Yana Rudkovskaya: “Trusova is the Cinderella of figure skating. She was never given points for components.”
Interview with Yana Rudkovskaya. About marketing in figure skating, Alexandra Trusova, Kamila Valieva, Anna Shcherbakova and Yulia Lipnitskaya.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 28th November 2022 by Dmitri Kuznetsov
The marketing around figure skating is developing in parallel with the Russian Grand Prix series. Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Evgenia Medvedeva, the team of Eteri Tutberidze, and the Angels of Plushenko Academy are selling their merch. Last week, the first offline store opened at a school in the Moscow region. A SE correspondent visited the opening.
Whatever one may say, Rudkovskaya knows how to organize such events. There is a DJ, a ribbon cut, and Alexander “Gnomych” Plushenko playing around. Fun, a lot of fun.
Yana, what do you think about the sixth stage of the Russian Grand Prix in Perm? Evgeni Plushenko lacked a bit to beat his coach, Alexei Mishin.
Yana Rudkovskaya: Russian Grand Prix becomes a family drama, like the Kardashians. Sonya Muravieva did everything she could. She is our leader! The TV series “Russian Grand Prix” grows, and towards the end it becomes more and more interesting, but at the same time more dramatic, even sharper than the confrontation with the coaching staff of “Team Tutberidze”, which our media loved so much. The duel between Tuktamysheva and Muravieva is the coolest duel in the entire Grand Prix series! I am sure that our Mura will have even more fans around the world, she deserves it.
About the fans. You are actively involved in marketing. On Monday, a children’s clothing boutique was opened at the Angels of Plushenko Academy. How did the idea come about?
Yana Rudkovskaya: We thought that we needed our own uniform. I think that our story with the exclusive uniform turned out very interesting. We went to Lyudmila Sarnovskaya; she has three children. She had never participated in the creation of any special things before. Mom, who has already brought up three figure skaters, told us what fabrics and models to have, what was more convenient.
Lyudmila participated in creating ideas, developed sketches with us, chose fabrics, and went to endless fittings.
I am sure that as a mother who raised three skaters, she knows how to make a uniform comfortable, beautiful, and cool. Children have such a thing “If it’s cool, then I’ll wear it.” And we saw today how many children ran to the store and wanted to buy it.
Do you already have financial results?
Yana Rudkovskaya: I know for sure that we earned more than 300,000 rubles on the first day. And I know how many more they want to buy. This is only our first delivery. The second is backpacks, suitcases, hats, and other special things only for figure skating. We are all waiting for this. Deliveries come from different “friendly” countries to us, so to speak. We wanted a big company that would give us lots of goods. We are not interested in making 5-10 pieces, so the next collection will be presented at the “Snegurochka” show. I invite you all there; it will be really grandiose.
I wanted to ask about the Grand Prix stage in Samara. There were many events. A man ran out onto the ice. How do you like it in terms of show business?
Yana Rudkovskaya: On the one hand, this is a minus for the organizers, although I think that no one expected this. Usually, people run out to the stars. This happened many times at concerts and football matches. Perhaps this person wanted to distinguish himself in this way. But, mind you, it was on Trusova’s performance, so I associate Sasha’s great popularity with this.
You know, I traveled the whole tour with her, and now I see what is happening in Moscow and St. Petersburg. I will say this: the way people welcome Trusova, the welcome only Plushenko at his show! She really makes so many girls want to go for the goal.
Sasha is the personification of the new history of figure skating. Sasha is “despite”, because no one believed in five quadruples but she did. This is the story of a Ryazan girl’s difficult journey to her goal. I can even say that this is the story of the Cinderella of figure skating. Sasha is Cinderella. She was never given points for components; she always believed that if she jumped her five quads, she would become an Olympic champion. She jumped them, but did not take the gold … And this gave her even more popularity. Many fans and figure skating experts, like me, believe that she should have won. I do not impose my point of view, but I have the right to my opinion. So Sasha is Sasha.
Can we say that Sasha is now the most popular figure skater in the world?
Yana Rudkovskaya: Absolutely. There is Kamila Valieva, there is Anya Shcherbakova, and there is Sasha Trusova. We take three girls, each with a unique story. A doping story is now being circulated around Kamila. I don’t think that there can’t be negative PR. But in terms of a sports case, doping is always bad. From a marketing point of view, when they say bad things about any star, they still talk about them, there is still a lot of interest. Then no one cares whether it was or not. Any news, even the top news, lives one day.
But in sports, everything related to doping always has a negative ending. Kamila Valieva is a super popular figure skater in the world and a super talent. But Sasha’s case is based on the positive. Kamila’s story, unfortunately, has a negative trail. We don’t know how this story will end. I really hope that it will end positively and Kamila will be acquitted. Sasha has a different story. She has an interesting and eventful life now in sports and on the show, where something new happens every day. Like a fan who ran out or a fight with Channel One.
By the way, what do you think about it?
Yana Rudkovskaya: Drama in the style of Channel One. But everyone is talking about it. Watch the ratings- whether they will show Sasha or not. This is a drama series. We do not have international events, but there is a series called the Russian Grand Prix.
You compared Sasha with Kamila Valieva. And if you compare her with Anya Shcherbakova?
Yana Rudkovskaya: You see everything on social networks. We were doing research, and it seems to me that there is a story of an “excellent student” which is very cool and good! And there is a rebel. For example, there is Johnny Depp, and there is George Clooney. Who is more popular? Of course, Johnny Depp, because he always has something going on. His advertising contracts are going through the roof. He does everything in spite of something. I’m not saying it’s good or bad. I say that everyone has their own life, and their own destiny in sports. It’s just more interesting for me to watch Sasha Trusova because she destroys stereotypes.
Now she said that she would continue to skate, and she is skating. This difficult path attracts even more interest to her. Of course, she has a back injury, and she could also miss a year to have treatment and recover, but she is not afraid to fall, and she does not care what anyone says about her. She is definitely not afraid of this and is gradually gaining shape. Sasha Trusova is Netflix and Anya Shcherbakova is life. Everything is like in the movies with Sasha! I love beautiful stories that last more than one Olympic cycle.
This year, there has been a lot of discussion about marketing. And they compare your shows and the Grand Prix, and the Tutberidze team sells their merch. Are we doing well in figure skating?
Yana Rudkovskaya: Let’s do it this way: what the federation and the Ministry of Sports are doing is very cool. That there are prizes, the stages of the “Grand Prix”. Our children have the opportunity to participate in them. What Channel One is doing is great. The jumping competition! Top athletes have many events. How many of our juniors are participating! Not only Titova, Zhilina and Sarnovsky! There is an opportunity for children from the regions to perform, and many of them have a chance. Let it be the Russian Grand Prix, but still, it’s great. Everyone wants fast results. It won’t be; it’s impossible. It’s great that the Tutberidze team also has merch; we started making it back in 2017. Just now, we will do so in other volumes and scales.
In general, I am always glad when someone moves figure skating forward. We all set the bar high with the shows. Tanya Navka does great shows, Ilia Averbukh does great shows. They have their own content. We have a special idea for content: I create shows with artists, with ballet! Our style is similar to Art On Ice, when there are artists, cool skaters, and ballet.
Evgeni Plushenko and I have a message: if you come to our show, you must jump. There are few exceptions. Alena Kostornaia, because she was recovering from the surgery, and we could not help but support her. But we said, “Alena, get in shape; at the next show you should jump.” Evgeni even told me that he counts how many quads were jumped: Aliev made this many quads, Ignatov and Kondratiuk made this many. This is our thing – we have a huge amount of ultra-c.
We are criticized for that too; they say, someone will definitely fall. But this is extreme; this is figure skating. People don’t want to just watch shows, they’ve seen them on TV; they want action. And we have action.
We are now at Yulia Lipnitskaya’s training; let’s talk about her work. It seemed to many that her invitation would be a PR story for the academy.
Yana Rudkovskaya: Yulia is a very strict coach, I admire her perseverance, the way she works. Her partnership with her husband Vlad [Tarasenko] is an excellent example of a coaching family couple. When we found out that Vlad had such a story with mobilization, then … He did not even want to hear about help. We are all very worried about Vlad. The kids miss him terribly. We did not advertise it, but as soon as the mobilization began, he was called up. He shouldn’t have been called in this wave; it was a mistake. You can refuse or agree. He could protest; he wasn’t in the army; he was only in the sports company. But he decided to do his duty. We support Yulia, Evgeni comes to help her in training. Not a single child left the group; on the contrary, they continue to come to us.
What is her future as a coach?
Yana Rudkovskaya: Yulia Lipnitskaya is a hard worker. In her two years of work at our academy, she missed only a few days when she fell ill with the coronavirus. She works at the rink from morning to night, but what makes her stand out is that she is the academy’s most strict coach. I’ll even say this: Yulia Lipnitskaya is the new Eteri Tutberidze. Not literally. Yulia took a lot from her coach. Just like Evgeni from Mishin. I see it in her. She raises her champions. I don’t doubt it at all. She will be a top coach. She is madly in love with her profession, and a real fan of figure skating. We saw the boy, Fedya Nurmamatov, who recently won the “Battle of the Schools” on Channel One.
A boy without three fingers on two hands, from a foster family. Foster parents took him from the orphanage. When he was awarded medals, the judges saw that he was missing several fingers and were surprised. And he beat everyone! We are proud of him. Yulia takes children from large families; there is a girl, nine children in the family – an absolutely unique case. We do not advertise this much, but Yulia causes respect and admiration, especially after the story with Vlad. The media wrote about this, and the phones didn’t stop ringing. It’s difficult to say how Yulia is feeling right now. But we respect Vlad very much and are looking forward to his return. We’re sincerely with Yulia with all our hearts.
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