Tatiana Mishina: “It is not the best position to think that you are being discriminated against.”
On Friday, October 23rd, the third stage of the Russian Cup – starts in Sochi. For the first time this season, the leading figure skaters of Alexei and Tatiana Mishin’s group will appear on the ice: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Mikhail Kolyada, Sofia Samodurova, Anastasia Gulyakova.
Interview with Tatiana Mishina about her athletes, battle between Trusova and Valieva, judging and no major competitions in Russia.
by Alexander Makarov for sportsdaily.ru dd. 20th October 2020
Before the stage in Sochi, Alexei Nikolaevich took the group to the training camp in Novogorsk. Why didn’t you stay in Petersburg?
Tatiana Mishina: Sometimes it’s a good idea to spend a week at the training camp. There was a long quarantine, now there is an opportunity for a change of scenery. Novogorsk is simply good. All in one place. After all, in the current [coronavirus] conditions there is some safety. Everything is checked and controlled. It’s good that it happened.
What was the reason for bringing all your girls to the same stage? So that Alexei Nikolaevich does not make unnecessary trips during the coronavirus period?
Tatiana Mishina: At the moment when decisions about stages were made, there was a slight easing. Now the alarming situation due to the coronavirus is intensifying again. And then it just seemed logical in terms of timing. The guys were not quite ready for the first stages. In particular, Liza [Tuktamysheva] wanted to start later, Nastya [Gulyakova] changed boots … So we decided to start in Sochi.
Didn’t you look where your main competitors will compete? For example, Anya Shcherbakova is going to Sochi.
Tatiana Mishina: No. Now we have such a situation when strong athletes will be everywhere. There are no more stages where you come and win for sure. Now the winner will be the one who is better prepared, who will show his maximum.
How is Liza Tuktamysheva feeling? There was information that she withdrew from the free program at test skates in St. Petersburg at the end of September due to malaise.
Tatiana Mishina: There was no malaise. At one of the practices, Lisa injured her shoulder – she fell from a jump and got a sprain. Because of this microtrauma she withdrew.
How does she feel now?
Tatiana Mishina: Everything is fine. She trains and prepares. I don’t want to say too much before the competitions, but everything goes according to the plan.
Andrei Lazukin admitted that Liza’s new programs – to the music from the ballet “Spartacus” and the music of Bhima Yunusov to the miniature “The Chronicle of a Clockwork Bird” – are one of the best in her career. What do you think?
Tatiana Mishina: It does not happen that one can say about something – this is the very best. Liza had good programs before. Now Liza has a good short program done by Italian [Anna] Cappellini. Most often Liza has energetic, cheerful programs. Here she opens up – this is mature beautiful skating. It’s good that programs are in contrast. The free program was made together with Yura Smekalov back on self isolation. If Liza skates these programs well, they will be successful. Many experts liked them. For example, Alexander Kuznetsov (ISU technical specialist. – ed.), he especially noted the short program. The main thing is to do all the elements. As for the very best, I hope they are still ahead (smiles).
Sasha Trusova performed a triple axel for the first time at the stage in Moscow, a few days later in training – a quadruple loop. Kamila Valieva performed a triple axel with her arms above in training. Are you amazed at the progress of the girls or are you already can’t be surprised?
Tatiana Mishina: I’m still surprised (smiles). The quadruple loop is a very difficult jump. True, it is even more difficult to perform such jumps in programs. As for Valieva, she has already jumped a triple axel. She didn’t jump it only last season due to an injury. It so happens that if the left leg is injured, then it is not so painful to perform toe loop, while axel is much more painful.
Now she jumps it with arms.
Tatiana Mishina: Yes, and it’s really unique. Well done.
Taking into account the complication of programs by direct competitors, your skaters also need to show something new. Will we see Liza trying to perform some kind of quad in Sochi?
Tatiana Mishina: Hard to say. Before leaving for the training camp, Liza jumped a quadruple toe loop, but there were no clean landings. And such a jump is risky to include into the program. There will definitely be a triple axel in a short program and two axels in a free. Liza will continue to gain shape and restore the quadruple. Much depends on physical shape. There was a long break, then there was a shoulder injury … But Liza aims to jump a quadruple toe loop. If not at this competitions, then at the next.
Should we expect triple axels from Sonya Samodurova and Nastya Gulyakova in Sochi?
Tatiana Mishina: Nastya trains it all the time, before leaving she had good attempts. True, there were no completely rotated clean jumps, and such jumps lose a lot in points. Sonya also trains it, but there were no clean attempts.
That is, most likely, we shouldn’t expect triple axels from them in Sochi, but at the next stage?
Tatiana Mishina: I think yes. At the first official competition after a long break, it is better to do what you are doing more stable. And then move forward.
After the test skates in Moscow, absolutely everyone applauded to Misha Kolyada, rejoicing at his return. A little less than three weeks pass, and we find out that at the test skates in St. Petersburg he has a fall, a popped jump, a step-out and a gap from Andrei Mozalev of more than 20 points. How did the coaching staff react to such a change?
Tatiana Mishina: You have to understand that so far he has put only one quadruple jump into the programs – toe loop. In training, he also lands Salchow, but all this needs to be combined in programs. Of course, he didn’t go to the skates in St. Petersburg to lose. But it turned out that way. The saddest thing is when they pop a jump.
What is the main reason for this: lack of physical shape or psychological problems?
Tatiana Mishina: Probably, he still has psychological problems. Popped jumps periodically happens. But he himself understands everything perfectly. Now he is working on a program with two toe loops and two axels. But Salchow is also needed to have at least three quadruple jumps in the free program.
After the first two stages of the Cup, serious scandals about judging broke out. Do you have any concerns about this before the stage in Sochi?
Tatiana Mishina: No. We have never strongly resented the judging. We always think more about whether the athlete has completed everything. It is not the best position to think that you are being discriminated against. And by the way what is the scandal about?
Let’s give a concrete example. Do you understand how this is possible: Semenenko’s free program in Moscow, a mistake on the triple axel, but if the judge from Moscow Lolita Labunskaya puts “-1”, then the representative of St. Petersburg Polina Yakobs – “-5”? How can there be such a gap?
Tatiana Mishina: The gap, of course, is not in favor of our [Petersburg] judge. Maybe the St. Petersburg judge was afraid to deduct less …
But there was no fall.
Tatiana Mishina: Yes, Zhenya made a spread eagle on landing…
And Yakobs puts “-5”, like it was a fall.
Tatiana Mishina: We are also surprised … But Jacobs seems to treat us well, our athletes, there is no personal dislike. Maybe it’s believed that since you are a judge from St. Petersburg, you should judge the St. Petersburg figure skaters as fairly as possible. But, as you correctly noted, Zhenya did not have a fall … So “-5” is no longer fair.
A different situation. Kamila Valieva at the same stage in the short program got two “10” from judge Alexey Dvoinikov – for composition and interpretation of music. Evgeni Plyushcheno is sure that at the age of 14 you cannot get “10” for components. What do you think?
Tatiana Mishina: I don’t think age should be the determining factor. You can show everything at the age of 14. Valieva is quite an adult girl, feminine. It depends on developing.
So her “10s” are ok?
Tatiana Mishina: Sure. Kamila skated amazing short program. There can be no two opinions. And whether this is 9.8 or 10 – this is the individual opinion of each judge. They are fully entitled to give “10”. Especially for such a skate, in spite of the age.
It’s no secret that in Russian figure skating there is a confrontation between the schools of Eteri Tutberidze and Evgeni Plushenko. Being aside of this battle, do you see that someone’s scores are overestimated, and someone is underestimated?
Tatiana Mishina: It’s too early to draw any conclusions. There was only one competitions with the battle of their students. Somehow everything flared up too sharply after the stage in Moscow. Both girls are strong. The federation must be more responsive to what is happening. It should not be such that the judges are kept in awe by some screams. Whoever competes we must behave correctly in all respects. Probably, the Federation will take some steps so that the judges are not afraid and judge fairly. Single skaters have always been more trusted, controversial moments usually happened in ice dance.
Surely you do not really want to discuss the topic of judging again, only in relation to your students after the stage in Sochi.
Tatiana Mishina: Sure. I would like to concentrate on the performances, not scores.
The other day ISU named the countries that will host the World and European Championships in 2023. Russia was not among them. But there is the Japanese Saitama, which will host the world championship for the third time in the last ten years. Do you have an explanation for what is happening?
Tatiana Mishina: Hard to explain. Could it be related to Russia’s dominance in figure skating? In ladies’ skating and in pairs, we are the main contenders for all the medals. In ice dance we made a good step forward. Men are making progress. Maybe that’s the reason for bias? If we hold competitions, they are always at a high level. It’s a pity that we are not given major competitions. Lakernik must explain why this is so.
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