Rafael Arutyunyan: “There is nothing good in the suspension of any country. If there are no contenders for medals at the main competitions of the season, this is a loss.”
Interview with Rafael Arutyunyan. About the results of the Junior World Championships and competitions in the absence of Russian skaters.
source: rsport.ria.ru dd. 18th April 2022 by Boris Khodorovskii
In Tallinn, in a free program, nine juniors tried to perform quadruple jumps with varying degrees of success. Does this speak of a high level of competitions?
Rafael Arutyunyan: The level was good. Malinin dominated, who had already performed at the senior World Championships. There are a few more guys out there. Kazakhstani Mikhail Shaidorov, a skater of Alexei Urmanov, had three quads in the free program. I really liked the Estonian boy Mikhail Selevko.
Malinin had tree different quads out of his four – toe loop, salchow and lutz …
Rafael Arutyunyan: In training, Ilia also jumped flip, showed loop. He performs all quads quite concistently, which he showed at the current competitions.
What happened to your athlete Stepan, or, in the Canadian way, Stephen Gogolev?
Rafael Arutyunyan: The fact that he competed again after almost a three-year break can be considered an achievement. It was necessary to show that the guy is still “alive”. After all, he has grown to 180 cm, and given the huge break in training and performances, fifth place at the World Junior Championships is an excellent achievement.
Gogolev is not going to switch to pairs?
Rafael Arutyunyan: No. The guy jumps well, he’s well coordinated – he will perform as a single skater. It was a shock for me when Stephen, who grew by 30 cm and did not train for a long time, performed a quadruple jump. I had to work carefully with Gogolev. During the growth period, it was also necessary to heal a back injury.
How does the professional coaching environment feel about the suspension of Russian skaters?
Rafael Arutyunyan: There is nothing good in the suspension. No matter what country the skaters are from. The task of the national federations and the ISU is to give athletes the opportunity to compete. If there are no contenders for medals at the main competitions of the season, this is a loss. Although the Russians still performed in Tallinn. Only for other national teams. Even the American Malinin and the Canadian Gogolev have Ural roots! Kazakhstani Shaidorov trains in Sochi with Urmanov, Israel’s Lev Vinokur trains in Moscow, and Georgyi Reznichenko, representing the Czech Republic, is from St. Petersburg. Many coaches communicated with each other in Russian.
With a probability of 99.9 percent at the ISU Congress, the FFKKR will be expelled or suspended. Does the leadership of the International Skating Union listen to the opinion of athletes and coaches?
Rafael Arutyunyan: Now everything is mixed into one cocktail, with an unpleasant aftertaste. Skaters should be able to compete at the highest level. This is my principle position.
The biggest loss for the Junior World Championships 2022 is the absence of Russian junior ladies, who showed at Nationals a content at the level of Olympic medalists…
Rafael Arutyunyan: It’s clear to everyone.
Is the absence of serious rivals for the American Isabeau Levito, who became the world champion, a plus or a minus?
Rafael Arutyunyan: In order to become a champion it was a plus, but in order to feel the atmosphere of rivalry, probably a minus.
With the same probability of 99.9 percent, at the next ISU congress, a decision will be made to change the age of switching from juniors to seniors. Your figurative comparison of young champions with disposable cups and the desire to drink coffee from porcelain cups has become widely known in Russia…
Rafael Arutyunyan: In no case did I want this phrase to be part of a PR campaign. When I raised the issue of age, I was sure that someday ISU leaders would come to the need for reforms that would allow young skaters to prolong their sports career. Although now this issue has faded into the background after the decision to ban Russian and Belarusian skaters.
During the Olympics in Beijing, you said that it would be difficult to endure another four-year cycle and prepare a champion of Milan. When the first emotions subsided, did the plans change?
Rafael Arutyunyan: No, of course not! I will continue to work, but without the previous zeal and enthusiasm. I would not object if one of my assistants takes on the role of future Olympic champion coach, and leaves me with the functions of a mentor.
Has Olympic champion Nathan Chen not changed his plans to focus on his studies?
Rafael Arutyunyan: In any case, it will become his priority. Whether he will continue to train and perform, I can’t say yet. It is very difficult to immediately put an end to a brilliant career. Chen will decide this himself, but I really like the magic of numbers: 6+3+1. Six-time US champion, three-time world champion, Olympic champion. Beautiful, agree!
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