Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov: Coaching tandems give a result
Interview with Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. Mostly about coaching Tarasova and Morozov.
How was the idea to write a book born?
Maxim: Our private life with Tanya was discussed a lot, some stories began to appear. Friends advised to write a book, and we took a task on. Tanya wrote a prologue and an epilogue, our friend helped us in our work. Those who know my character will understand how difficult it all was for us.
This book is more about me, about my family. I have an interesting family, not only in terms of sports and creativity. In this book I tell about all my partners, about my “nice” character, coaches, about each of our programs, about every costume. And how Tatiana and I became a couple not only on the ice, but also in life. The next book will be about Tanya.
Which program will remain the most beloved?
Maxim: “Jesus Christ Superstar”, it was my dream to skate this program. And this dream didn’t only come true, with this program we became Olympic champions.
Tatiana: My favorite is “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence. I’m a soft person, I’m closer to the lyrical style, it was easier for me to skate it. And of course, the free program of the same season “Black Swan”. I wanted to show myself from different sides.
Maxim: When we teamed up, Tanya was our technique, I was for artistry. And these two programs just turned her over, she played the first violin.
Since you told about your victorious Olympic free program, I can’t help but ask: what is the fate of those yellow pants in which you performed? Then only the lazy didn’t comment on such choice of the costume.
Maxim: At home, they are waiting for their fate, perhaps for a place in the museum. By the way, recently, for the first time in many years, I decided to read the comments on the Internet. Mostly about Evgenia Tarasova – Vladimir Morozov with whom I started to work as a coach, than about me. And I noticed that the same anonymous user strongly and aggressively criticized our costumes. Each was “terrible”, and yellow pants – “just a nightmare”.
Another would be offended, but I thought – how cool that after so many years after the Games people still talking about those yellow pants. It’s unlikely that anyone will remember who wore what at one or another Olympics, but those pants are remembered. And my uniform from the short program “Masquerade” by Khachaturian is also remembered.
Tatiana: In Japan, I remember, people cheered for us with yellow flags, in the color of those trousers. Costumes for the “Masquerade” are now in the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
Maxim: By the way, those yellow have a secret. I will not tell what it’s. It seems I even came up with the title of the sequel of the book that was published – “The Secret of the Yellow pants”.
Tatiana, Maxim, how did it happen that not long ago you performed in pair skating and now Max became the coach of Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov – the leading sports pair, participants of the 2018 Olympics?
Maxim: It wasn’t my initiative, it was their choice. Before this we have worked together for a couple of months in the most difficult season for them, when Zhenya and Volodya moved from juniors to seniors. Tania and I saw them at training camp in Italy, they skated incredibly. We looked at them and thought “Lord, they are the one who will step on our toes!”
In that season, before the test skates my shoulder didn’t work, I didn’t have time to recover from the injury. And the guys who in juniors started the season earlier, a month and a half before the test skates seemed to got in a pit. That’s when I began to help them to come to a more or less working condition. Helped them to get out.
But you did not continue cooperation.
Maxim: Then I went for recovery to Munich, plus by the end of that season Robin Szolkowy appeared in our coaching team. In addition, at that time Tanya and I haven’t decided yet what to do next. So Zhenya and Volodya started working with Robin. Maybe, I felt a little offended, but this is life, it happened.
How did you resume the relationship?
Maxim: After our coach Nina Moser stopped working at the rink permanently, they guys had two options: the coach in the US or me. They wanted to work with me.
Maxim: No. The guys told me about their readiness to work right after free program at the Olympics in Pyeongchang, but by that time I had already begun to learn commentary on television, I worked with “Match TV”, with the First Channel. I was very interested in this work “in fields”, it began to bring me pleasure. Plus there were good offers from ice shows.
And yet you have agreed.
Maxim: We discussed it with Tanya a lot. I answered the guys only in May, three months after that conversation. And I must say that everyone accepted this cooperation calmly accepted. Both our team and the Federation of figure skating.
What does this work mean to you?
Maxim: It’s a challenge, definitely. But we agreed so – while we work one season. If it does not work out than me, Trankov is a bad coach, I failed. I will be back to the previous work, they will go their own way with someone more professional. No offense. There’re three more years before the Olympics, there is time.
And if it works out?
Maxim: If it works out, we’ll go together for the Olympics in Beijing in 2022.
How is it to stand on the other side of the board?
Maxim: I worked as a coach in the “Ice Age: Children” and this experience helped me a lot. At first I was just shaking, worried more than when I was skating myself. Only to the fourth episode I calmed down more or less, learned to talk with the guys.
I understood what, to whom and at what time it is necessary to say, whom to praise, whom to scold, and everything became different. One boy from Tatiana Navka’s group came to me after the other guys. We failed with him the first two programs, at the fourth one he beat them all. Psychology.
And what about the psychology of Tarasova and Morozov?
Maxim: It’s still unpredictable. This is the case when their strengths are also their weaknesses at the same time. So far, I can sort out any of their results. First there was a failure in the short program at the last European Championships, but it spurred them, so they skated the free program perfectly. They are still as a scales, and my task is to balance them.
What they will show to the public in the new season?
Maxim: I almost didn’t take park in choreographing of the short program, it probably will shine by the middle of the season. It is fast, hard, it’s rock. And I’ll be honest, I was not happy with this idea. But for them it is a challenge. And I need to make a multifaceted athlete from Zhenya. We went the same way Tanya and I did in the short program of 2011/12 years to the music of Evanescence, when we focused on modern choreography. Then we worked with the choreographer from Broadway.
And the free program?
Maxim: I really like it! And I see how they like to skate it. This is neoclassic, the idea is yin and yang, black and white. These are not specific people, they are two entities that are trying to contact, despite the fact that they are very different. In the end they become one whole.
But Zhenya and Volodya are really very different.
Maxim: So this is their program. They are really very different, it’s hard for them, there are problems because of it. I teach them to trust each other, not to let each other down, support, not demand. I connect them through this program, so that they intertwine like these yin and yang. Choreographer Peter Tchernyshev did a good job, I really like what he did. A very creative young choreographer Zhenya Prisyazhny also helped us with this program.
At the European Championships in Bratislava, right after the Olympics in Sochi, you, Maxim, called modern figure skating a “battle for survival” because of trauma-hazardous elements. Four years have passed, has something changed?
Maxim: I still think so. I’m not against the quadruple twist – Zhenya and Volodya do it. In this case, the male partner controls the situation and if something happens, he insures, he can mitigate the mistake. But throws … Here I’m categorical. Let the singles do the incredible with the quad jumps, but they answer for themselves. And by the way they fly not so high as in pair skating. I’m glad that today almost no one is doing this.
Did new rules affect the situation?
Maxim: Today the price of mistake is very high, so I don’t think that many will take risks. This is still figure skating, it still must meet the aesthetic tasks. For example Aliona Savchenko, who became an Olympic champion after so many twists and turns in her life. She removed the 3,5 throw, with which she didn’t win in Sochi, and took by beauty. We all saw a masterpiece, with which she and her partner Bruno Massot were head and shoulders above the rest. Aliona was able to change her views, abandon the “arms race”, and this speaks of her as a great athlete.
Since we are talking about Aliona Savchenko, I have to ask Tatiana: how did you watch her performance in Pyeongchang, how did you react to the victory of the former rival? Didn’t you want to go back on the ice? After all, in your pair, it was you who didn’t want to end your career.
Tatiana: I was genuinely happy for her. I know how long Aliona has been going to the Olympic medal. My path in this respect was faster. We both were born in Ukraine, we trained together in Germany and communicated very well. Then there was our rivalry. Probably, in my book I will someday write its details. Of course, at the Games I was rooting for our guys, for the Russians. But I understood – this is a chance that Aliona most likely will not miss.
Have you met with Aliona after the Games in Pyeongchang?
Tatiana: We met at the show just after Pyeongchang. And I saw the changes in her. Aliona relaxed, she was satisfied, like a man who achieved his goal. We became closer, began to communicate more, now we often text.
Maxim: Today Aliona is shiny, sociable person. But when our pairs competed, it was something. You just have to see how Robin and I were clutching our heads in the locker room before the start: “My God, again! Again this fight!”
Tatiana, you also have changed a lot.
Tatiana: I became a mother and with it my views and my values have changed. I realized how important is life outside figure skating. I realized how many new doors open when you have a family. And it doesn’t matter what is your profession. I haven’t seen anything besides figure skating since the age of four. An athlete is like a horse with blinders on its eyes. Only the main goal. Just don’t turn off on the road to its achievement.
And what about coaching, after all, sooner or later Angelica will grow up?
Tatiana: Several times I helped Maxim with Zhenya Tarasova and Volodya Morozov, I’m always near, I can replace him. But I don’t see myself as a coach.
Maxim: If I continue training Zhenya and Volodya before the Games, in a year I will have to involve Tanya in this work. Tandems have always worked well – Moskvina and Moskvin, the Velikovs spouses. It always worked. And it does not matter, are they husband and wife or not.
Now Tanya is a great help to us with costumes. Plus, Tanya helps me with my complicated schedule, she’s a sports manager by education.
Maxim, can the work of a coach become the main business of your life?
Maxim: No! Definitely! For example if Chinese ask: “Prepare us to win in Beijing 2022” the answer will be no! Tarasova and Morozov are my friends, that’s all. The main thing in a person’s life is his family. And its well-being. If for the well-being of my family I need to go to dig the sewage system, I’ll go.
by Veronika Sovetova for tass.ru