Maxim Trankov: “Working with Tarasova and Morozov, I’m writting my personal story, satisfying my own ambitions.”
Interview with Maxim Trankov. About coaching Tarasova – Morozov and victory at the Russian Nationals and remote work with Marina Zueva. Trankov told how he invited Sergei Voronov to the team, and explained why it makes no sense for athletes to show their strengths at the open training sessions.
source: by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya for russian.rt.com dd. 27th December 2020
It was noticeable that Zhenya Tarasova had a hard time skating in Chelyabinsk. Have the consequences of the disease affected?
Maxim Trankov: I would say that it was hard only at the very end of the program. Zhenya was really sick, but nevertheless, during the three weeks of training after she recovered and returned to the ice, we managed to do five or six run-throughs of the free program. It’s a lot. Usually in pair skating we do two run-throughs per week, Tanya Volosozhar and I, we did them even less often. Therefore, the guys were completely ready to compete at the Russian Nationals.
During Zhenya and Vladimir’s free program, you, standing at the board, made a hand movement, which can usually be seen at the hippodrome, when the audience makes a noise, urging the horse on. What did you mean by making this gesture?
Maxim Trankov: As far as I remember, the guys went to the combination of three toe loops, and I showed Vova with my hand: “Go on!” There is a moment in the combination when you need to go on the pushing leg. We worked a lot on this in training, and at the end, as it seems to me, Morozov managed to make his best combination of three toe loops in his entire career.
Tarasova and Morozov are one of the few leaders who have new free program for the current season. How difficult was it to cope with this task, given that Marina Zueva was not there?
Maxim Trankov: We had enough time to make the program, since the idea was formed back in the spring. Then Zueva and I decided that we would not change the short program. But a week before the test skates we still didn’t have this program, there was only a lay-out. We had to force the work on the program, do everything on the run, so until the very last moment I thought that it didn’t turn out very successful.
Do you think otherwise now?
Maxim Trankov: The viewers think otherwise, as it turned out. Many came up, said good words, noted that the program was very beautiful. I myself began to think: maybe it really turned out well? But to me, our free program still seems rough and unpolished in choreography. After all, our main expert in this regard – I mean Zueva – is overseas.
To what extent did Marina take part in the training process?
Maxim Trankov: Completely. Every day, when I was returning home after training, and this trip usually takes two hours, or even more, I called Marina, sent her video, we carried out a full analysis of the training, analyzed the elements, discussed plans for the next day, and so on. … This remote assistance and clear practical advice from Marina were very effective and useful for me as a coach. Zueva is an excellent teacher.
You at one time took the criticism of your pair with Volosozhar rather painfully. Over the past year, Tarasova and Morozov have been constantly compared with younger pairs, and the comparison was often not in their favor. So are the results. Does this hurt you as a coach?
Maxim Trankov: I haven’t seen such comparisons this season. On the contrary I felt support, and it inspired me. Well, I can add that with the reigning European champions (Alexandra Boikova and Dmitri Kozlovskii – ed.), we have a 2-0 score. It’s absolutely ok that younger pairs are getting closer and closer. It always helps to move forward. Tanya and I were also motivated at the time. This is not what we really think about. We have one very important pre-Olympic year, which we must spend as efficiently as possible. Yes, Zhenya and Volodya can already be considered age athletes. But I myself approached the Olympic Games in Sochi at about the same age, so I approximately understand how and what to do in work.
Sergei Voronov (two-time Russian national champion in single skating, medalist of two European championships – ed) appeared in your team this fall. Why he?
Maxim Trankov: To be completely honest, we just had no choice. I understood that Tarasova and Morozov had certain problems with jumps, I was looking for a specialist who could help us. At the summer training camp in Novogorsk I even asked Kirill Davydenko so that my guys could do some exercises on the ice, together with his skater Andrei Mozalev. For a month, we made good progress in jumps, and when after Novogorsk we managed to fly to America for training, we continued working on jumps with Igor Krokavets.
Well, with Voronov everything happened by accident. We have always been on good terms, at competitions and training camps we often lived together, talked a lot with each other. Sergei called in early October to wish me a happy birthday, and I invited him to training. In the end, we decided that we would try to work together. Voronov, when he was an athlete, trained with Alexei Urmanov, Eteri Tutberidze, Inna Goncharenko. This experience seemed promising to me. And most importantly, I was amazed how Sergei is motivated on serious work. He could have earned a lot of money with fairly easy work – giving lessons everyone who wants, but instead he chose the thankless job of a coach.
What pleased you the most in the performance of the guys?
Maxim Trankov: How Zhenya and Volodya spent the entire championship. How they trained, how they treated warm-ups, performances. It was a very adult and conscious attitude. Solid. I do not exclude that the judges were also impressed. As well as rivals.
In the free program, however, the throw did not turn out.
Maxim Trankov: This happened not because of a mistake, but rather because of too much desire to perform the element as well as possible. That’s why I didn’t really like the performance: in training, Zhenya and Volodya did all the elements clean.
Are pre-competition open training sessions some kind of special strategy?
Maxim Trankov: No. The skaters have such a trick – to show the best parts of the programs in open training, but we did not do it. Moreover, before, Zhenya and Volodya always tried to show their excellent twist in training. All the time that we work together, I tried to convince them: there is no point in showing an element when the whole world already knows that it is the best. In training, you need to work on your weaknesses. Although in this regard, each specialist has his own approach. For now, I can only share my own experience with the guys.
There are almost three months left until the World Championships, if it takes place this season. Will you look for additional competition options?
Maxim Trankov: Now our task is to draw up a further work plan. We will see what the figure skating federation will offer, and only then make a choice.
And perform in New Year’s shows?
Maxim Trankov: Even Tanya and I don’t have such offers. We are not particularly in demand on such shows. Well, I myself moved away from this, taking up coaching.
Once you’ve said that you disappointed in the profession.
Maxim Trankov: It’s true. It’s just in my nature to adhere to the principle: if you take up something, do it well. Working with Tarasova and Morozov, I am writing my personal story, satisfying my own ambitions. And I don’t know, to be honest, if there is another skater who won the Russian Nationals with two different partners and then did it as a coach.