Maxim Trankov: “Tarasova and Morozov – the last classic pair in figure skating”
Interview with Maxim Trankov about the results of Tarasova/Morozov at the European Championships, working with Tutberidze and upcoming Olympics.
source: tass.ru dd. 15th January 2021
Maxim, your pair placed second at the European Championships. Any comments on them?
Maxim Trankov: Of course, I always have comments on the performance, Zhenya and Volodya had mistakes – on the throw in the short program, on the jump in the free program. This can and should be fixed. But the biggest plus for me personally, following the results of the European Championships, is that they started to understand how to get out of the psychological hole where they were during the last couple of seasons.
At the last competitions, they mentally stepped over it. Even with mistakes, this is really a breakthrough in terms of psychology. And so now they are slightly different athletes, and it is much easier for coaches to work with them.
How is it shown?
Maxim Trankov: This is clearly seen in everyday work, in training – they understand the goal, go for it, and at the European Championships they really showed themselves as a top pair. I’m especially pleased that after the performances, experts and judges approached me – they all noted this and congratulated us. Many said that “finally they skated the way they did it, the way they can do it.”
What does their European silver mean to you?
Maxim Trankov: For me, their silver is truly with a golden sheen. I know better than anyone how difficult their path to this medal was. But first of all, we are sincerely pleased not with the award, but with the work that we were able to do.c
Almost all experts noted very high scores for the components that Tarasova and Morozov got in Tallinn.
Maxim Trankov: Everything is simple here. Components are there when they skate almost without mistakes, without super-fails that affect the integrity of the program. Even at a six-minute warm-up, you can always see the level, appearance, even the philosophy of skating.
For me, Zhenya and Volodya are the last classic pair, like of the Soviet era, and this can be seen immediately when they stepp on the ice.
Our rivals are wonderful, but if we are talking about the classics that judges, spectators, and fans of pair skating are used to, Tarasova/Morozov is really such a pair.
In general, what can be said today about the level of international rivalry in pair skating following the results of the European Championships?
Maxim Trankov: The general level of pair skating in Europe does not warm my heart, and this is sad. When we skated, we had German, French, and Ukrainian pairs as rivals, when Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov were skating. And now…
It’s really sad, because only in competition you can progress. And now it turns out that the competition at the Russian Nationals is higher than at the European Championships.
It turns out that our pairs have no rivals in Europe, but at the Olympics we will compete with the Chinese?
Maxim Trankov: Yes, the Chinese are our main rivals today. A number of other pairs can also beat us, but only in case of our own mistakes.
After the result at the European Championships, there were talks about pair’s prospects for the Olympic team event.
Maxim Trankov: It’s hard to guess. But I know that there are such conversations, although I also hear a lot of skepticism about this. We, in turn, can just work, skate, train, hope. Of course, we want to take part in the team event, and I as its participant in the past, as an Olympic champion, I would like to be the coach of the participants of the Olympic team event. I think that both me and my pair still deserve the right to participate in the team event.
A few years ago, when you were just starting to work with Tarasova and Morozov, you said in an interview that bringing your pirs to the Olympic Games is your main coaching dream. Now you are just half a step away from its fulfillment.
Maxim Trankov: It’s true, yes, it’s my dream. And when we became the third pair at the Russian Nationals – and the third place in figure skating is quite replaceable, as thay say, the chair staggered. But already a couple of hours ago I signed certain papers for the participants in the Olympic Games and, of course, exhaled a little. Now I already understand that if there is no force majeure, my dream is quite feasible.
Are you ready to continue your coaching career after the Beijing Olympics?
Maxim Trankov: Much will depend on Vova and Zhenya. These are my athletes, I’m their coach, I work with them, so I basically didn’t take other pairs who contacted me. Maximum help and advice. That’s why I say that everything depends on their decision to continue their career after the Games. But now we have only one task in our head, we go to it and do not think ahead.
In the Olympic season, you began to work at the Khrustalny base with the team of Eteri Tutberidze. How did the cooperation develop?
Maxim Trankov: On my own behalf, I want to thank the entire coaching staff of Khrustalny, our entire staff and personally Eteri Georgievna, who joined this adventure when we started working together. She delved into our problems, we got a home. When you’re a homeless skater, that’s one story, now it’s completely different.
We have become part of this family, gaining tremendous experience. Every day I came and got enjoyed the fact that I was with these people on the same ice arena. Everyone got involved in work with us. Sergei Dudakov always came to the last part of our training to help us with jumps – every morning he brought coffee, and we started. He is a workaholic who comes to the rink even on well-deserved weekends. This fanaticism was an absolute revelation for me.
And Eteri Georgievna?
Maxim Trankov: Eteri Georgievna keeps everyone in good shape, manages the process. She constantly spurred the very calm, measured Volodya and Zhenya, kindled the desire to work, stepping over herself. She charged them with her energy.
Danya Gleikhengauz also invested a lot in the guys – he does a tremendous job, there are no trifles for him, all day long he is looking for some choreographic finds, he constantly comes up with some new programs, studies dance performances, he is completely absorbed in creativity. When such a team is on the ice, it’s incredibly motivating, it’s hard to just skate and not grow.