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Figure Skating - Coaches
Tamara Moskvina:
Tamara Moskvina (center)
Photo © Alex Wilf

On the European Championship in Vienna Tamara Moskvina was one of the most succesfull coaches. And one of the most «short-time» visitors. Right after two times Worlds Champions in pair skating. Elena Berezhnaya & Anton Sikharulidze win the gold, Moskvina depart home. To America.

Couple of years ago in all her interviews she was saying that she would never leave St. Petersburg. But she has left, leaving many regreting and signing «well, another brillian specialist has went oversears in search of better life». I must admit, I though that too. But while talking to her at Vienna I've heard:

«Everybody keep asking me what it is like to live abroad, why had we left and will we ever come back. And none ever thought that next Olympic Games will be in Salt Lake City. And we should think about it now».

- Are you saying that this fact was one of the reason why you left St. Petersburg?

- Main reason! Even now, I spending lots of efforts to «promote» Lena and Anton in USA. So that people will now them, and root for them. They themselves must become accustomed to be in the center of attention, that newspapers are writing about them and so on. During the Games they must feel comfortable, like at home. Hadn't I get such a task, wouldn't I be able to find some way to support my group in St. Petersburg?

- It seems that their victory at Europeans was not an easy one...

- It's the burden of leadership. It's not easy to live with it. No one will forgive you for your mistakes. At first, yes, they admire you and support you. But for Elena and Anton this period is already over. I have spend lots of time trying to set up them mentally for that, not only to teach them how to win.

- To set up them mentally that they haven't got the right to make any mistakes?

- Yes. It was hard at first, especially with Anton - he has a hot temper, his Georgian blood... he could't not control his emotions sometimes.

- I will never forget who he stumled at sat on the ice in Nagano - on the very last seconds of the long program. Who knows what the outcome could be had it not been for this mistake...

- They were not ready to win the Olympics. The programs were quickly thrown together, we managed to make only the most essential things. And it would have been very premature to rely on them. That's why I was insisting in keeping Kazakova & Dmitriev in the team?

- Someone objected it?

- Oh yes. If you remeber they didn't pass the Olympics trial, didn't qualify for Grand Prix Final. They skated there, because one of the higher placed team withdrew. And only after the succseful skating there, they were included in Nagano team. And they have won.

- Then why were you spent so many efforts preparing Berezhanya & Sikharulidze for Nagano Olympics? You could trained slowly and peacefully for the next one...

- Who knew they had the «next» one? After the head injury they allowed her to train «nearly» at best, but no one could predict how long she would be able to do it. New injury - and it's over! The career is finished!

- Last season Anton has mentioned, that they didn't even begun to work at their best. What can you say about their work this season?

- It was more internsive. Before, as soon as they get tired - they stopped. They were afraid that if they overtrain they wouldn't be able to skate at all. Now, I think, they rely on my experience and intuition more.

- BTW, what do you do in case of conflicts?

- Allow them to what they want. Then we see they were wrong, they change their attitude to my advices.

- Did moving to America make you life easier, or not?

- Well, we do have problems. First of all everything has become more expensive. Back in Russia they never counted their money. They had enough of them for everything. Besides, they don't have any real everyday troulbes - their parents were taking care of them. Then we moved to USA Lena and Anton bought themsleves flats, cars, furniture. We even had a talk about hiring the personal journalist, who would do «promotion» for them in American medias.

- And?

- I suggested to wait a little, and did the research. This service is 2000$ a month. Then I've told them about the prices I've heard: well, I guess we could manage without it. By that time they realised how quickly their money were disappearing. And realised, I guess that their financinal situation is not rock solid.

- Which one of you «star» student was most difficult to work with, in psycological meaning?

- I have spent lots of time «teaching» Oleg Vasiliev. Natalya Mishkutenok was not an easy one. On the other hand if she had learned an element, she rarely made mistakes. Dmitriev, in his turn, could collect all his forces and skate the program briliantly even if he was not ready. BTW, then he was skating with Oksana, I knew that I could change their program one month before competition and they would do everything Ok. But I won't work with Lena & Anton.

- What's why you are not rushing to increase the LP difficulty?

- Well, we are trying to increase it. For example, we are learing the quad throw. But the problem is that it's risky. Every little unaccuracy may lead to injury. Besides every new element is «breaking» the program, because skaters start thinking about it, and loose control over other things. For the same reason we can't inculed second SBS triple. Even though it's neccesary.

- Except for Chinese team who win silver last year, what rivals are you afraid of?

- All of them. One mistake is enough to loose all the chances for gold. No one had a solid technical advantage. What's why I'm trying to think over every little detail...

- But still working with another team, Ina & Zimmerman of USA, who could become Russian skaters' rivals...

- I couldn't refuse. There are elementary laws of gratitude towards the country which support you. To be ungrateful is not my style.

But I know that last season you were thinking about taking another Russian team...

- I was, then I was in St. Petersburg. But now I can't afford it. Just count: a pair is two persons. And each of them need an accomodation, an ice-time, an insurance, costumes, boots and skaters, tickets and so on. It doesn't matter what the outcome can be, you won't get your money back. I'm not that rich to sponsor skaters.


© Елена Вайцеховская, 2003
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