Nina Mozer: Our figure skating reminds me of New Year TV show

Posted on 2019-02-20 • No comments yet


Interview with Nina Mozer. About trends in figure skating, Tarasova-Morozov and Zabijako -Enbert.

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by Anatoli Samokhvalov for

I‘ll try to translate it) Hope I won’t get lost, because sometimes it’s too difficult to understand what she’s talking about.

Nina Mikhailovna, I saw you at the European Championships. Did you watch Russian Nationals?

– No. I wasn’t interested. Our figure skating reminds me of New Year tv show. I watched such on New Year Eve and after some hours they repeated the old one, from 12 years ago. I looked and saw that all the artists are the same. In figure skating the same thing happens – nothing changes. We are not moving. Years pass, the faces of skaters change, but the specialists are the same. The problem is that most of my colleagues go the same way. You know, I liked the old show more, it had some thought, an idea. In figure skating, something like this happens – programs like in the 80-90s, the same style. We don’t internally correspond to the changes that are happening in the world. And I understand that it doesn’t interest me at all.

Why do you think so?

– I have my projects in figure skating and communicate more and more closely with people from ISU. This is such a contact that I had never thought of before. Earlier we only welcomed each other, now we ask each other questions. And you know what question I hear most often?

Which one?

– “Why do Russians have no basic skating skills?” And I can’t answer it.

We have bad skating?

– You see, the trends are changing, but we are not. We don’t understand how figure skating develops. Softness, ease, tempo, rhythm, how the elements build in the program. I realized that we live in a confined space, and those who are trying to go beyond it are given a rap on the knuckles.

Who skates better than us?

– Little girls from Eteri Tutberidze’s group fit these modern requirements, but only this group. Who is better than us in the world? The whole East skates very well. Many Canadians are moving in a new direction.

But, for example our Mikhail Kolyada, he is light in style.

 – Light, but in the skating skills he’s inferior to the leaders. His skating skills are not the ones that are welcome now. Many don’t understand the difference in quality of skating. Look at those who win, their legs are like springs in each jump. They are like cats! Ours skate on a stiff feet. Dima Aliev, Artur Danielyan, for example, correspond the world trends. In pairs – Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers – Michael Marinaro. There are others, but for me these guys are cats.

Which of our skaters is really from the 90s?

– You want me to give you names?

Well, yes.

– I will answer you differently. There are almost no figure skaters whom I would like to watch again. At the competitions I am interested only in my athletes, others – with rare exceptions.

Don’t you really want to look at Alena Kostornaia for the second and third time?

– I like her very much, I’m ready to watch her more than once. Once I started to like Zhenya Medvedeva. Sochi. Russian Nationals. An interesting dress. Lovely girl. Spins well in the air. I liked the combination of her appearance and skating. In a year, we are at international competitions in Bratislava. I enter the room and hear the voice of an adult woman who speaks seriously. I turned my head and saw Medvedeva. At that moment, she amazed me for the first time. Such an adult intonation in such a small body. I was amazed by her eyes. And when I see her current problems, I understand that this is a natural maturation that she needs to survive. Absolutely everyone went through this – Masha Butyrskaya and Ira Slutskaya. Of course, Zhenya has been a star for many years, won everything and everyone talked about it. Then the physiological processes coincided with the change of coach, and now she runs like a race. But in general – leave her alone, she is a fan who will achieve what she wants.

I saw her in training. She is a real world champion without any reservations.

– The desire to show everything at once. As soon as she copes with these emotions, then everything will be fine. In my work I want to go the other way. We are preparing two senior pairs who will perform in a completely different style – Elizaveta Zhuk / Maxim Miroshkin and Karina Akopova / Maxim Shagalov. These two pairs are the dessert of my coaching career. It may not work out, but it will be my final experience in sport of high achievements. In this case, the operational work will be done by young coaches.

Russian figure skaters have good qualities – static, amplitude, stretched bodies. If you add skating which ISU requires, then, in my opinion, it will be interesting. I know that such figure skating will be unquestionably competitive.

Is it possible to achieve this trendy ease with the help of our coaches?

– Yes, of course, only you must work on it. Usually we don’t have time for this, we are in a hurry before competitions. In April, the season is over, by September we must have new programs and be in more or less decent shape. We don’t even have time to understand when the guys should be given rest, time to heal. And this fussy race does not allow us to try ourselves in something new.

After the Russian Nationals, there’re a lot of talks whether juniors should be allowed at senior competitions. And you say that people should be thinking about different things.

– Of course. Someone at 14 skates like a little woman, someone at 20 is impossible to look at. Sometimes you watch and think what a flying log is on the ice, but men sit and admire. And then Kaetlyn Osmond cause a standing ovation and you think: oh, God, what an energy. Or recently, a junior skated near me and I was stunned.

Who was it?

– Well, he is not from Russia. But he is the kind of people that makes you shudder with pleasure. This is what you want, and it is not so important is it a junior or a veteran.

How do you help Maxim Trankov in his work with Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov and Vladislav Zhovnirsky in preparing Natalia Zabijako and Alexander Enbert, since this is not interesting for you?

– It is necessary to understand that participation in the training process of these athletes is my work for today. I have been doing this work with great interest for many years. Now I’m nothing more than a consultant for them. This is a soft mode of work.

It seemed to me that you even made a bet on Zabijako / Enbert this season, taking into account the approach to the programs that are considered successful even by those experts who cannot be called your brothers in spirit.

– It’s not a bet. I spent more time with them than with Tarasova / Morozov, but this is normal in our situation. The ideas of the programs are mine. I thought that they would have ended their careers after the Olympic Games, but Natasha was obsessed with sports, and Sasha stayed. I offered them to try a different style.

Would you be pleased if they beat Zhenya and Volodya?

– It is important for me that both couples perform well. For four years we have been doing a great job, and I want it to continue to shine. I want to help them all, but I do not want to work with them closely. When at the beginning of the season Zhenya and Volodya had serious technical problems, and when Maxim Trankov asked me to help, I told him: Maxim, I will help with the elements they learned with me. And I will not interfere in the elements you worked on without me, such as flip throw, because I don’t understand the mechanism of your work on this element.

Tarasova / Morozov, Zabiyako / Enbert. Pairs brought up by you. Pairs whom you still help. But at the same time, these pairs do not correspond to your updated vision of figure skating, on the basis of which you want to create new, more modern pairs?

– Not anymore. The guys work very well, but now I want to create something completely different.

You can’t rebuild them?

– There’s no need, because they, as pairs, have already been created and formed. Now we are actually forming new pairs from scratch, when partners start only to feel the rhythm of each other. It’s important not to miss this moment, because only then you can experiment. During this period, the pairs forms its style. As soon as they caught their rhythm, that’s it! They will follow it the entire career. Now we are teaching our new pairs the style that is required by the ISU.

You were delighted with the coach-beginner Klimov. Half a year has passed. The attitude has not changed?

– Great attitude. He is a thinking guy, and this is the most important thing.

So you can completely trust him a pair?

– Yes, he knows what to do with athletes. He knows how to find those things that are necessary if you want to achieve a result. But first we need to see how his pair will perform in the first competitions, in the second.

Is Klimov more a coach than Thrankov?

– They are in completely different situations. Fedya started from scratch, Maxim has a couple with titles. Maxim Trankov – two-time Olympic champion, who deliberately stopped his career. Klimov faced with a choice what to do next after they were not allowed to go to the Olympic Games. I offered him to try coaching. And in a month, Klimov surprised me by learning a triple twist with a junior pair. A month later, the same team did a quad twist. Klimov communicates very well with athletes. I hate professionals who shout at the rink. A good coach knows how give the right information without raising your voice. Therefore, I want Fedor Klimov and Sasha Enbert to work in my team. I always knew that these two guys are so cultured, intelligent and smart that it’s pleasant to be near them. They never shouted at their partners, only helped them. Always! And Maxim is very emotional. When the tests of his coaching work began, at some point I realized that I was not ready to argue with Maxim daily, I was not ready to prove things to him that came to my work with experience. And that is why I really want him to create his own team, where he will be the leader, defining the concept and vision of his figure skating. He is talented and he will achieve results and coaching success.

Enbert, in my opinion, is an ideal Leningrad citizen.

– He is a perfect man. You know, one academician helped Sasha’s with his health. He told me: “Such a good guy! I will fight so everything to be good with him.” Sasha is such a nice person that they are willing to help him for free. Fedya is the same. Only more closed. But he had a different partner. With her he was closed. In order to get Klimov out from his shell, I learned to communicate with him. Now Fedya is smiling, he began to talk, he is happy. Now, when he opens his mouth, he can be heard. Previously, he just stood by during some kind of conversation. I say, his partner says, and then a low voice on the side: “If someone asks me …”. It was Fedya. This was his phrase of the last three years. At this moment I stopped with the words: “Fedya, forgive me.” Klimov and Enbert carry kindness, knowledge and humanity.

What happened with Sasha Enbert?

 Problems appeared in October. And then they accumulated. They had a tense schedule of competitions and the repeated medical examination showed overstraining, which did not allow the loads that was necessary in preparing for competitions. He is recovering. The pair does elements in training, but does not make run-throughs.

Is his career in danger?

– It will be known after another survey.

Tarasova / Morozov refused of the experiment and returned to the previous short program. Maxim Trankov noted that at last the guys understood that their style is wide skating. Isn’t it step back from new trends

– They went the last year’s free program path. Well, it’s nonsense! I told Maxim, “How could you make the same mistake twice?” They did not cope with the free program in the Olympic season. Now they are dragging the same style to the short. Volodya and Zhenya want to fight for victory in the World Championships, and with the former short they are not capable of that at all. They are big, tall, wide …

.. narrow profile?

– No, not narrow profile, but they need to create some kind of style. After all they did an ok free program. Although at first, experts from ISU told me that it was boring. But I liked it. It is gentle, soft, airy. You will not please everyone. If you are not a genius.


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