Lorenzo Magri: “We know that Katya Kurakova has a chance to win a medal, and we are excited about that.”
Interview with Lorenzo Magri for Polish media. About his work with top Polish female skater Ekaterina Kurakova.
source: sport.tvp.pl dd. 26 January by Mateusz Górecki
This season, Katya has competed at two Grand Prix, the Universiade (5th place), and several competitions of a lower rank. How do you like the results?
Lorenzo Magri: I can’t say that everything worked out perfectly, as we planned. I think it was a good start. Katya placed high at all these competitions, but we expected slightly higher technical scores. We want to improve and aim for places on the podium. The following seasons will be a learning experience for us. I still see room for improvement; we have work to do.
What was missing?
Lorenzo Magri: We worked a lot on the 3-3 combination before the season. Katya needs around 70 points in the short program to be in the top 3 in Europe and the top 10 at Worlds. If she stops being afraid of this combination and starts jumping it confidently, her scores will go up significantly.
At the Polish Nationals, she showed a triple axel, a jump that only a few female skaters do.
Lorenzo Magri: She does not practice this element every day, but we work on it regularly, let’s say every month. We want it to be ready for the 2026 Olympics. At the Nationals, Katya performed it as the last element of the free skate, but it was kind of fun to surprise everyone. However, now she can say, “I tried it once, next time will be better.”
In figure skating, we need to have a program strategy. You have to take a calculator, take notes, and calculate points for individual elements to calculate the highest possible score. First of all, Katya needs to be very confident about the first combination in the free program. It is very difficult, almost no one in the world jumps it, and we are lucky that it always gives us a lot of points.
Is there a chance that we will also see Katya perform a quadruple jump?
Lorenzo Magri: Over the summer, we worked on the lutz and toeloop with and without harness. However, we have to be reasonable and find a good moment to try quadruple jumps. The job of a skater is not to sit at home polishing programs. We are constantly on the go, and there is the stress of competitions and fatigue. From mid-September until March, skaters have competitions, they have to compete at the highest level, so you have to watch out for injuries. Even with a sprained ankle that usually takes you out for 15-25 days, it can take up to 2-3 months to get back to your pre-injury shape. It’s a huge loss.
It may be hard to understand, but the younger and less experienced a skater is, the more accustomed they are to falling. The body also reacts differently. A skater who already knows how to do the elements well falls less often, but the consequences can be more serious.
A few years ago, Katya mentioned that performing more difficult elements caused her pain. Mainly, her back was bothering her …
Lorenzo Magri: Back pain can occur when there is a problem with the knee or ankle. We couldn’t work on the spin for a long time. Usually there is a moment that requires more flexibility, you have to stay in an uncomfortable position. We couldn’t practice it in training because Katya was in pain. Jumping was easier for her. Now the situation is much better, also thanks to rehabilitation.
The European Championships are ahead of you this year without the participation of the Russians. Do you feel a door has opened?
Lorenzo Magri: We know that Katya has a chance to win a medal, and we are excited about that. However, we have to look at the competitors, there are skaters who are making continuous progress. If we were to hang a virtual medal around our neck right now, it wouldn’t be the smartest thing to do. Figure skating is really a competition with yourself and your nerves. We don’t have any influence on the judges; we can’t decide what marks they give us. That’s why you have to do your best and hope that there will be as many points as possible. If she gets on the podium, I will be extremely happy, but it will also be a good result when we come back from the competitions proud of our work.
The previous season showed that Katya is ready to compete with the best.
Lorenzo Magri: A year ago, after the European Championships in Tallinn, I heard from many judges that she had the best free skating, including Russian girls. It was a performance at a very high level; she put all her energy and heart into it. I wish it was the same this year. To keep her nerves under control and not panic when she gets on the ice. She needs to have the energy to shine, like at the previous Championships.
I check your social media regularly. You seem to be getting along well. Can we talk about friendship in this case?
Lorenzo Magri: I think we still have a good balance in the coach-athlete relationship. We have characters that work well together, and we support each other a lot. When the competitions ends, we like to walk, go to Starbucks for coffee. Katya is a very positive, always smiling person. On social media, you can see us as a very harmonious duo. But we all have our own private matters apart from the sport. We also have worse moments, but we are united by a common goal and the road we are heading towards it.
So there’s no arguing?
Lorenzo Magri: I can’t say that Katya always behaves as we both agreed when we started our cooperation. But then I say, “Leave the rink and come back to the next class, because we can’t train like that.” Then she starts to cry and says, “No, no, let’s keep practicing.” We have bad times like everyone else. It’s normal, but you need to relieve this tension. I once asked her to cook me something. I came to her, and we had a quiet talk outside the ice.
What is Katya like in your eyes?
Lorenzo Magri: She has a strong character, but I really appreciate her because I never had to motivate her to train. She has an inner desire to skate. She loves what she does and knows that, thanks to hard work, she can make her dreams come true.
Sometimes, however, she does not understand how important it is to recover and relax. She believes that she has no right to be tired, stressed, or having a bad day. But everything passes. My role is to calm her down and put her emotions in the right direction. She is very demanding of herself. This sometimes hinders the process of reaching the top if you are too hard on yourself or constantly evaluate yourself negatively. Bad energy appears, and it does not help in development.
The ability to show emotions on ice is one of the basic elements of skating.
Lorenzo Magri: I like that people see in her not only an ice skater, but also her individual character. That’s what I care about as a coach. I don’t want my skaters to be copies of each other. I don’t believe in such techniques. I encourage them to be diverse and to express all of their emotions, including happiness and vulnerability.
Katya has been competing for Poland for several years. How important is it for her?
Lorenzo Magri: She really feels that she is a leading Polish female skater. She feels the pressure and realizes that it’s an important role. It’s not always easy, but it gives me great pleasure to see how devoted she is to Poland, how she speaks your language, and how she became a true Polish woman. She wants to live there in the future; she told me about buying a house in the city where her boyfriend lives. It seems to me that everyone in your country loves her, and she is grateful to the fans, the people working in the federation, and the minister of sports. It is very valuable for Poland, but also for the entire skating world, that Katya appeared. She can convey many important values to people and encourage young skaters to train.
However, there are comments that Katya should not represent Poland because she was not born in this country.
Lorenzo Magri: Years ago, I stopped following blogs or responding to people on social media. I don’t care what they say. In fact, if we want to, we can always find something bad about the other person. Haters are the result of a job well done. The higher you climb, the better you are, and the more popular you are, the more of them appear. There are haters everywhere, but the most important thing is to be proud of yourself.
Katya has a long way to go. Eight or nine years ago, she started thinking about changing her sports citizenship for personal reasons. Her mother had family members from Poland. She went through all the legal procedures and got on the national team. She started living in Poland. She is learning the language. I don’t see any reason why she couldn’t represent your country. We can talk over and over again about skaters from Ukraine, Russia, Japan, or China, but we are talking about 20-year-old girls. After all, none of us are pro-war.
Our single male skater, Vladimir Samoilov, also trains with you.
Lorenzo Magri: Vova is a very talented skater; he has a lot of potential. He shows a lot of power and speed on the ice. Sometimes it is difficult for him to control everything and maintain a high level of training. He has good and bad moments. He also needs to be less stressed on the ice because the desire to get a good result is sometimes paralyzing. It’s definitely a much better season for him than the previous one. There is a lot of progress, but I think it can be faster. If things go in the right direction, he’ll show himself well at the Games.
Marco Fabbri: “Probably we expected a bit higher scores. But we understand that each competitions are judged differently, and 82 points at different competitions mean different things.”