Victoria Butsaeva – about how far the top schools in Moscow have gone from the rest and whether it is worth limiting the skaters’ transitions.
The other day in Moscow ended the first start in Russian figure skating in almost six months. At the junior city championship, the girls’ medals, if we talk about club affiliation, were expectedly taken by representatives of Khrustalny (Akatiev), Angels Plushenko (Zhilina) and CSKA (Berestovskaya). Among men, the troika was distributed differently – Angels Plushenko (Kovalev), CSKA (Kondratyuk) and … no, not Khrustalny, but Moskvich – a school in the Tekstilshchiki district in the South-East of the city. Ilya Yablokov could win the competition – the results of competitors allowed it – but he made a mistake in an arbitrary program.
If there was a standings in figure skating, as in the football Premier League, Moskvich would be in fourth place with a claim to the top three, where Plushenko is leading with two pursuers in the form of army men and students Tutberidze (let’s equate one gold to silver and bronze). “SE” talked with the coach of “Moskvich”, multiple winner of the European and Russian championships at the turn of the century Victoria Butsayeva about the prospects of competition with leaders, transitions and withdrawals of athletes.
Now young guys have conditions that we did not receive
Victoria, you work at Moskvich, and now it seems that there is a clear top-3 in the capital – Khrustalny, CSKA and Angels Plushenko. Can we say that they are real in their own, separate category?
As a coach, I cannot say that there is some kind of separation between the top and the rest. There are rivals and there is an understanding with whom you will compete. But you don’t think about which school, in which category. It is clear that there are stronger schools and weaker ones.
There is no feeling that the same “Khrustalny” possibilities are endless and it is impossible to fight against it? Only if there are more finances and opportunities.
What do we mean by capabilities? When you have ice, halls, all conditions for training, you can fight. Sometimes we beat them, sometimes they play us. Finance? We have, for example, Ilya Yablokov, a member of the national team. He has merits that allow him to receive a fairly good salary from the school, free skates, costumes. That is, conditions that even we did not receive at one time, although Ilya is an athlete who has not achieved even better results in his career. I have only three groups: one in which Yablokov, Murashov, Samoilov and Erokhov, average born in 2008 – 2010 and for the little ones, 7-8 years old, since this year I have been leading it. Came to the skating rink at 8 am, left at 6:30 pm.
But most of the parents want to go to Khrustalny, and now Angels Plushenko are conducting an active transfer campaign. Isn’t it difficult in principle to get skaters?
Many come to us, only a few remain in the group. There are a lot of children – but you often realize that nothing will come of a child. If we are older, then Samoilov came last year, Erokhov this summer. It seems to me that it depends on the person’s desire to work with a particular coach. It doesn’t happen with anything. It’s just that the skater wants to see this coach during this period of his career. The guys are rather big, they clearly understand their goals.
Ilya Yablokov took third place at the Moscow junior championship. Are you satisfied?
I would not speak in these categories. It’s not about the place, there was a very difficult preparation, with diseases, antibiotics. We went to Sirius for training camp on June 10, on June 15 we went out on the ice. Then he fell ill with a sore throat three weeks before the test skates of the national team in Novogorsk, and after arriving there he contracted a rotavirus infection, the temperature was 39 degrees. I was also ill, I was gone for two weeks. I am not making excuses – just for understanding. And a few weeks before the rental, I thought that Ilya was not physically ready. The Moscow championship was such a mobilizing kick. At least now it’s clear what to work on.
Contracts and bans are not possible in Russia
You often hear that some skaters did not leave the rink during quarantine. Have you heard about this in Moscow, maybe this can be seen in the performances at the championship?
I can only say that everyone makes a choice. There are such issues as security, law, so I don’t want to comment.
Elizaveta Medvedeva took part in this championship. Does she justify her surname and is the group joking about it?
She came last year, and she had, I’m not afraid of this word, huge problems with weight. We flew away in June at the training camp – I did not recognize her. It was half Lisa. She’s ready to ride this season. Last year, she seemed to be jumping everything, but she didn’t look competitive. It was hard for her herself. But from March to June she lost 10 kilograms, of course, all this was under the close supervision of her mother, because losing weight should be healthy. The whole family was in tune. And you know, now it’s interesting to work with a child. As for the surname … Somehow in the group they don’t notice it, they don’t even joke about it.
One of the main topics for the coaching community this offseason is potential contracts between coaches and athletes. Are they possible?
In our country, it seems to me, not. Our athletes train on a state basis, are provided with ice, including a coach. In America, there is a different training system, where the athlete pays for the ice. It is difficult to legally fix all this. Yes, there are certain deadlines, and I, speaking at the highest level, changed my coach, as a rule, in April – May. But how can you prevent transitions? I did them too, and very serious ones. Somewhere you can explain the desire of athletes to change coaches when they want to.
Have you had a difficult coach change?
The most painful was the departure from Kudryavtsev to Vasiliev. The formation of my entire career took place with the Kudryavtsev family, with her already a family relationship, we were attached to each other. So it was tough.
As I understand it, Alexey Erokhov also crossed outside the window, in the summer.
Yes, we returned from the training camp in Sochi, he called and asked to join the group. My first question was whether he had a conversation with Eteri Georgievna so that all questions were closed. He replied that yes, I called you when everything was agreed.
But legally, his situation does not differ from Kostornaya’s transition?
Yes, and formally he remains a Sambo-70 skater, represents this school. The only difference is that he is not a member of the national team.
I immediately announced my retirement. Zagitova has her own thoughts
One of the main intrigues of the season is whether Zagitova will return, I cannot but ask about her. She could have entered the Russian Cup, but she did not. Would you like it to stay?
It’s hard to get into someone else’s head. I think she, the coaches and the parents have their own thoughts. Time will tell, and it is wrong to decide for her. I can only say that she is an athlete of such a level that she will be a decoration of any start. Alina is a beauty, what to say.
Is this generally correct – when a skater does not skate, but does not announce his retirement and is on the national team? If I understand correctly, he also receives taxpayer money. We have such situations all the time.
We don’t know all the terms of their contracts. Perhaps conditions can change, it is difficult to say exactly when they stop receiving salaries. For myself, I can say that I immediately announced my retirement – the Russian Championship was held in December, and at the end of January I understood that I would finish. Likewise, Ilya Klimkin, Elena Sokolova, Irina Slutskaya. Everything was supported by the fact that you call back to the coach, federation and say. Now – I can’t say exactly how it works.
Kamila Valieva will take part in the adult skates and, probably, the adult Russian Cup. Right?
If we are talking about the prospects for the Olympic Games, it’s time. We have few athletes of this level who have already won the World Junior Championship. I think, in this context, this is the right decision, it’s time to run Camila among adults, let her compete with strong girls.
What are your expectations from the Cup in principle? Will it be possible to carry it out and why isn’t there any big promotion?
It is unclear whether it will be held with the audience. If there are few of them or none at all, then there is not much sense in this – there will be only one broadcast of the First Channel. I think the reason lies in this. But while everything is in place, applications have been sent, hotels have already begun to book. Hopefully, it will be fully implemented.