Tamara Moskvina: I’m not at risk, I’m only 22 … Up to a hundred
Two recent interviews with Tamara Moskvina. How to stay positive on quarantine and what to do.
– As bad as they can be. This is the first time for all of us. Now we should think about the blue sky, about the sometimes cold, but still warm sun. We need to see the smiles of people, to find charms in the opening leaves, in the green grass. To find charms even in empty streets – what a fresh air.
It’s harder for athletes to sit around.
– But athletes can take care of their personal lives. Find something they did not have enough time for during the season. You can work on professional skills in isolation. For example, view your programs or study the masterpieces of your competitors, to be able to compete with them on equals. I urge everyone day after day to look for something that you can enjoy.
– There are so many things in life: professional activity, nature, art. Many do not watch TV, but even there are many interesting programs. You can watch something beside horror stories. Horror stories, of course, are also interesting for young people and people with a certain nervous system. It is necessary to alternate the interesting with horror, exciting, romantic, artistic, technical. There are so many interesting things in life!
And what do you personally do?
– What I told you about. There are still other businesses – maintaining the health of my husband Igor Borisovich Moskvin, our honored coach. He is already 90 years old! He is at risk [due to coronavirus]. Me – no, I am only 22 … Up to a hundred. We are strong in spirit, with strong nerves, we always find positive moments in everything and try not to let some negative moments defeat us.
Tamara Nikolaevna, despite all the talk about coronavirus, the decision to cancel the World Championships in Montreal was unexpected for many. What was your reaction, the reaction of the athletes, coaches of your Club?
– For me, cancelation was not a surprise. Taking into account, the way things were going with coronavirus in other countries, I, as an experienced person, knew this сould be a long process. It always take some time, from the first symptoms, when people think that it’s okay, to the realization of how serious all this is, what it can lead to. So I assumed that the World Championships, with a large number of spectators, skaters from different countries, is better to postpone or cancel. In any case, it seemed logical to me.
I don’t know about other coaches, but I always look and evaluate the probability of events. And I was ready that the Championships might not take place.
Did you prepare the athletes for this in order to help the situation after the final decision was announced?
– Closer to the championships, at every training session (when, for example, in Italy the situation with the virus became quite tragic and difficult), I began to say to the guys, by the way: the championship can be canceled, but we’ll see … That is, slowly prepared them for the possible negative scenario. Since at that moment no one knew for sure what would happen, we continued to train as usual.
Sasha Boikova and Dima Kozlovskii were in a very good shape, very good. And since the guys do not have such a life experience as surviving a “bummer” – the unfulfillment of what they were ready for, their reaction to the cancelation of the Worlds was, let’s say, difficult. We were supposed to fly to Canada on Sunday, but a few days before, it seems, on Tuesday, they announced that World Championships was cancelled. We immediately gave the guys a day off, because they had to get used to the news, to come to their senses. Yes, for them it became, if not a tragedy, then a serious shock and misfortune.
And then I told my athletes “You can’t compare the unfulfillment of your plans with the consequences of the impact of the virus on people’s health, because for someone it ends tragically – people die. Put on one scale your participation in the World Championships, your ambitions for the result and the fact that people become infected and fall ill. These are disparate things.”
At first, no one could predict how things would unfold, it was necessary to adapt to new conditions quickly, to rebuild training. How did you act as a senior coach of the Club?
– Our Club does not have as many athletes as other schools, and while there was no quarantine, we continued to work. Immediately began to think what we can do in the current situation, switched to preparing programs and elements for the next season.
Of course, right after the World Championships was canceled, no one planned that the government would take a decision about self-isolation, that sports centers would be closed for quarantine. But I always say: if this happened – cancelation of the championship, quarantine, self-isolation … This has already happened, this cannot be changed, it is necessary – so it means that we should think what can be done in this situation. In other words, perceive the situation as a given and seek solutions based on this.
How do you communicate with the guys now?
– We are constantly in touch: phone, skype … I communicate with them mainly by phone, WhatsApp. They are among themselves in social networks … We discuss plans for the season. The guys are training at home, doing schoolwork …
There are some questions regarding planning, and this is connected with the exams – Sasha Boikova’s SATs. The deadlines have already been postponed several times, and we are monitoring the situation. Nastya Mishina and Alexander Galliamov joined our Club, and their training and school plans should also be taken into account.
You have a lot of experience, and you can motivate your athletes even in the most difficult situations. However, force majeure as the current one has never happened before, but what can this situation be compared with when preparation is suspended, and how long will it take to return shape?
– Relatively speaking, the situation can be modeled on the example of an injury that does not allow the athlete to skate. Accordingly, when the skater comes after the break, the restoration of technique, shape and so on gradually begins. For each athlete, this process is individual, a lot depends on what kind of injury he had.
Before, when there were no difficult jumps and other elements, such programs, when on each element you should perform additional actions to get levels of difficulty, it was possible to recover in a month. But we must also take into account that in pair skating there are two athletes, not one and both of them you should prepare to a certain date. And people are different – with different psychology, motivation and so on. Therefore, you watch how athletes recover, to compromise, at first ease the elements …
In fact, this is not quickly, and in one interview you cannot tell all the nuances. But on the experience of restoring my athletes, athletes of other coaches, single skaters you can build effective schemes.
This is not only about situations with injuries. There were cases when athletes switch to professionals, for example, Katya Gordeeva – Sergei Grinkov. After winning the Olympics in Calgary in 1988, they performed until 1991, then took a break in amateur sports. They returned for the Olympics in Lillehammer in 1994, recovered and won gold from Natalia Mishkutenok – Artur Dmitriev, who had remained in sports all this time, had been preparing …
The situations are different, but athletes and we will continue to prepare, work. And then, a lot depends on muscle memory. High-level athletes have developed good muscle memory, which allows them to recover faster.
The situation with coronavirus is developing against the backdrop of political, and most importantly, economic changes in the world. How serious can the consequences be for sports, figure skating in particular. In your opinion?
– I read, listen to news, speeches of politicians, officials, economists, analysts and extrapolate the difficulties that have already arisen, and which will increase, to sports. Yes, of course, the current situation will have a serious impact on many aspects of life, including the financial component. But again, I repeat what I say to the guys: they can reduce our funding, number of competitions, reschedule them, cancel something, reduce funding for trips to the competitions and so on, but this can’t be compared with the damage that people who work in different fields, workers with low salaries will get. Therefore, let’s objectively evaluate your occupation with your favorite sport, good conditions compared with possible global consequences.
If, for example, your conditions are worse than now, the world revolution will not happen. But people who lose their salaries, lose their jobs, and there will be many of them, their losses will be much more significant. Therefore, compare and you will assess the situation and the negative consequences more adequately.
It’s not a big deal. Sport is not a bakery, not a factory that produces essential goods that people cannot do without. This is my explanation.
But in general, no doubt, the consequences of what is happening will have an impact on our lives. Now it’s quite difficult to predict the development of the situation. Financiers, economists around the world are working on it, but it’s difficult to propose concrete measures. So, we also will make our own adjustments. But, in spite of everything, we will try to do our job with the means that we have.
This happened before, in Soviet times, when Soviet athletes was winning, although we lacked a lot in comparison with our rivals. But then we did not talk about it. Did not complain. Did not cry. We thought and searched how and what can we do. How, for example, to make mesh sleeves on a costume… In those days, we didn’t have such fabric in the Soviet Union. We took tights, cut off the piece and sewed on – so we got fashionable sleeves … Of course, this is an exaggerated example. But still we had to be creative!
Not always we had enough ice, so we worked on the floor, at the stadium. Came up with additional exercises, from gymnastics, acrobatics … Trained a lot, went and competed on equal terms. And I understand: our main goal then and now is to give pleasure to people who watch the performances of our skaters, rejoice, discuss, get involved in the process as fans … And this is the main thing – to give pleasure to the residents of our city, country … This is what we will do. No matter what. That is my motto.
What advice would you give to coaches and athletes in this situation?
– First: don’t worry twice about bad things that have already happened. Since this all has already happened, you do not have to worry about the same thing repeatedly over and over again.
Second advice. See your goal, where to go. Let it be even the goal of cleaning an apartment, a room, or bringing your school records in order or something else. It is necessary to set a goal and try to do what is possible, while there is no ice and opportunity to do sports, so that later, when such an opportunity appears, there would be no businesses that distracted you.
And the third one. Today I looked out the window: the sun, leaves on the trees, green grass … Well, guys the time has come to enjoy it! In a hurry of life we often do not pay attention such things, sometimes we forget to call our relatives, close ones … Now the life situation has provided us with such an opportunity. Take advantage of it!