Maxim Trankov: “The masks are off. If earlier everyone smiled at us through their teeth, now everything is clear, everyone knows who the enemy is.”
Maxim Trankov spoke about the latest decisions of the ISU Congress and the scandal with Tutberidze.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 7th June 2022 by Dmitri Kuznetsov
Maxim, the main thing is probably the extension of the suspension of Russian athletes. Did anything surprising happen?
Maxim Trankov: Yes, it is expected, although, hope always dies last. Still, we were waiting for this decision, I think, and the athletes were also waiting, especially those who are thinking whether to continue or end their careers. But I can not call it unexpected.
Does this decision affect your motivation?
Maxim Trankov: All my motivation was gone back in 2014.
Well, won’t it affect your coaching career?
Maxim Trankov: No, because regardless of the congress, I would have decided whether to continue this activity or not myself, for me this will not be an impact. We will still think about what to do next.
No new information on the plans?
Maxim Trankov: Not yet.
And if we talk about skaters, will the decision affect some, probably?
Maxim Trankov: I can’t speak for others, but if, for example, I was on the verge of such a decision in life, maybe it would be even easier for me to make it. Because it is always difficult to change something in life. But in general, the mood of the athletes I know is more like this: we will practice now, and when this “special order” about our returning comes, we will go and beat everyone. I’m sure the guys have such an opinion. At least in the team I work for.
About the team in which you worked, in the USA they wrote that Diana Davis would change her citizenship to American. Eteri Tutberidze has already denied. What was that?
Maxim Trankov: I don’t know, for me the situation looks like this: when Russia and its athletes have now been suspended, then what else to talk about? Nothing and no-one to talk about. Especially for people as greedy for hype as bloggers. Now they do not have this “feeder”, there is nothing to discuss. That’s why, I think a guy posted this “fake”, such a last breath. There will be absolutely nothing else for them to talk about until we are back. Who else to talk about? Do we have any other figure skating stars outside of Russia? At least with such a resonance in terms of information? Of course, there are other champions there, but they are incomparable in terms of how much they have been talking about compared to our figure skating in recent years. There will be nothing more for them to say, so you can close your channels, especially after you start releasing some fakes that people immediately deny. For me, everything is clear in this story.
But if you generalize this question – if I were a Russian figure skater, the thought of changing citizenship would have appeared. Well, it appears, as they say. Especially since skaters have left our team before.
Maxim Trankov: There is no such support as in Russian sports anywhere else. Those who left did it not from a good life. They left because they could not get into the national team. It’s a personal choice for everyone, I can’t judge. If someone goes, please. It’s just going to be pretty difficult. You need to to be on quarantine for a year or two. And suppose, during this time, the Russians will be back to competitions. And what, neither here nor there? Difficult moment. Again, where to train, with whom to work, funding. If a person leaves the national team, it is unlikely that the federation, our sports functionaries will be loyal to the fact that this athlete will train in our schools. Of course, I understand some athletes. They do not get into the national team, they go to perform for their historical homeland or their parents’. Why not.
But I would not change sports citizenship, I had an episode when I did not do this. Long time ago, at the age of 18, there was an offer to perform for the USA, but I refused.
If we still look for a positive – we were not removed from the congress and they did not apply an amendment, on the basis of which our federation could be expelled from the ISU. It’s also important.
Maxim Trankov: It’s not that important – it’s just an anti-sports proposal, because then you need to start treating sports in a completely different way. Why is it then needed at all, this sport? If someone did not like something, everyone voted, and you are gone. It’s hard for me to imagine this in any other sport. Theater of the absurd. Therefore, it is just expected that it was impossible to accept. I don’t know what’s going on in the minds of the people who suggested this.
But we won’t talk about sports outside of politics, you hardly believe in it.
Maxim Trankov: Figure skating is just the kind of sport that was one of the first to refute this statement. Our whole world of figure skating has long been politicized. Previously, to a lesser extent, but now everything has reached a new level, the maximum. Now everything is clear to everyone. The masks are off. If earlier everyone smiled through their teeth, now everything is clear, everyone knows who the enemy is.
When we are back, that will also have an effect. Should we ignore this attitude or make some effort to regain trust and all that?
Maxim Trankov: No effort is required. Our athletes will just come, our girls, our pairs will come and put everything in its place. I’m sure it will be so.
The long-suffering age minimum has finally been officially raised. Is it bad?
Maxim Trankov: It is clear that it was started because of the girls, but in the end it hit all sports, pairs, synchronized skating. I’ve read Eric Radford’s opinion on this. I was surprised, because the person who himself skated to such an age – how old was he, 37 at the last Olympics? Almost set a record. And he says that you need to raise the age minimum in order to prolong careers. That is, how long does he want to skate, up to 45, 60 years? How much more it needs to be extended? That is, it was a little strange to hear it from him. Well, dude, you are a cool pair skater, and a multiple world champion, and an Olympic champion, a medalist. You competed at the Olympics at that age, it’s cool. And what are you talking about, what kind of age minimum? You skated at the age of 37. Will you skate till the pensionable age? We have examples in our discipline, pair skating, showing that we are doing just fine with career length. We skate the longest, we pair skaters are the oldest. Why was it done now? Unclear.
Didn’t Valieva’s case show that a person at the age of 15 skates among seniors, and in case of force majeure she answers like a child? Contradiction.
Maxim Trankov: I want to tell something else. We all shout about Zagitova, Valieva, Shcherbakova, Trusova, but for some reason everyone forgets that we have Liza Tuktamysheva. In her twenties, she jumps a quadruple toe loop and two triple axels. Nobody does this: not a single Japanese, American, Canadian. But our Liza, at 25, does it.
Would you also not raise the age minimum in women’s single skating?
Maxim Trankov: I wouldn’t change anything at all. I’m not interested in looking at those women who are being promoted by everyone, at their performances. They were never interesting to watch, and it became interesting only after our girls started jumping quads. Women have always been the most uninteresting discipline before. It is a fact. I’m tired of watching people for 20 years trying to collect five triple jumps. Watch them compete with triples.
Another event – the era of Alexander Lakernik ended. The age limit for ISU representatives has not been raised, and he will step down as head of the figure skating branch at ISU. How important is it for Russia that we have lost our man in such a post?
Maxim Trankov: Of course, Alexander Rafailovich is an iconic figure. He was among the developers of the new judging system, he made a lot of reforms for figure skating. How correct they were and how he worked to popularize figure skating can be seen in how much it has become a discussed and resonant sport. Everything is clear to everyone. But, firstly, age, and secondly, everything has its time. There is always someone new coming. Just like in sports, new names appear. We need to be philosophical about this and move on.
At the congress, he proposed to reduce the number of components from five to three. What do you think?
Maxim Trankov: We need to work in the new system or participate somehow in it. For me, this is just talks yet. I don’t really understand why this is done. For me, it’s just in order to do something.
Maybe you want to become a new name? You have already been a coach, now you can become a functionary.
Maxim Trankov: Me? Try? I don’t want to have anything to do with all this! If only life forces me to reconsider my step the way it was with coaching. I have never been a fan of figure skating.
Is it time to change profession? Given the economic events, many are thinking about changes in order to earn money.
Maxim Trankov: I think I can earn for myself and my children. Without having to sit on a chair at ISU. It never scared me. In general, I am categorically against the fact that athletes take part in political processes.
Anna Shcherbakova: “I try not to say too much. It would be better if they didn’t talk about me, rather than my words caused some kind of negative resonance. I don’t speak on any controversial topics.”