Inna Goncharenko: In Japan they also learn quads and axels. Just keep quiet

Posted on 2019-12-02 • 2 comments


Inna Goncharenko summed up the result of Grand Prix series, shared her opinion about Alina Zagitova, Alena Kostornaia, Elizaveta Tuktanysheva’s marks, Rika Kihira’s quad and Satoko Miyahara’s skating and quads in general.

by Ekaterina Bespalova for dd. November 30th, 2019

After the test skates, you noted that Zagitova looks very professional. But because she was not perfect at the Grand Prix series, discussions began about her active life besides sports…

– And I have not changed my mind. Presentations and shooting is also part of the job when an athlete achieves certain results. Alina deserved it and has every right. You cannot close from this, life goes on, girls grow up, and this must be understood. And this is professionalism. We saw a gorgeous free program in Japan. If a person is not a professional, he would not manage to, especially in Japan where the energy is special. Korean Lim is an example. And we have a country of advice – everyone loves to give them. We must listen to the coach.

The main rival of the Russians girl in the Grand Prix Final, Japanese Rika Kihira, announced that she’s gonna do a quad salchow at the home Grand Prix. In your opinion, what was all these manipulations for?

– At the beginning of the season, I assessed her very calmly – the themes of the programs are extraordinary, although you can see the hand of a great master. And now she made enough run-throughs, the music suits Rika well, costumes are changing and she skates at high speed. As you can see, no one is sleeping, everyone is working, looking where to improve. But do not forget that it was only a selection for the Grand Prix Final. Perhaps her team decided that it was not worth the risk, that second place would be enough. Plus, the Japanese athlete performed at home and had support in the components. She did not even do triple lutz in a free program. Expected to beat Alena Kostornaia with this, but failed.

However, with all the home walls, the judges weren’t greedy and gave Kostornaia, who performed in a short program before Kihira, the world record …

– I think when Kostornaia just jumped out at the Grand Prix in France, they didn’t count on her, counted on Trusova, Shcherbakova or Zagitova. Everyone knew that Alena has beautiful skating, but she jumped the triple axel only at one competitions. But up to competitions in Japan it became clear that she was only going forward.

The Judging during this series was ambiguous and in sometimes quite strict. In your opinion, what will be the main trend of the season and what does the ISU really want?

– ISU also employs people who observe what is happening and try to understand where everything is going to. It’s a turning point in ladies’ single skating. Obviously, everything will come to complication of the technical content, combined with the beauty of skating and art. Alena has already succeeded in it, and Kihira is also on this path. She has a good soft Japanese skating, her own expressiveness.

When you look at Kostornaia, in addition to jumping content, you see how birds sings in her soul, and an angel in the short program. You have to be born with this, but such athletes will win. In the same way, Hanyu always sings something other-wordly on the ice, perhaps even incomprehensible to us. It mesmerizes and has a hypnotic effect. Thanks to this magnetism, Kostornaia just win the hearts of the public and specialists. And the last are also people.

Didn’t the judging affect Tuktamysheva’s not getting into the Grand Prix Final, or was it her fault to blame?

– Liza did well, but have you seen what a fight there was for the Final? Only six participants get there, nothing can be done about it, Zhenya Medvedeva will not be there also. Everything got complicated.

Didn’t she lose time on program changes?

– Of course. She had a very good program was by a leading specialist in this field, Shae-Lynn Bourne. Something was changing, there were doubts, maybe time was lost on this. But if you set a goal, then go to it overcoming yourself. We saw at the last competitions that she came to the expected option. But then everything was very fast, there was very little time because of all this flights and trips.

What do you think about the return of last year’s bright free program?

– I do not want to discuss the decision of her coaching staff. They know better. If you decide to change or return something – go and win, then no one will have any questions.

But didn’t the judges support Miyahara in China?

– I cannot answer objectively, because I like Satoko because of her har working, skating skills, new programs and themes on the ice. Previously, she did not have such mini-show on ice. Plus, Miyahara performs them very qualitatively, without throwing out choreography and movements. Her free program impresses and it’s memorable. Plus her name and rating.

In an interview, Mariah Bell, the bronze medalist of the Grand Prix in Moscow, said that if you haven’t quad jumps and a triple axel, you need to look for your thing in terms of programs.

– Bet on your strengths. Bell has a fast-paced style, a little aggressive. She has gorgeous spins, there are positions and transitions that others do not do. Mariah is such a smile, they took a dancing program and the audience respond very well. And when the whole arena response enthusiastically, the judges also react. Nobody was afraid of quadruple jumps, everyone is trying to find himself. And we, of course, really love our athletes, but they can’t skate alone, otherwise it will not be interesting.

Meanwhile, very young Russians go even further – 12-year-old Sofia Akatieva and Sofia Samodelkina include quadruples and triple axels into their programs.

– Yes, children are not afraid and the competition, even at the pre-junior level, is just crazy. I think foreign experts are following this, and therefore such a stir. But there is Alysa Liu in America with quadruple jumps. Why don’t they get scared of her, but repeat: “Oh, Russian girls.” And in Japan, I think, they are not afraid, but learn axels and quadruples. Just keep quiet, to show unexpectedly. Progress cannot be stopped.

But aside sport, don’t you feel pity for children?

– But don’t you feel pity for children who are blind and hunchbacked, who spend all day sitting in iPhones? And then parents run with them to psychologists and psychiatrists. And there are much more such children than those who are engaged in figure skating. It is better to learn the quadruple salchow than to sit constantly at the computer. We’re afraid of wrong things.

Many would parry that parents often force children and thus deprive them of their childhood.

– Now even an ordinary school requires tremendous efforts. For example The Unified State Exam. If you study properly, do all your homework and prepare for the contests, then study is very exhausting. My daughter studied until five or six in the evening, then she came home and did homework until midnight. Take any business, you want to be a specialist – you have to plow. For example ballet schools. Are there few problems? Don’t they have joints that ache, cramps from endless dancing? They breathe dust in classrooms, hence the problems with the lungs. A lot of problems, but this will not stop the fans of their business.

When a child at three or four years old is brought to the figure skating class, what can he understand? He saw on TV a girl or a boy in a beautiful costume and said: “I also want to.” Of course, the fanaticism of parents works. No matter how talented a person is, there is always an element of forcing and drill. But at the same time, if the child does not want at all, you will not force him.


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2 Responses to “Inna Goncharenko: In Japan they also learn quads and axels. Just keep quiet”

  1. Veronica says:

    Wise words! Thank you!

  2. jimmbboe says:

    What a refreshing interview. Thanks for this!

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