Vladimir Morozov: There will always be rivals: one leave, others immediately come
Interview with Vladimir Morozov. About pandemic, rapid change of plans, return to Russia, preparation for the next season and rethinking of his career.
by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya for russian.rt.com dd. 4th June 2020
The pandemic broke the plans of the World silver medalists in pair skating Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov more than anyone else’s: the skaters were forced to return from the United States to Moscow urgently, parting with their coach Marina Zueva, having no idea how soon they will be able to go back. Morozov, who came to the first training camp in Novogorsk, was philosophical about the situation.
Vladimir: Everyone is experiencing such problems now. Our plans so far are simple: to break into the boots and generally recall how to skate. If the borders are opened in late June or early July and there is an opportunity to return to America, it will be nice.
And if the borders are not open?
Vladimir: Then, till the autumn test skates we will train with Maxim Trankov in Russia, there won’t be any sense to fly somewhere.
Was it supposed that Zueva would choreograph your new programs?
Vladimir: We really planned to do programs in America right after the World Championships, since we still had ice in Florida. But the specialists Marina was going to involve in the choreography process live in other states. In particular, in California, where emergency measures were already introduced due to pandemic, and it became clear that people could not come to us. Therefore, as soon as it became known that the World Championships would be canceled, we changed the flight USA – Canada to the flight USA – Moscow. On the same day, but in a different direction. So it’s really difficult with programs.
You talk so calmly about it …
Vladimir: For the two months that we are sitting at home, it was possible to discuss everything, think about everything, make some decisions about the season and calm down. In fact, we still do not understand what to prepare for: all the Junior Grand Prix have already been canceled, I think that senior can be also canceled.
If there is no Grand Prix, can you leave the previous programs for the rest of the season?
Vladimir: This is also acceptable. Of course, we will adjust the programs for the next season, taking into account new requirements. There will be different lift, different entries so you can’t keep everything as before. I think, changes will also affect free program. At least in terms of the elements order.
When you started working with Maxim Trankov two and a half years ago, you said: “For me and Zhenya, the main thing is to understand that we are on the right track.” In the course of the past and very controversial season, wasn’t there doubt that the path you choose was the right one?
Vladimir: No. The first half of the season was really difficult for us, because the three of us started working in the USA, with Marina, and only then, in the course of work, we began to invite the specialists that we needed. Only around November-December we got our own coaching team, let’s say so.
Why didn’t you start choosing specialists before?
Vladimir: It was difficult, because we organized all this ourselves. Artem Torgashev, who lived nearby and had the opportunity to come to us by car, worked with us on jumps, and then we found a physical training coach. Maxim Trankov began to come to the USA more often.
Where is it easier to organize the training process, in Russia or in America?
Vladimir: In terms of organization, everything is exactly the same both here and there, only in terms of payment the difference is big. In America, you pay the hourly rate of the specialist you work with, and partly you have to do it at your own expense.
In other words, if it’s your initiative to involve one or another person in the training process, then you pay for it yourself. It is clear that the regions helped us a lot, some of the costs were paid by the Russian Figure Skating Federation, but this was still not enough.
When you started to pay for everything yourself, did this change your attitude towards trainings?
Vladimir: In fact, I am very sensitive about training, regardless of the basis they are held, because I know what I want from sports and my life. And I always knew. If I do something, I do it as well as possible. It has always been that way.
From the side, it seems that you are training and performing not because you really like it, but because it is necessary. Everything is very smooth, calm, without any vivid emotions. But the viewer always wants to see more sincere feelings, since only they can cause a response, empathy. Have you ever thought that suppressing your own emotions, you repel the viewer to some extent?
Vladimir: There are enough people around us who always support us, speak warm words, rejoice our success, and empathize with failures. You will not please everyone.
But are you making an effort to keep your own emotions to yourself when you lose, or is restraint just a character trait?
Vladimir: Of course I make an effort. You should never show that you are upset.
Vladimir: Why make someone else’s victory sweeter? Although, in fact, we always lose because of own fault, so all claims should be only to ourselves.
Which of the defeats of this season was the most painful for you and Zhenya?
Vladimir: Probably at the European Championships. We were very well prepared for that competitions.
Did you try to understand why it was not possible to realize the readiness?
Vladimir: Yes, of course. We always try to analyze our performances, just this season it was difficult to do it because of the constant “swing”: now it’s good, then it’s bad, constantly some unexpected failures …
Brian Orser and Rafael Harutyunyan have repeatedly stated that it is impossible to take someone else’s athlete and immediately achieve some positive changes with him, that it takes at least two and a half years to adapt. In your relationship with Marina Zueva, is the situation similar?
Vladimir: We found a common language very quickly when we began to work together. Marina always asks what we are lacking, listens to us, always knows what needs to be done. We just tried a lot of things that year, both in terms of new programs, and some new entries, and all kinds of “cool things”. We did not succeed in putting all this together, our attention was constantly scattered on a bunch of details of all kinds. Dealing with this was the most difficult.
Two years ago, you lost the European Championships to the French Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres, and last season you lost to Alexandra Boikova and Dmitri Kozlovski. Which was more painful? And is there any psychological difference to whom to lose?
Vladimir: Judging by the emotions right after the competition, losing to the French was more painful. They had a good season, but we also had good performances. But two absolutely identical and absolutely unforeseen errors happened. Well, at the last championship, we simply failed the most expensive element in the short program. The whole fight ended after this.
Many noted that Boikova and Kozlovski unexpectedly quickly grew from juniors to quite dangerous rivals. How do you perceive this pair?
Vladimir: For us, in fact, it is not important with whom exactly to compete. There will always be rivals: one leave, others immediately come. I think it makes no sense to pay attention to someone specifically. It is important what you do yourself.
How quickly do you usually regain your skate condition when you return to training after a vacation?
Vladimir: After the usual two-week vacation, I hardly notice that I had a break. We skate a bit for several days and start doing many elements on the ice. We spent three weeks without skates when we went to a training camp in Kislovodsk, but there we did a lot of physical training, and the skill in skating quickly returns if you are in good physical shape. Neither I nor Zhenya had a two-month break before.
But you didn’t lie on the couch these two months.
Vladimir: I did at first. When we came to Moscow in March, we did nothing at all for two and a half weeks. Then we began to do to bulk up a little, then I went to my country house, where I already started working with a full load: cross-running, strength training. I have a ping-pong table, so my brother and I played tennis every day. This was probably one of the most gambling activities. Plus, our physical training coach sent us a work plan.
Can you say that in two months you learned something new?
Vladimir: No. In general, I never take on something new just to try. Rather, I rethought a lot: last season, and sports career, and worldview in general. It seems to me that in this regard, I benefited from the forced break.
What exactly has changed in your attitude to figure skating and your own career?
Vladimir: I would say that I started to take easier things that used to constantly press on me.
What was the most positive emotion during isolation?
Vladimir: It may sound unexpected, but I would call the CS:GO tournament, in which I participated with Dima Aliev, Nikita Katsalapov and Sasha Enbert. Everyone once played this computer game — some more, some less, but the result didn’t matter much, the purpose of this tournament was to show that all people are doing something on self-isolation, and athletes are no exception.
Plus, the tournament was a great opportunity for fans to look at their favorite athletes differently. In fact, there was even a certain adrenaline that you experience in competitions. A little, but still …
Are you a gambler by nature?
Vladimir: I think so, I’m gambling. I like to play cards, billiards, and generally all games.
Than it is a pity that you and Zhenya didn’t get the Grand Prix in Las Vegas last fall.
Vladimir: Yes, although I really wanted to. I think that somehow I will definitely get there. If it’s not for the competitions, then I’ll just go myself as a tourist.
Now are you not afraid of the prospect of a training camp at Novogorsk, which is to be held in conditions of severe isolation, without being able to go beyond the base?
Vladimir: I think that in the situation that we have now, all this does not matter at all. What to do if there is no ice anywhere else? There is a small choice in rotten apples.
But have you already been warned that the first three days after testing you will even be brought food and left under the door of the hotel room, like in a prison?
Vladimir: For the sake of an idea, you can spend three days in jail.
Related topics: Evgenia Tarasova Vladimir Morozov