Lyudmila Velikova: Figure skating won’t survive the second quarantine
Russian pair coach and member of the coaching council Lyudmila Velikova sobers with a story about the prospects of figure skating amid a pandemic.
by Dmitri Kuznetsov for sport-express.ru dd. 19th August 2020
Finally, the scheme of the season became clear, the Russian Cup of five stages is the only qualifying competitions to the Russian Nationals. Right?
Lyudmila Velikova: Sure. I welcome that only the Russian Cup will be a selection to the Russian Nationals. What could be wrong about that?
Yesterday, the case of Evgenia Medvedeva was actively discussed – she can also go to the Grand Prix in Canada. Should there be a special treatment?
Lyudmila Velikova: She must decide for herself. Is she performs for Russia or for another country? She should make a choice. There should be no exceptions for her. Frankly, I do not think that they’re particularly interested Medvedeva now, so I do not expect that she will be given any concessions. There are plenty of other girls.
Do you generally like the current Grand Prix format? Or rather, is it clear? How the “Grand Prix” of Russia will look like, for example.
Lyudmila Velikova: It is still not completely clear, it seems to me that nothing has been specifically developed yet. Logically, the first places should get to the stage in Moscow. Maybe just those who made the top three at the European Championships will perform? The selection criteria are unknown, and I think they will look take into account the experience of the USA and Canada, which will held the events first. ISU will still make the right decisions. But I understand that this is an attempt to survive, it is difficult to condemn it. But in general, in this format, the series is meaningless. I’m wondering how the judging will be organized. Canadians will pull up who they need, well, we will choose who we need. And the Final … rumour has it that it will not happen. As well as the European Championship. It’s all very sad.
Let’s add something positive, against this background, the Russian Cup becomes the main trophy in the world.
Lyudmila Velikova: Look, everyone around, including medical workers, says the quarantine will resume from September. They give almost 90%. In principle, all competitions could be canceled, let’s wait a little longer with this Russian Cup. In St. Petersburg, it was decided that the stages of the City Cup, local competitions like the Panin-Kolomenkin memorial would be held without children. Only skaters over 18 years of age are allowed. How to work, can you imagine? There are no competitions at all until January! Parents will stop bringing their children to the rink.
Logically, the virus is less dangerous for children. Then the older skaters should have been forbidden.
Lyudmila Velikova: Of course, it is definitely less dangerous for them. All the children’s coaches are shocked, they do not know what to do and how to live.
And at first it was strange not to see St. Petersburg on the calendar of the Russian Cup.
Lyudmila Velikova: Now you can wave your hands as much as you like, but there are no competitions. This has never happened before in history – two competitions per season. Two! One failed, the other skated gorgeous. And that’s the whole season. I planned four competitions in St. Petersburg for my skaters, but now we don’t have them. What’s next? We will do some kind of intermediate control skate, I have five pairs. Probably we’ll arrange a competition within the group.
Make the broadcast. It’ll be cool.
Lyudmila Velikova: Maybe, we’ll think about it. Mayve we’ll invite someone else from other groups. The coaches are already uniting, starting to come up with something. We’ll figure something out ourselves, if the bosses are not doing this. Otherwise, figure skating can be closed.
In the Leningrad region, the restrictions are not so tight, maybe you could organize some competition there?
Lyudmila Velikova: Let’s see, we’ll think. We still have to make it. We can go to quarantine again, although we already have been there for four months! Pair skating is a very coordination-demanding sport, jumping elements leave first. At the end of the season, my girl could do everything, came to the ice – she can’t do anything. For children, the main threat is that the body has not matured yet, the technique is not set, they it lose instantly.
Now there are junior test skates in Novogorsk. There are a lot of injuries, of course, but they skate very well.
Lyudmila Velikova: The things is that someone skated during quarantine. We have a school, a state institution, we had no right. And someone in clubs and private organizations have probably cheated. Those who found the way lost less. But I think it’s best not to get sick. Figure skating is great, but children’s lives are more important. Although I understand parents who were looking for options, they rented a private ice. The prices are very high there, of course. The extra sessions during quarantine were so overpriced. But everyone wants to survive.
If quarantine is introduced again, figure skating will not survive this a second time. Of course, we’ll rock the boat. We’ll look for other options. But fate cannot be fooled. That’s just going to be how it is. If it becomes dangerous, parents will not let the children go. I’m afraid that parents will simply stop taking their children to skating school. This is where it ends. I have older students, but small schools can fall apart. There is only one hope – for the fanaticism of the parents. We will break through on it.
Related topics: Evgenia Medvedeva
Honorary President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation Valentin Piseev about big transfers and Kamila Valieva