Sergei Rozanov and Benoit Richaud: “The way figure skating is done in Russia is an example for the whole world”
Interview with Sergei Rozanov and Benoit Richaud. About their training camp, age minimum, Aliona Savchenko and plans for the season.
source: sobesednik.ru dd. 2d August, 2021 by Denis Zinchenko
Tell us about the format of the training camp – is it something like abroad training camp and master class?
Benoit Richaud: PeakIce training camp is the only place where top skaters from all over the world gather. Here it has become the norm for me to work 12-14 hours a day. I work very closely with skaters to help them to develop a strategy when choosing a program, define their individual style, and together we identify areas where they need to improve.
Sergei Rozanov: We start at 6-7 am and finish at 9-10 pm. Only one day off – Sunday. Here everyone can choose an individual program for themselves. The training camp takes place in the mountains at an altitude of 1400 meters, in such a climate athletes have to overcome themselves even more during the run-through of the program.
Sergei, is there a difference in working with Russian and foreign athletes?
Sergei Rozanov: Working with foreign athletes is certainly easier, as they clearly know what they want. They pay for knowledge and use the advice they got here and now, without wasting time. The work is based on partnership.
Benoit, your modern style is gradually taking over the world figure skating, but you almost doesn’t work with the Russians, with the exception of Alexei Mishin’s group.
Benoit Richaud: I would like to work with other Russian skaters very much. The way figure skating is done in Russia is an example for the whole world. Innovations from Russia move figure skating to a new level every time.
Benoit, tell us about your collaboration with Rika Kihira and Liza Tuktamysheva. Do Japanese and Russian girls have a different attitude to sports and training?
Benoit Richaud: They are completely different skaters both in style and strength. Rika is a very talented athlete with a lot of technical potential – I’m not sure I’ve seen anything like this before. Liza is a real role model, she brings femininity and wisdom to our sport.
Benoit, why are you supporting of raising the age minimum for figure skating?
Benoit Richaud: The main reason is the desire to see more consistency in the sport and longer careers, especially in women’s figure skating.
Now we have Alena Savchenko at the training camp. She got to the Games in Turin in 2006. Alena is 37 years old, and she is preparing for the next Olympics, and she is in great shape.
Experts note that 15-20 years old girls and those who are 20 and older are so different in figure skating that it is impossible to compare them. It’s not only a changing body, but also psychology: a growing fear of jumps, unsuccessful performance and competition. Returning to Alena Savchenko, I want to inform you that at the moment she is looking for a new partner.
Why did you choose Sergei as your companion in the camp?
Benoit Richaud: I am the person who makes decisions, trusting his instinct. With Sergei, from the very beginning I felt mutual understanding and kinship of souls, it is interesting for us to work together. Sergei is also appreciated on the world stage. European and American skaters know him well and want to work with him. Skaters, coaches and parents at the camps already see significant progress thanks to his precise technical method.
Benoit, what is your priority right now at this stage?
Benoit Richaud: I continue to choreograph programs for top athletes. created a show called “Carte Blanche”. This is a new direction in ice shows, where we created a semblance of modern ice ballet. And the third is the PeakIce training camp with a big vision: the highest quality training for skaters of all levels and nationalities.
Benoit, do you think the pandemic had a strong impact on the balance of power in figure skating ahead of the Winter Olympics?
Benoit Richaud: The pandemic divided skaters into two camps: someone quickly adapted to online classes, and for someone it was very difficult to find motivation. The most difficult it was for those who like to compete and perform. They have to keep training without being able to show their accomplishments or progress in competitions. Despite all this, I still think that the podium will not change much. The strongest skaters will win, despite all the obstacles in their path.
Sergei, recently there was loud news that you are leaving the Evgeni Plushenko’s Academy. What are your plans for the season now?
Serge Rozanov: We are on good terms with Evgeni Plushenko. I hope that we will continue to communicate well. We are always in touch. I left for 2 months to work, we agreed on it.
When I decided to leave, I informed Evgeni and his wife Yana Rudkovskaya. Evgeni often works with specialists on a freelance basis, this is usual practice both in Russia and in the world. If there is an opportunity to cooperate in a freelance format and I have free time, I will work with pleasure. As for my new place of work, as soon as I start working there, I will let you know.