will be able to safely perform at all competitions and in all ice shows. There is no impetus here, on the contrary, we are working to support this direction.
And what do you think about the alternative to international competitions, where they don’t hurry to return the Russians?
Ilia Averbukh: The word “alternative” is often heard, but I don’t fully understand what do they mean by it. The fact that in terms of organization Russia holds competitions the best? This is clear to everyone. We can hold a lot of them, and we really organize competitions better. The “staffing” is important: who performs at this competitions. That’s all.
From the organizational point of view, I do not see any issues. But from the “staffing” point of view, we understand that in the current situation, the strongest will not come to these competitions. Then the meaning is lost. We already have our Russian Cup, which is well organized and where we compete. Perhaps it makes sense to hold a “match” between Russia and China, and compete there, as part of a separate competitions, because figure skating is strong in China. I see logic here. But I don’t think it can be a replacement.
Do you have any creative plans related to athletes? Are you planning to choreograph programs?
Ilia Averbukh: Sure! We will again cooperate with Mikhail Kolyada, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. The guys decided to continue, and very soon we will start working on programs. Alexei Nikolaevich has already approved the music. I will choreograph both programs for Mikhail, free program for Elizaveta. Recently I have worked with a junior from St. Petersburg, who trains with Kirill Davydenko. I also supervised the work of Elena Maslennikova with Andrei Mozalev. Lots of work.
We all saw the injury of Evgeni Semenenko at the show. Fans and the media discussed the size of the ice and the lighting. Is it necessary to change the approach to shows?
Ilia Averbukh: I want to say that it was an accident. By and large, there should be no questions to anyone. Evgeni tried to surprise and jump on maximum. I am sure that he jumped more than once, as we say, in the dark. Many world shows are held on smaller rinks, this is a common practice, so what happened is a tragic accident. We wish Evgeni that everything will be fine.
Ice shows are also part of the profession. Spectators come not only to watch the athlete move nicely on the ice. They want to see the elements of ultra-c, and the guys feel this energy. In any case, the programs on the show are many times easier than the competitive ones. We know that Evgeni jumps three or four quads, and in St. Petersburg he tried one. I think that this is just a tragic story, and there is no need to look for whom to blame.
I know that now the same fans will start shouting “They are covering for each other. Guild Solidarity”. It’s just that this can happen, any accident can happen in our life, this is also part of the profession. Everyone works and tries to surprise.
Have you already felt the joy of fatherhood after the birth of your son Leo?
Ilia Averbukh: I feel it perfectly. We celebrate every month, very soon it will be nine. We are already taking the first steps, in a week or two it will be possible to post videos. Of course, I am with my son all the time, he always greets me with a smile. This does not cancel the work schedule, but Leo is our sunshine.
Will you engage him in figure skating if he wants?
Ilia Averbukh: I think we’ll try. We have already agreed on this with Liza (Arzamasova, wife. – Sport24). But I will try to objectively assess the abilities of my child. If I see that it is not for him, then I will not embody my own ambitions in my son. And if everything is fine, then why not.
Leo will follow your path and become a dancer? Or will it be single skating?
Ilia Averbukh: There is an unrealized single skater inside of me. I would like him to be a single skater. Although I am a dancer, a dancer’s coach, I single out men’s single skating from four disciplines. I consider it the flagship of figure skating, despite the leadership of the girls.
Will we see you behind the boards next year?
Ilia Averbukh: At junior competitions, of course. We have already traveled to Veliky Novgorod for the Russian Junior Championship. Once again I emphasize that only with junior pairs. I want to start with them and I’m not chasing to stand next to ready-made guys. Let’s see what happens. At the school, the head coach is Elena Maslennikova, Igor Eremenko works, his partner Sofia Shevchenko, and also Vitaly Novikov. We have a whole team.
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