Vladimir Samoilov: Tutberidze said “Either you are training, or if your back hurts, sit at home and do not come again.”
Interview with former Russian skater Vladimir Samoilov who now represents Poland. About trainings with Tutberidze’s coaching staff and Angels of Plushenko, difficulties with the federation that didn’t want to release him and trainings in Italy.
source: sport24.ru dd. 22d December 2021 by Alena Volkova
Golden Spin of Zagreb was your first international competitions representing Poland, what are your impressions?
Vladimir Samoilov: I can’t say anything yet, because I had only one international competitions. Before that, there weren’t even competitions. And I really miss performing. I’m such a person, I love to perform, only to train and not compete for two years is horrible for me.
You haven’t performed at the international level for a long time.
Vladimir Samoilov: Yes, I have no rating, no name. It will be difficult to gain it all, I need to perform as much as possible at international competitions and it is desirable to skate cleaner. Let it be an easier content for now, but I need to show yourself.
Tell us about your transfer from Russia to Poland.
Vladimir Samoilov: Where to start …
From the beginning. Whose decision was it?
Vladimir Samoilov: It was rather my initiative, it was even before my last Russian Nationals (December 2019). I was casually offered: “Would you like to compete for another country?” And I thought: “Well, why not” – but I had doubts. As a result, I told Vika (Victoria Butsaeva, former coach of Vladimir) that I wanted to skate for another country, for Poland (because the offer came). Vika was against it, she said that it was necessary to skate for Russia. There is a chance, but we need to work hard. I don’t deny that I have problems with my head. Everyone emphasizes that “you can do everything, but you are a fool.” I know that I am a fool, so help me with this. Everyone thinks that I can do everything, just I don’t show anything. Well thank you.
Vika was against it, but I persisted. This is a better option than trying in Russia. Because our main start is Russian Nationals. In fact, if you screwed up the Russian Nationals, you screwed up the whole season. And Russian Nationals are my “favorite” competitions. I performed there well only once or twice. By the way, it took a very long time to prepare the documents. We reached an agreement with Poland almost three years ago and only this summer things got going.
The problem was that the federation didn’t want to let me go.
Did they argued that somehow?
Vladimir Samoilov: No, they just didn’t release me. There was no argument: I wasn’t in the Russian national team, I wasn’t in the Moscow team, I hadn’t competed at international competitions for a long time either. And they had no right not to let me go. It turns out that I should have been released back in January of this year, that is, I could have performed at the end of last season. However, they let me go only this summer – although after a fashion.
Did you manage to convince them somehow?
Vladimir Samoilov: I’ll tell you so, I haven’t talked to them at all. Everything was through Vika, and the federation of Poland took part. Very little information reached me. All I know is that they didn’t let me go for a very long time, and there was no reason for that. The only thing I learned from the Polish Federation: “It was a difficult conversation for an hour and a half.”
Is that why you don’t train in Moscow, because Victoria was against it?
Vladimir Samoilov: I was banned.
Vladimir Samoilov: Yes, that’s why I went to train in another country. I also found out this only from an interview (interview of the President of the FFKKR Alexander Gorshkov). Friends sent me the link. And there it was also written “which country the athlete represents, there he should train.” After that I called Vika and asked what it was. She said “you are not allowed to train here.” I often called her and asked her to talk to Kogan, I don’t know if she did it or not.
So, where are you training now and with whom?
Vladimir Samoilov: I am currently training in Italy, with Lorenzo Magri and Angelina Turenko. I came here only in October, only then normal training began for me.
Have you been to Poland for a while?
Vladimir Samoilov: I actually had a very difficult season, because I had a rest for three months. I couldn’t skate in Russia, I was forbidden to train everywhere except for commercial schools. As a result, I did not train for three months, I arrived in Poland only in August. I was there for a month and a half, but there was one ice training a day and they gave me new skates. That is, I had one ice a day, five days a week, when I usually had 12 ice sessions a week. And then five a week. It a lot a lot of time to break into new boots, as well as to enter the season. Only in Italy I started to train normally, because in Poland I was without a coach.
Because there was no coach in Poland?
Vladimir Samoilov: There is one coach there – Mariusz, a former pair skater. He is a very good person, he was with me at Polish competitions. But training with him did not work out, still he is a pair skater. I’d rather train on my own.
What is your life in Italy like now?
Vladimir Samoilov: The schedule here is not the same as in Russia, at first it was a little uncomfortable and unusual. Here, trainings begin at eight in the morning, when in Moskvich (in Russian) we only have a warm-up at 9:15. Three ice a day, what I like is the first ice for an hour and ten minutes (of which half an hour for gliding and 40 minutes for jumping), the remaining two ice sessions for 40 minutes we always skate programs. I speak for myself – whenever the ice was an hour and 15 minutes, I train for 50 minutes, and then I start helping the cleaning ladies, I wipe the boards. I don’t hide this, I’m bored and just skate close to the boards, go do my laces, talk to someone. It’s 40 minutes here, and we are working this time. We all live together, like in a dormitory. Several rooms, each for five people.
Generally speaking, you don’t complain about the conditions?
Vladimir Samoilov: Italy is cool, very beautiful views, mountains, the weather is gorgeous. I lived in Moscow for 22 years, you will understand me. In Moscow, people are always in a hurry, I also have become like that. I used to train all day, then go for a walk with the guys, go to the movies. I didn’t have that after training I went home. And here the working day ends early, at three o’clock in the afternoon we are free. There is nothing to do, you can go to the mountains, but this is two or three times. Moreover, we train in a small town, we have to drive somewhere. We have two or three grocery stores and one pharmacy. Outside of trainings, it’s hard to have fun, so I sit at home.
Let’s talk about your career in general. You have changed a lot of coaches in Russia. Why?
Vladimir Samoilov: Until about the age of ten, I don’t remember anything, so it’s hard to say. They began to recognize me from the time of Inna Goncharenko. I trained with her, everything was fine, she is a very difficult person. But I’m grateful to her for everything. She “boosted” me to the level when I easily jumped triples and triple-triple combinations. But it didn’t go further for me, we worked on triple axel for three years but it didn’t work out. Off the ice, she treated me very well, she always wanted the best for me. Once she called me to the coaching room and said that I needed to go to Eteri Tutberidze. She did not kick me out, but believed that it would be better for me there. Everything she could, she did. On her advice, I went to Eteri.
In Eteri Georgievna’s group I started to have big problems with my back. There were very frequent exacerbations: I remember how I competed at the Russian Cup Final under injections, withdrew from several competitions. I trained for three days, then I didn’t train for three days. I could spend one day fine, the next day my back hurt. I couldn’t skate even for a month without back pain. Eteri Georgievna did not like it. She said: “Either you are training, or if your back hurts, sit at home and do not come again.”
I, accordingly, came to train. And an unpleasant situation happened: I landed unsuccessfully from the axel, under rotated it on quarter, landed on a straight leg and fell back. The blowback was so strong that I could not feel my left leg. I dragged it behind me, reached the boards and showed that I was going home. By the way, few people know about this, but then I was finishing. I left Eteri and thought – that’s all, I retire because of health.
I didn’t skate for three months, went to rehabilitation, procedures. Parents told me to decide for myself, they would accept any decision. Honestly, I was very eager to make this choice, I was sitting at home for about a week, thinking. I gave 14 years to this sport, and at one point – it just ended. I tried to weigh everything and make the right choice, because being left without a back at such an age is also bad. I decided to go to the public skating and try.
The first time I came at the end of July. To be honest, I don’t like to glide, I don’t know how to skate, but for the first time I enjoyed gliding. I decided that if everything is fine with my health, I will continue to skate. At that time I was a teenager, training wasn’t important for me, but after that moment I came to the ice with a different mindset. I immediately understood why I needed it. I skated three times, the third time I jumped single, double jumps. Then on the fourth day I myself went to the public skating, skated for two hours, collected a double loop, I was terribly tired. And suddenly my mother calls me. She says: “Go home quickly, you’re having a try out at Plushenko’s Academy in three hours.”
I hang up and didn’t know how to react. After two hours of skating, I was tired, I was in the Moscow region, I had to drive home for an hour and forty minutes. I thought: I’ll come to see him and say: “Evgeni Viktorovich, I have double jumps, good afternoon”. So, I came, showed doubles, he asked to show triples, I explained the whole situation to him. He saw me at competitions and took me.
I recovered very quickly. I came to Evgeni Viktorovich in August, and in September went to competitions and performed well. Why did I leave Plushenko? He very rarely appeared at the rink, he had shows. We were coached by Alexei Vasilevsky and his wife Yulia Lavrenchuk. Evgeni Viktorovich kicked out Yulia Lavrenchuk, and I trained with them. Then I made the decision to train with them.
I trained with Alexei Vasilevsky, but we didn’t have ice. As a result I was preparing for the Russian Nationals on public skating. It was impossible to prepare: children, people on hockey skates who can hardly stand on them. I could do one quad per skating session.
Accordingly, I performed poorly at the Russian Nationals. The federation asked me why. I explained that the preparation took place on public skating – “nobody cares.” I do not deny, I screwed up the Russian Nationals, but you should know what conditions we were in. As a result, the ice wasn’t found, and I came to Vika.
I know a funny story, when you first jumped a quadruple lutz.
Vladimir Samoilov: It just happened with Alexei. I had a good workout, I jumped loop with a step out. And Alexei suggested trying lutz at the second training session. I didn’t want to, because I have never even tried it. Then Alexei put a hundred bucks on the board and said “one hundred bucks – five tries.” I rotated the first two attempts, then two popped jumps, and on the fifth time I went thinking that I had to do it. I asked to record a video, because I will jump for recording. That’s how I jumped the quadruple lutz.
You have recently told that you had 11 deductions at some competitions. How did it happen?
Vladimir Samoilov: It was the fifth stage of the Russian Cup, that season I was with Plushenko.
That is, it was right before that successful Russian Nationals? (at the Russian Nationals-2018 Vladimir became the 6th)
Vladimir Samoilov: Yes, 11 deductions is a victory. I didn’t know how to return to the academy. Plushenko treated me well and said: “You are, of course, a record holder. It’s good that it happened now, and not at the Russian Nationals.” I don’t even remember what I did there. I think that I fell four times, and the hook on my boots came off when I entered the quad. As a result, a stop, this is five more deductions. It’s legendary.
Which of your programs do you like the most?
Vladimir Samoilov: I really liked the “Hit the road Jack” free program. I was small then.
When you had hair highlights?
Vladimir Samoilov: Yes. Well, there were mistakes in my youth, what can I do. I have not yet shown the maximum in my short program this season. You have no idea how much I begged to skate the Exogenesis Muse. Everyone was against it, because it is very overused. And I don’t really follow figure skating, I have enough of it in my life. I really want to skate it well, but the season is difficult, I want to show it at the main competitions. It is necessary to skate it well so that it will be remembered.
Have you had music that you really wanted, but it have been already taken?
Vladimir Samoilov: Yes. I trained with Vika, I begged for Exogenesis for the short, and for the free – Edwin Marton Art on ice. I really liked it, it was in my head for a long time. But I was not allowed again, because it difficult and has already been skated a lot. It’s good that they dissuaded me then. Because in the same season, this music was taken by Yuzuru Hanyu. Can you imagine how it would look? At that moment I didn’t even know that he was taking it.
Do you have an ultimate goal in sports?
Vladimir Samoilov: Good question. Of course, all athletes will say that they want to win both the Olympic Games and the World and European Championships. I don’t like to make plans, because everything that has been planned doesn’t work out. Now I start from health. I really enjoy performing, I enjoy the audience (unless, of course, I die in the program). Now there will be a small comeback, because I have not performed for two years, I want to show and prove to people that I am still alive.
I really want it. To prove to those people who did not believe in me, guys, I’m still in business. The main thing is that I do what I like. I don’t know when I’ll quit sports, it could easily happen next season. For now, I’m setting small goals and raising the bar.
If you are told to make a person fall in love with figure skating by showing him one single performance, what will it be?
Vladimir Samoilov: It will be too banal, but I would show Kamila Valieva. For me, Kamila is a genius in all aspects. Program? Probably Bolero.
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