“Matteo’s father was my coach in my last competitive year and when his main coach couldn’t make it to the competitions, they contacted me” Miki Ando will be Matteo Rizzo’s coach for WTT
Miki Ando will appear as a coach of Italian Matteo Rizzo at the 2023 World Team Trophy.
Miki Ando (35), who has won two World Championships, spoke in an interview about her feelings as a coach at her first world competitions.
She will be coaching Matteo Rizzo, son of Valter Rizzo who coached her in her last year before retirement in the 2013-2014 season.
On the background of the situation
Miki Ando: Matteo’s father was my coach in my last competitive year, and I have known him since I was a junior skater. This time, Matteo’s main coach couldn’t make it to the competitions, so they contacted me and said that Matteo needed a coach.
Her current position
Miki Ando: I am currently a professional skater and do some coaching and choreography as well. But mainly I’m a professional skater.
What kind of support do you offer as a coach?
Miki Ando: Well, Matteo is already an experiences skater, so of course he can adjust himself, but he also knows that the view from the outside is different from what he can see on his own. When I ask him, “How is it going?” he tells me what’s going on. I just give him advice and pay attention. But there is also a time difference, and the ice is still soft. It’s the first day, so everyone isn’t used to it yet, and the timing is a little off compared to usual. But I the body will feel better than in the morning, and I think the ice will become firmer later. So, I’m not really worried about it, and I’m not worried about his physical condition either.
How do you feel about being asked to be a coach?
Miki Ando: Even when I was a competitive skater, I didn’t really have a special feeling like “This is the Olympics, so it’s different” or “This is the World Championships, so it’s different.” Each competition is important, and I always did my best with the same feeling. It’s the same with coaching. Even when I was asked to coach at the local competitions for children or during Japanese Nationals, I still felt that the athletes who shine in those moments. We are in a support role for the athletes, so we want to support them to skate with strong emotions. So, I’m not really feeling that this competition is special, but I’m doing my best to support the athletes in front of me. It’s an international competition for everyone, but it’s just another competition.
Emotionally, it’s no different from a block match.
Miki Ando: Well, I think the athlete needs it and probably gives me a call or something, saying that they want to learn from me. Regardless of the skater’s level, I support them. I think I can give a lot of advice and probably more experience than everyone else, so I’d like to give advice early on and hope it resonates with everyone’s hearts. Even if the younger generation doesn’t understand the meaning yet, I think they will realize it someday if I convey what I learned and felt after the age of 19 to kids who are still in their teens or younger. I think it’s better for the skaters to do it sooner rather than later. While passing on what I experienced, I hope to support and help the younger generation.
As for words of encouragement, I think it depends on the skater’s atmosphere and expression at that time, as well as the content of their practice. I don’t really have anything like “I’ll say this” planned out. I’ll check in Italian (laughs). But in the end, I want to send them to the ice in my own way, so I hope to create an atmosphere where they can feel positive and strong.
As for Matteo’s impression, he has a great personality and is very cheerful, maybe it’s because he has a lot of Italian blood in him. But I think he has become a really mature adult who takes things seriously while still being relaxed. Also, his passion is remarkable. He’s interested in various songs and his expressive power has been increasing year by year. He’s 25 years old, so he’s more like a mature man than the innocence of his junior days. He has a quadruple in the short program tomorrow, so I hope he can nail the technical aspects. However, he really hates spins (laughs) and is not good at them, so I’m cheering him on to do his best.
Kamila Valieva: “As a person who has been competing since the age of 15, I can say that there are very difficult moments even at this young age. We should not undervalue the efforts of teenagers.”