Maxim Kovtun: Looking at Nathan Chen everything seems easy.

Posted on 2017-04-12 • No comments yet


Translation of recent interview with Maxim Kovtun. About Worlds, Tarasova’s comments and learning more quads.

Did you manage to recover after Worlds?

– At night after the free program I finally got enough sleep. The competition turned out to be ambiguous, but there were some advantages. Usually I do not like the day off between performances, but after an unsuccessful short it was only for the best, I had time to undergo procedures. I felt calm, adequate, I made a mistake on the toe loop not because of nerves, but because of technical defects. I made a wide jump entry, flew out of the circle and it was impossible to save this quad. I knew already in the air that I would fall. What happened in the free program I still haven’t realized. Triple loop surprised, I even don’t it during the warm-up because it’s incredibly simple. I stupidly stumbled before the toe loop. I thought that it will cheer me up, but there was a lack of speed, I entered the jump too slowly. We would forget about the toe loop, it couldn’t crumple the program, but loop finished me off.  Inna Germanovna was especially displeased because of this.

So, everything was alright with psychology? The problem is in technique?

– I felt great, cool and right.

What to do with the damned popped jumps?

– They are almost under control. They are almost gone, I don’t have more popped then others. Everyone have popped jumps, many even more then me. I have two failed seasons behind my back, it’s not easy for me to get rid of this influence, which nevertheless drags after me. At European Championships I had one mistake in the free program and immediately lost quite a lot – about thirteen points. In Helsinki I’ve lost potentially twelve points on toe loop, on loop – about six. We are fighting with this, I spent all the practices in Finland unmistakably, with good energy, performed the most difficult jumps without a warm-up, for the future showed to the judges that I’m training a quad lutz. I fell, under rotated a quarter of a turn, but the lutz is on the way. Believe me, it’s close to clean. I still need a bit of time, since there is still much work to do. To put it into the program a lot of special work at trainings is needed. Because when you prepare for such competitions as World Championships usually you practice the content you’ve already have.

Alexei Mishin said that lutz and flip are the most difficult, loop that Yuzuru Hanyu jumps is easier.

– Depends on an athlete. For me, quad lutz is easier than loop. By the way, I also learn a quad loop, but it seems to me that lutz is more advantageous for me at competitions. Quad loop is less controllable for me.

At the World championships Nathan Chen in the free program attempted six quadruple jumps. How do you think, will you try to get let’s say four quads in the free program till the Olympic Games?

– Yes. Lutz, two salchows and a toe loop. Plus two triple axels.


– While it is unrealistic, I will not put it into the program next year. But for the lutz we  will work out a separate entry, we will specifically choose a time and place in the program for its execution. This will be the highlight of the program. Then I plan to learn the quicker entries on the quad salchow and toe loop. So not to go on them through the whole rink and do them from some interesting things, steps, to deal with them quickly. Now, usually, there is not enough time for long entries, because of them you sacrifice something else. The steps sequence should also be faster. Everything like Japanese do.

Axel from a spread eagle?

– You’re talking about good entry and I’m talking about something else. For example, you do a few three-turns, a bracket and immediately do a triple axel and you land it almost into the spin. Such combinations save a lot of time and look much better.

Will you have enough physical strength for such a program of the future?

– No choice. No time. But the main thing is that I can do all this: steps, jumps. At practices I do a quad jump almost without speed, I do two crossovers and do a quad salchow. I emphasize – almost with no speed.

Have you decided on choreographers?

– Yes, but I can not talk about it yet. Short and free programs will be done by different people, Inna Germanovna believes that it will be more interesting.

Do you have an understanding how to do a harmonious program with so many jumps?

– Any person who understands figure skating, realizes that there still will be an impression “entry-jump, entry-jump”.   But there is no other way. One part will be in the style of “entry – jump”, the rest in a different manner. All those skaters who already demonstrate a set of quads first jump, then show the program.

When you look at the Chen’s protocol and see there six quads, what do you feel?

– I did not look at his protocol.

Is it necessary to chase the number or the one who make less but more reliable will win the Olympics? Chen with six jumps is 6th at the World Championships.

– I do not know. You ask a question that no one will answer now. It’s like asking “What is the meaning of life?”. I have only my opinion: it is not necessary to do exactly six quads, or three, but a few cleanly performed, then the program will be winning. A golden mean.

In what artistic image should Maxim Kovtun be in the Olympic season?

– The programs will be completely different in stylistics, it will be an absolute contrast. But for now that’s all I can tell. After all, everything can still change ten times. We have already had scuh: first there was one idea and then we changed music … Now there are ideas, music, but all this should be tested.

Who of the world leaders influenced you this season?

– Who is pulling me up? You know, most of all I was “forced” to approach the study of the new quads by Nathan Chen. I watched one of his performances and decided that I should actively join the trend. On the same day, I tried to do a lutz and a day later I jumped a quad loop. Under rotated on quarter. But then the season started and there was no chance to go further. Even if I rotated them, this season I would not include them in the program. Looking at Chen everything seems easy. When Soma (Uno) started to jump the quad flip, I already had no doubts: quads should be “taken” more often.

Is Goncharenko a tough coach?

– Tough enough. But where it is necessary. In life she is a gentle, kind person who loves her family and friends very much. We go out on the ice and everything changes: she’s the boss. I like that she does not let me relax when I really want to. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and the only desire is to call her and ask for permission to sleep more. “No, by no means” – she will say in such way that you will come and have a perfect practice.

Picks up tone or words?

– Words. Tone doesn’t work on me. I’m impressed with how she sets us before the competitions. With one glance makes it clear how and what you should do. She can say nothing, but looking into her eyes I feel her energy. And she can be different in this, she does not have any identical ritual before the skate.

During World Championships Goncharenko told reporters that she stands firmly for her athletes. Was it her reaction to Tatiana Tarasova’s comment before your performance?

– I did not hear Tarasova’s comment and did not watch my short program. As well as the free. I do not re-watch my performances when I do not like them. I heard that there was a sharp saying, but I was not interested in it. The less you know the better you sleep.

Surely, in the middle of the season Tatiana Anatolyevna comes to you and frankly expresses her opinion?

– She does not just come and say, she comes to training, often without warning. Tarasova’s peculiarity is that she always tries to look at you with fresh eyes. She does not see me every day, but this also her thing. She may visited us and then go back in three or four days to suggest something. She can be silent all the training or vice versa – to speak during the whole class. All the same, she helps. And she comes to all, she is everywhere, she comes to us, to dancers, pairs. Before the World Championships, she was with us more often than usual, because she was helping Lena Radionova, who was a substitute for Worlds.

Does Tarasova really help?

– What else can she do?

Helps, not annoyes?

– I have never said that she was annoying.

You haven’t said. But don’t you offense because of her comments?

– Whatever her comments are, I perceive them like this: you can take something from all that she says, from those life things, or you can tune out. She can say something emotional, if she’s not pleased with something. In general, I always listen to the opinion of the elders, moreover she has done a lot for me.

After the performance, you were warmly greeted by the Olympic champion Charlie White.  Are you frineds?

– Rather, we have been communicated well for a long time, probably, from the Olympics 2014. I remember we were doing show in Japan and he showed me some tricks with skating skills. He worked with me at rehearsals, I asked him. He showed me some secrets, how to adjust the steps, to make them more comfortable and more beautiful.  Charlie is a good guy. I generally communicate well with all athletes.

World Team Trophy is ahead, and when to rest?

–  In theory after the Team Trophy. I want to fly to the Dominican Republic for a couple of weeks.

by Anatoli Samokhvalov for


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