Tatiana Tarasova: “When the program goes from beginning to end with applause, it is no longer so important what kind of music plays”
Interview with Tatiana Tarasova. About Alexandra Trusova’s quads, triple axel and Evgenia Tarasova – Vladimir Morozov trainings with Eteri Tutberidze.
source: russian.rt.com dd. 23d September 2020 by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya
When Trusova won her first competitions in the USA, having skated both of her programs not very well, you said: “Sasha skates very well and jumps very well. But I can’t like the performance with the falls.” In this regard, the question is: can an athlete whose goal is the Olympic Games keep in shape for almost six months? And how did you solve these issues yourself, when you worked with Alexei Yagudin?
Tatiana Tarasova: It is unlikely that I have the right to give someone advice on the basis of my own experience now. Each coach leads an athlete in his own way. You can outline two peak moments in the season, between which you can slightly “lower” the shape, changing the load every week.
Should the content of the program also be changed along the way?
Tatiana Tarasova: Not necessary. I would say that as you gain shape, speed, expressiveness of skating are added, the performance of not even every element, but of all its components – entry arcs, every rotation, landings, the refinement of every gesture, getting into musical accents, and so on.
Lyosha Yagudin had two quadruple jumps, which at that time was considered incredibly difficult. Accordingly, already in the process of choreographing the programs, it was clear how to arrange the rest of the elements so that they did not interfere with the quads. Trusova has five quadruple jumps, and this, of course, is a completely different story.
At the test skates in Chelyabinsk, it seemed to me that Sasha’s program is quite convenient.
Tatiana Tarasova: It is very important to ensure that it is comfortable for an athlete to skate. We have begun a conversation with Trusova’s performance in America, and, in my opinion, it should not be assessed in any way at all.
Do you think acclimatization could have affect?
Tatiana Tarasova: Quite possible. I, unlike other coaches, do believe that this phenomenon exists. Acclimatization, like all the related problems in the condition of an athlete, has always been, is and will be. One day the training may go well, or maybe it won’t go at all, so I never liked to come to competitions when there was no opportunity to pre-acclimatize. While I was living with my skaters in America, I tried to make sure that they competed at the American Grand Prix stage, and if we had to perform in Europe, we tried to find an opportunity to return to Moscow in advance. But not in two or three days before the competition.
In your opinion, how critical is it in general, that Trusova makes mistakes on jumps at the beginning of the season?
Tatiana Tarasova: Let’s start with the fact that she is a unique girl, outstanding. There is no such figure skater in the world and has never been. And it is not a fact that such will appear in our century.
Sure. But everyone wants her not to make mistakes also …
Tatiana Tarasova: It doesn’t work that way. In figure skating, even those who do not make difficult jumps at all fall. Take the leading male single skaters: not all of them will jump three quads in a free program, and we are talking about five. Of course, we should understand that Sasha goes to the absolute maximum in the Olympic season. It seems to me, as I said, that the jumps in her program are placed very well, and this is the main thing. So this free program just need to be prepared. And to such a state that the rest of the rivals, going on the same ice with Sasha, understand that they can only fight for second place.
When you coached Ilia Kulik and Alexei Yagudin, at what point in the season did it become crucial that they did not make mistakes on quadruple jumps?
Tatiana Tarasova: If you set the task to win the main competition, you need to strive to skate well all season. You need to be highly scored already in the short program. And at the time of Kulik and Yagudin, as you remember, the concept of “high” meant one tenth of a point. You got 5.8 or 5.9. The difference seems to be small, although in fact it is huge.
Turns out that for Trusova an ideal short program with a triple axel is more important now than five clean quads in a free?
Tatiana Tarasova: On my part, it would be wrong to give any advice and recommendations, because the girl, like her entire coaching staff, is following the path that none of us has gone yet. In training, Sasha makes her jumps so easily that you try to understand how this is even possible.
At the same time, it is not for the first season when she loses the short program to her rivals.
Tatiana Tarasova: It’s easy to explain. Trusova is doing a program with a triple axel and so far fails this jump in competitions. As soon as they manage to stabilize her axel, everything will fall into place.
Based on your experience how difficult is this last step from a shaky jump to a stable one?
Tatiana Tarasova: I do not see shakiness. During the warm-ups, she jumps axel perfectly. Not in a women’s manner. You just need to understand what a difficult jump is. Make a little different entry compared to training, in time it is a quarter of a second, and the execution will already be different.
It turns out that the key to success is not in the jump itself, but in the entry?
Tatiana Tarasova: Exactly. And in the extent of automatism.
And the nerves have nothing to do with it?
Tatiana Tarasova: When the music starts playing, a high-class skater, as a rule, is not nervous anymore. But in general I want to say that I do not look at the skaters’ performances the way you, journalists, do.
What do you mean?
Tatiana Tarasova: I perceive the performance as a whole, and do not strive to disassemble the program into its components. This is impossible and wrong. This should be done by a personal coach: to disassemble jumps, other elements, entries to these elements. There are convenient, as well as inconvenient, moments in the program of every athlete. The professional eye catches them, of course, but this is not a reason to give someone a recommendation.
Did you like Trusova’s Olympic programs?
Tatiana Tarasova: Yes, both of them. I like the choice of music, I like the emphasis on what the athlete does best in the world. Sasha began to spin better, and this can be seen with the naked eye. She skates not just well, but very well. But most importantly, I remember both of her programs. I cannot say the same about many other programs. Somehow they didn’t stay in my head, which is very strange.
Are you saying that Olympic programs need to be more catching?
Tatiana Tarasova: I think so. On the other hand, perception also changes over the season. Elements are got polished, so applause appears, which always adorns the skating, changes the overall picture. In pair skating all programs are choreographed in a way to emphasize the elements first. There are elements – the audience will begin to react accordingly. And when the program goes from beginning to end with applause, it is no longer so important what kind of music the skaters skate to.
Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, whom Eteri Tutberidze undertook to train this season, did you like them at the test skates?
Tatiana Tarasova: I would say that they are no worse than others, they are quite capable of fighting. I did not see any global changes, such that one could say “Wow!”, But this is not surprising. When people skate with a new coach for only a little over two months, there can be no wow effect.
At least I don’t remember such examples in pair skating. On the other hand, you asked about Tarasova and Morozov, and I’ll ask a counter question: if we are talking about the wow effect, did some other duo, no matter from pairs or ice dance – have it?
In my opinion, no.
Tatiana Tarasova: And we are planning to win the Olympic Games with these pairs.
You yourself said that the beginning of the season is not the time when you need to make far-reaching conclusions.
Tatiana Tarasova: Absolutely right. As for the current situation, there is a good saying: never let fools see half-finished work.