“Trusova’s parents offered to go to Plushenko” – frank interview with Sergei Rozanov
Interview with Sergei Rozanov. About work in “Khrustalny”, “Angels of Plushenko”, and all those much-talked of transfers.
source: sport24.ru dd. 1st June, 2021 by Emma Gadzieva
How are you feeling after such a difficult season?
Sergei Rozanov: Excellent. The season was difficult, but interesting for everyone. A lot of new things happened to me. The mistakes that were made in my work are analyzed and rethought. But there were also positive moments, which I will take for my future activities.
Let’s go back in history first. I remember how you and I stopped competing: I switched to journalism, and you to the shows. How did this period develop for you?
Sergei Rozanov: I skated in Ilia Averbukh’s show for a long time. There I realized that there’s still a lot to learn for me: at that time Alexei Yagudin, Roman Kostomarov and Tatiana Navka, Max Marinin and Tanya Totmyanina, Masha Petrova and Lesha Tikhonov performed there. I realized that I can learn something from each of these guys. Including Averbukh himself. I liked to skate and learn from the guys. This went on for about 5-6 years.
Why did you decide to become a coach?
Sergei Rozanov: I realized that I need to move on. I began to give individual lessons, guys from different sports schools came to me, called me, asked me to work with them. We worked at different skating rinks.
The athletes began to say: “It would be great if you were working somewhere on a full-time basis. We would like to train with you.” And I didn’t work anywhere, I just skated in shows and helped the kids. Then I asked Averbukh if there was an opportunity to train them on the “Ice Age” rink. There are a lot of people on public skating, it is impossible to work on triple jumps. Averbukh agreed, gave time from 6 to 10 am, when the arena is free. In general, I am grateful to Ilia for many things.
After that, you started helping young skaters at the Moskvich ice rink, right?
Sergei Rozanov: Yes. I worked with many guys there. I helped them and I developed myself.
You ended up in Khrustalny in 2017. How did this happen?
Sergei Rozanov: I trained with Eteri Georgievna myself at the Serebryany skating rink. I was 14 years old then. I remember only good things about those trainings. At that time, a lot of guys were training with Tutberidze, and she was very devoted to the work. You couldn’t do hack-work. At the same time, she set up the process with jokes. I always wanted to go to her training, there was a certain enthusiasm.
Regarding coaching, I came to Tutberidze about six months before I started working at Moskvich. I asked if they had a place at the rink. At that time, I had 7-8 athletes of my own. She said there were no vacancies. Eteri Georgievna was looking for, but already found a person to join her team. And just two days before I came to her, Daniil Gleikhengauz came to work with her.
If you had come earlier, could they have taken you and not him?
Sergei Rozanov: It does not matter. Eteri Georgievna said that she had already found the person. She noted that I have enough ambition to try it myself. I listened to her advice and went to work at Moskvich.
At what point did you end up in Khrustalny?
Sergei Rozanov: After “Moskvich” I worked on my own for a whole season, skated in Ilia’s show again. At some point, it turned out that I began to give individual lessons to Eteri Georgievna’s athletes. She offered to help the skaters from the younger group.
At one point, I brought Kolya Kolesnikov to her, with whom we worked productively at Moskvich. I suggested him developing further, because Tutberidze is the strongest coach in the country. And, probably, in the world. As a result, at the age of 7, he began to train with Eteri Georgievna.
When I worked at Moskvich, the Turkish figure skater Basar Oktar came to work with me. The next summer, he asked for cooperation again. I replied that, unfortunately, I had nowhere to work with him. And offered him to come to Eteri Georgievna. I told him that it would be top-level for him, he would learn a lot. I agreed with Tutberidze, and Basar came to the training camp. It was 2017, Novogorsk. Once I came to visit them for one training session, and Eteri Georgievna says: “Your athlete? Go on the ice and work.” I started to work. After 2-3 days, she said that I could work with the entire younger group. It turns out that I just went to visit and stayed in the team.
Did you work only with the younger group?
Sergei Rozanov: Also with the elders, when Sergei Viktorovich (Dudakov), Eteri Georgievna and Danya was leaving. For example, during the 2018 Olympics, I was left alone with all the groups. More than for a month. We went to the Russian Cup Final, and then the guys (Alexei Erokhov, Alena Kostornaia, Alexandra Trusova) went to the junior worlds.
That is, you alone prepared them for that competitions?
Sergei Rozanov: Yes. I thought at that moment that I was working only for six months, and I was left with the athletes who were preparing for the Junior Worlds. I said: “It seems to me that I may not be able to cope,” to which Danya and Eteri answered me: “Everything is fine, you can handle it.”
As a result, Lesha and Sasha took the first places, Alena – the second. Trusova showed two quads in a free program then. This was the first time in the history of women’s figure skating. We did a lot of run-throughs with her. And she had a goal: “Do it, do it, do it.” We worked a lot on that quads, and in the end it turned out.
I heard that the quadruple lutz of the girls from “Khrustalny” is partly your idea.
Sergei Rozanov: Well not exactly an idea. Sasha Trusova jumped triple lutz high enough and rotated quickly. One day we decided to try a quadruple on a harness. And, I think, on the same day we tried it without harness… And she jumped it! The most difficult jump took just 1-2 days.
Trusova was already well prepared for the quad. This is the work of Eteri Georgievna’s coaching staff, as well as the work of the coaches who worked with her before Tutberidze. She was initially given such a technique on the lutz that, with a certain physical shape she could make this jump.
Was Anya Shcherbakova’s training just as easy?
Sergei Rozanov: She had an injury, because of which she missed a whole season. And for Anya, learning a quadruple lutz, becoming a three-time national champion, a world champion means a lot. She is a hard worker and a great fellow that she was able to go through this. Of course, Shcherbakova is a fighter.
What did it mean for you to get to the strongest school to the strongest coach in the world?
Sergei Rozanov: I’m calm about it. It was cool because you could learn every day and improve. In the group of Eteri Georgievna there is a material with which you can go into the unknown. When you have such opportunities, you start experimenting, trying new things. And the athletes also have great goals and dedication. They correct their mistakes faster, they try new things faster. For example, Trusova. Two days – and a quadruple lutz. We were shocked.
Who has influenced you the most as a technical coach?
Sergei Rozanov: First of all, this is the coach with whom I trained – Igor Sergeevich Rusakov. Unfortunately, he is no longer among us. He told very interesting moments. Then Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin. He has interesting books, from which you can take a lot for yourself. I have not read everything, but a lot.
Vera Anatolievna Arutyunyan played an important role. She came to Moscow when I worked with Kolesnikov and gave me a couple of tips. I thought: “What? We were taught differently.” But then, when I was in Tutberidze’s group, I tried it in quadruple lutz, toe loops. And this gave a tremendous impetus. And now, working with athletes, I rely on these two tips. I will not say which one. It’s a secret.
Are five turn jumps real?
Sergei Rozanov: I think they are real. But athlete’s instinct of self-preservation should be a bit disabled. At the recent World Championships, a young figure skater from Japan, Yuma Kagiyama, did the second quadruple toe loop in a free program and it took him time that others spend on triple. Very fast rotation and good jump height. For him, five turns are quite real.
Where is figure skating going?
Sergei Rozanov: There are many quads now. Nathan Chen has 5-6 in the free program. Girls jump a lot of quads. Even at the novice level at 10-12 years old. But going to five turns is also very traumatic. Actually, same as the quadruples.
I heard that they want to do an artistic and technical program. Many people want quad and triple axel to be allowed in the short program. On the other hand, as I heard from colleagues from the West, in the United States, many figure skating coaches have switched to hockey. The situation is similar in Europe. Not everyone can jump quads. Therefore, I like the idea of dividing programs, figure skating will not fall in individual countries.
There is an opinion that in “Khrustalny” you were “kept in the shadows”, were not allowed to competitions.
Sergei Rozanov: This is nonsense. Two months after I joined the team, I was sent with Daniil Samsonov to the first stage of the Russian Cup, then I went to the second, third, fourth. In the last and penultimate year, Eteri Georgievna invited me to the senior Nationals. But I refused. I thought that four coaches should not go with three girls. At that time 18-20 athletes stayed in “Khrustalny”, it is better to work with them, to be in the process. Traveling to competitions was not a necessity for me at that time. I like to be on the ice more, in the process. My goal is to study quads. You work with an athlete on a quad: at first he almost rotates it, then lands, and then – did it at competitions. I’m interested.
When did you realize that it was time for you to change something?
Sergei Rozanov: In the middle of the season before last, I realized that I wanted to start working on my own. By that time, I had seen a lot. I saw how the girls jump quadruples one after another. We can say that the goal of mastering multi-turn jumps with the guys was achieved. It was not clear what to do next. I have never had a goal of becoming a great coach. While working with Eteri Georgievna, I just wanted to complicate the content for all ages, to show that a child at 10 years old can jump a quadruple toe loop, at 11 – a triple axel, at 14 – a quadruple lutz.
This story could have been continued. There are many children.
Sergei Rozanov: I don’t know … I freaked out in the middle of the season, packed my things and left. Sergei Dudakov says to me: “That all? Are you going? ” I replied, “Yes.” But the next day I came back and worked. I realized that the season should be completed and I should go to the planned competitions with the guys, show the result.
I would not say that it was a crisis. Just the next goals were not set. It was necessary to understand what I want next. And then Danya Gleikhengauz called me and said that Sasha Trusova was leaving. I was shocked. Actually, it was me who wanted to leave, and here the athlete leaves (laughs).
I talked to Sasha, the parents were determined to leave. They said: “Everything is going on in such a way that we want a transition.” I asked: “Where?” They replied that they decided to cooperate with Evgeni Plushenko. I say: “Well, I see.” I advised them that it might be worth considering. Said, “I think you are making a hasty decision. Sasha will be able to learn many new elements here.” I noted that her success is the merit of the entire coaching staff, which is working with her now.
Her parents replied to my convictions: “Let’s leave with us, you have been working with Sasha for a long time, helped her with quadruple jumps”. I looked at all this, I say: “Guys, you do not listen to me.” The parents said that everything will be fine, “let’s try.”
I suggested calling Elena Germanovna Vodorezova (Buyanova), she is the coach of the Olympic champion, it’s a good school. I called her and talked. Then Evgeni Plushenko called me … I myself was going to leave “Khrustalny”, and I didn’t care. And then Sasha asked to support her, help her. Well, and Evgeni offered me conditions … At that time, I understood that leading my group and working with athletes myself is more interesting and convenient.
Sasha herself was also asked, she said: “I want to work with Evgeni Viktorovich.”
Did you expect such a reaction from the public? Everyone said that when you left, you took Sasha with you.
Sergei Rozanov: Yes, I did. I am calm about this. I was invited, I worked. Moreover, not for long – until the end of July. Already in August I did not work with her.
Is it true that the reason is that Sasha did not want to train in the same group with Alena Kostornaia?
Sergei Rozanov: Yes this is true. They considered that there was no need to work with me further, because I was working with Alena. OK. At that time, I had a goal – just work calmly with the skaters.
Maybe Trusova and Kostornaia would have had better results if they had worked together?
Sergei Rozanov: Maybe better. Or maybe not. I don’t want to go into it. I know that more could have been done. But it didn’t come as news to me that they came back and didn’t get the success they was looking for in “Angels”.
The point here is not that Zhenya Plushenko and I, as they say, are bad coaches. Leaving Eteri Georgievna, the athletes did not understand that Tutberidze was a strong coach for them, who brought them to a high level. Leaving this specialist, the athlete loses a piece of himself.
So you took their return calmly?
Sergei Rozanov: Well, they came back and came back. No worries. I have guys I work with now. We set goals and tasks with them. I don’t want to run ahead and make grandiose plans. I work with what I have.
How did Kostornaia’s transfer from Khrustalny to Plushenko happen?
Sergei Rozanov: Alena called in July, asked to join the group. She said that she wants to come to us with Evgeni Viktorovich. I asked about the reasons of her desire. She told what didn’t satisfy her. But let it stay between Alena and her coaches.
And now she works calmly. It’s good that she and Sasha work with their coach. Let them prepare further.
Why do you think those who leave Tutberidze do not succeed?
Sergei Rozanov: Maybe it’s the system. Maybe discipline. Or maybe they lack Eteri Georgievna herself, contact, attitude that she gives in training and competitions. After all, with her they became who they are now.
How are you doing at the Plushenko’s Academy?
Sergei Rozanov: I have my own group, everything suits me. After the New Year, Vladimir Litvintsev came to me. He called and asked for help. He said that he had the world championships ahead. Before that, he worked on public skating, somewhere else.
Leonid Sviridenko has recently moved from St. Petersburg. By the way, he jumps five quads. But competitions with our team turned out to be psychologically difficult. Probably, the fact that all the transfers to “Angels Plushenko” were heatedly discussed affected. He thought that everyone expected a feat from him. Maybe it got in the way. In training, he skated a free program with three quads and a short one with two. We have worked a lot on skating this season. I was not happy with how he pushed, how he felt on turns. I think next season we will be able to show something.
At the World Championships, you were in the same training group with Nathan Chen. How does it feel?
Sergei Rozanov: After working with Tutberidze, I thought that nothing can surprise me. But when you see how Chen works … I was shocked. I was surprised that he can do two run-throughs of the free program with a small interval in one workout. Moreover, it was clean, with its five quads. And the quads are performed easily. I understand that Nathan and Rafael Vladimirovich’s tremendous work is behind this. I understand how much time has been invested. In an interview, Arutyunyan said that Chen is like a Swiss watch. I agree with that.
To be honest, I was shocked that he fell on the lutz in the short program at Worlds. In training, it seemed that nothing would stop him. In principle, it did not stop, he won after the free program.
Also this season I learned a lot from working with Shae-Lynn Bourne. I watched and thought that I didn’t understand anything in choreography at all. And this despite the fact that with Eteri Georgievna I was already engaged in choreographing programs. It was a great experience. The last free program for Alena Kostornaia is our collaboration. I had an idea, I found a composition, Benoit Richaud and his composer made music that was specially written, you can’t download it anywhere. Shae-Lynn worked with arms. Yes, remotely. This was the difficulty. Besides, this is your first time working with this choreographer. It’s hard.
Do you feel sorry for the wasted energy?
Sergei Rozanov: No. This is a tremendous experience.
And in “Khrustalny” did you do choreography only with the younger ones, or did you also offered ideas for the older ones?
Sergei Rozanov: There were ideas. I found music. If there was beautiful composition, I could always offer it to Daniel or Eteri Georgievna. It will be great if they use it sometime. For example, the programs for Sasha Trusova and Daria Usacheva last season had the same music with the same arrangement. I don’t know how it happened, but I offered this music a long time ago for Polina Tsurskaya. At least start doing the program with it. Polina is a stately, tall figure skater with powerful skating.
But mostly I worked with little guys – Arsenii Fedotov, I did one of the programs for Nikolai Kolesnikov, worked on programs with Veronika Zhilina. In general, almost all the young figure skaters in “Khrustalny” I did short and free programs.
Last season, many compared Plushenko and Tutberidze, noticing that being an Olympic champion does not mean that a person will be a good coach.
Sergei Rozanov: Anyone can become a good coach if he lives by this business, uses his brains. If he has patience and luck. And it is very important what kind of baggage you have behind your back. For example, you can’t compare the path of Plushenko, who worked with the great Alexei Mishin, and me, who finished at the age of 17-18.
Plushenko has what to tell and something to teach. Everything takes time. I think Evgeni will have great athletes. And they are already there. Speaking specifically about his work, we can take Sophia Titova as an example. When she worked with Eteri Georgievna, I did not succeed in work with her at all. She went to Evgeni Plushenko and showed all the triple jumps, triple-triple combinations, triple axel. Here you are, his work for a year. And at competitions you can see his work. It can be seen how she enters the jump and puts her foot according to his system, according to the system of Alexei Nikolaevich. Plushenko is a good coach.
Should we wait for your return to Khrustalny?
Sergei Rozanov: Let’s not discuss this topic. I don’t want to say yes or no. Time will tell.
Recently there was news that you asked to worked in CSKA with Elena Buyanova. Moreover, it was about the end of February – the beginning of March.
Sergei Rozanov: At that time we were training on our ice at the academy, preparing for the Worlds. At that time, there could be no talks of any transfers.
Last season, you became the man who made much noise …
Sergei Rozanov: I didn’t want this, I wanted to work calmly.
But only the lazy one didn’t speak about you. With what emotions did you follow all this? Why didn’t you comment on anything?
Sergei Rozanov: I don’t like Instagram fights. I treated it calmly. Rarely, but aptly I go to the Internet. It happens that in the evening I play or program something, and then I come across and read. I perceive this information with a laugh. Let people write. Should I shout everyone about what and how it really was?
But there is another side to social media. I remember that at the beginning of October we posted a Veronika Zhilina’s quadruple lutz. There was a task – we did it. When we got back on the ice in June, it was an athlete who could not do doubles. That’s how quarantine affected her. I saw that she was falling almost on the doubles, I thought that it would take a long time for us to restore the quadruple toe loop, although I wanted to see the lutz. And we saw the cleanest quadruple lutz among girls! Minimal pre-rotation. These jumping battles on Instagram are motivating. You want to do it, to surprise with your work.
Are you a strict coach at all?
Sergei Rozanov: Yes, strict. I can kick out of training, but now I do it’s less often. Probably because those athletes stayed who hear me more.
You said that you want to work alone, even though most of the top athletes go on the ice with a team.
Sergei Rozanov: Perhaps someday I will come to this. Although even now I am not working alone. Yulia Lipnitskaya helps me with the girls a lot. I don’t look far into the future, there are nearest goals. For example, with Vladimir Litvintsev, we need to try to qualify for the Olympics.
Will you give more interviews?
Sergei Rozanov: I do not know. Maybe yes. Or maybe not (smiles).
Related topics: Alena Kostornaia, Alexandra Trusova, Eteri Tutberidze, Evgeni Plushenko, Sergei Rozanov
Sinitsina and Katsalapov: “Next year is Olympic and this is not the time to take risks”
I can see why a fair system of contract needs to be in place between skaters and coaches…As a coach, Sergei is young and talented. I hope he takes lessons learned from this experience, and always keeps a cool and clear head when it comes to make career or business decisions.
Very interesting interview !