Inna Goncharenko: We got a little insolent – we forgot those times when we had only one girl at competitions

Posted on 2019-11-06 • No comments yet


Inna Goncharenko summed up the results of Russian girls at Grand Prix 2019.

by Ekaterina Bespalova for dd. October 3d, 2019

You once said in an interview that before the judges didn’t rush to give high marks to the young athletes. This season, the judges sometimes weren’t excited about Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, but could not resist the charm of Alena Kostornaia …

– Young girls still lose to more adult skaters in perceptions. Judges watch the competition live, not on TV. Such a bold teenager jumps out, and not everyone is ready for this. The audience come to see women’s skating. But femininity comes with time. Although it happens to be natural, if we talk about Alena Kostornaia. This is the role of personality in the history of figure skating, although this rarely happens.

Difficult entry on a triple axel? I remember Alena being a small girl in Elena Zhgun’s group – the coach, from whom she went to Eteri Tutberidze. They always worked from steps, it was such a thing. Therefore, it’s more convenient and familiar for Kostornaia, plus such steps are chosen to twist her into a jump.

Recently, there has been a lot of talks that figure skating is getting younger. Although if you look at the scores of 22-year-old Elizaveta Tuktamysheva from different competitions this season, there’s a feeling that they don’t really want to support her. Although she is mature athlete, performing for many years, and even with triple axels.

– Everything is not so critical. In fact, there are a lot of specialists who love and support Liza, and I am among them. 22 years old – is that age? It’s just happened so, by the will of fate and the circumstances, that we have a galaxy of young talented girls now. We got a little insolent – we forgot those times when we had only one athlete at competitions and we prayed: please let she does everything and doesn’t fall! And now we are starting to look for some blots: she hasn’t done this or that.

I think that girls who skate now don’t aim to leave the sport early. And Liza’s age will not be the limit for them. And for Tuktamysheva, judging by her condition, this is also not the limit. She is in excellent physical shape, she is interested, she feels that she can fight.

What can you say about European champion Sofia Samodurova? The season goes not easy for her.

– At the competitions in Minsk, in comparison with the test skates, she has got together already. At the test skates everything looked hard, still there was some overweight. She has good rotation but low jumps. And as soon as Sofia gets extra weight she can’t lift herself from the ice well and doesn’t have time to rotate the jump fully. Anyway she needs to work, positive developments are already visible. Remember last year – how she squeezed the maximum out of a chance to become European champion! I am sure that Samodurova will show her character.

You talk so openly about extra weight. How strict were you in this regard with your athletes?

– Any coach who works at a high level is strict with his athlete, but does not live with him around the clock. A small child is obedient, controlled by his parents, and when he grows up, the coach and parents have no authority, it becomes more difficult. I even had to catch skaters in the store, pour snickerses and sweets out of their pockets.

Is one little chocolate bar so critical?

– But it obviously not one and not once a day. After all, weight is from food, plus the excess is not burned during training. And do not tell me, that I drank a glass of water, and by morning I gained two kilograms. These are the tales that the athlete tells the coach in the morning.

Fans on the Internet are extremely emotional, not always polite in expressions. Can any of this criticism come in handy?

– Athletes at this level no longer get offended. They understand: If they criticize, you need to get the bit between the teeth and work. On the contrary, you need to read everything and think it over: maybe people notice something that you have not seen.

Alina Zagitova has all possible titles in figure skating. At the same time, young groupmates have every chance to leave her without a place in the national team. Many even recall that it’s Alina’s third senior season and draw parallels with Evgenia Medvedeva’s Olympic season.

– There is an opinion that the titled athlete works in training and drags young ones like in a relay race. And then he must pass the baton so they continue to run further. But these little girls are also a motivation for Zagitova. The best workout is competitions. Even the effect of competition in the training process. Because when everything is quiet and smooth, you come and train in a calm atmosphere, like in a swamp, this is not good. When a person is calm inside, he would be glad to splash but there’s nowhere to take emotions from. A normal athlete uses competition to his advantage.

After all, it often happens that the leader of the competition withdraws for some reason or loses the chance to win. And all the other participants fall apart though it would seem – go and get it! And why? The intensity of competition is falling.

Respect to Eteri Tutberidze for Zagitova, who clearly doesn’t go soft on her and explains why such an approach is needed. She looks professional. When Alina performs her programs cleanly, with strong energy – this is enough to get into the national team. Zagitova comes to the ice and it is clear that she is strong and cool, and nothing else is needed, the judges will appreciate it.

Does Zagitova need ultra-c elements in order to prove something to someone?

– She has already proved everything to everyone and became an Olympic champion.


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