The victory of the dance duet Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva - Yegor Bazin at the Russian Championship left questions: the partner fell in both programs and thereby blurred the impressions of the performance in Krasnoyarsk.

Of course, the conversation with the couple's coach, Denis Samokhin, began with this topic.

- I, as a former athlete, have only one explanation for what is happening with your ward: she has lost a lot of weight, and in connection with this, coordination has gone wrong.

“The muscles are gone, yes, I agree.

There are certain difficulties here that I would not like to make public.

We are now trying to solve this problem with specialists, but we still cannot find out the root cause that launched the unwanted processes.

Plus, Liza had been very ill on the eve of the championship, literally on the day of departure she began to feel relatively well.

- Did Khudaiberdieva skate normally before her illness?

— Yes, absolutely.

It is clear that the competition adds adrenaline and there is increased nervousness.

But when a person falls for the fourth tournament in a row and in different places of the program, it cannot be explained by the flu alone.

- Ilya Averbukh, when commenting on the dance tournament, called the sliding of one of the duets of Alexei Gorshkov Canadian.

The specialist agreed with this, explaining that he purposefully teaches athletes to ride long arcs and deep ribs.

What are you prioritizing?

- I adhere to the English skating technique.

This concept includes a certain work of the ankle, knee, position of the body on the supporting leg.

I try to teach all my wards that they ride not due to the strength of their legs and powerful repulsion, but primarily due to their own weight.

We put a lot of emphasis on the correct execution of steps.

So that a person performs certain movements not with the help of thrown out hips or twisting in the shoulder girdle, but with very precisely calibrated movements and the ability to most rationally manage their own body.

Free to manage it.

- As a rule, such work requires a huge amount of training time.

- Agree.

But the sheepskin is worth the candle.

If you have good technique, you can add body work that the dance rules require, and generally do anything on the ice.

When an athlete does not stand very correctly on a skate, it becomes much more difficult to control the body.

- I immediately remember last year's rhythm dance of Gabriela Papadakis and Guillaume Sizeron - their twizzles, which involve very active work of the hands.

It's complicated?

- Of course.

When you do some things with your hands, it breaks the balance, as if taking the body off the axis.

But it also adds a level of complexity.

- Your colleague Alexander Zhulin once convinced me that there is nothing complicated in skating a French pair.

- If you say so, you have to admit that our top pairs of that time had nothing difficult in skating.

Gabriela and Guillaume are good skaters, actually.

That's why we won: everything was more clear, precise, every line, every movement was verified throughout all four minutes.

Hence the feeling of lightness, lack of effort.

Nikita Katsalapov and Vika Sinitsina also skated well.

At the Olympics, they generally drove through an aortic rupture, as they say.

But not everything was completely cleaned up.

Again, Papadakis and Sizeron do not need to have a super-complicated fancy program, and the point here is not only that it is functionally difficult.

They are leaders, and leaders are always put higher.

Especially when there is something to do.

But those who are behind, you need to catch up.

Due to the higher complexity as well.

- For you, at least to some extent, was it a blow that Liza and Yegor did not get into the Olympic team at the last national championship?

- They really wanted to, although they understood intellectually that, most likely, they would not grow together.

- Because of the very specific refereeing that your athlete hinted at in her interviews?

- All the then discussions of judicial actions were, in my opinion, pure emotions.

- And what about the tournament in Warsaw, where Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin performed?

It was enough to look at the scores of this couple to strongly doubt the judicial objectivity.

- So what?

Diana and Gleb skated well, by the way.

Compared to other duets, they looked stronger.

Therefore, perhaps they put a little more.

- Now Khudaiberdiyeva - Bazin themselves have found themselves in the position of leaders, whom the judges evaluate as loyally as possible.

Is this good or does it create psychological problems?

- On the one hand, this, of course, presses.

When you were not the first couple in the country and suddenly you become one, it's hard.

On the other hand, I am fully aware that if the guys were judged as strictly as possible, with such a rental as in Krasnoyarsk, they could end up anywhere.

Such things can generally destroy a couple.

Or, at the very least, hurt your self-esteem.

— If it weren’t for Lisa’s unfortunate, sometimes inexplicable falls, I would say that in terms of technique they are no different from most of the duets that climbed the podium in the ISU Grand Prix series.

- So we have and many juniors are able to do the same.

The question is motherhood.

After all, there has always been a queue at the dance.

It is important how long you ride, how many years you compete at a high level, how well you are known.

Of course, all this affects the assessment.

- Is the absence of international competitions for Russian figure skaters a big problem?

- Speaking specifically about the dancers, I don't think so.

Single skaters and sports couples have lost more from this, in my opinion.

It’s a pity, of course, that we can’t compare ourselves with others, speaking at the same tournaments, foreign judges can’t compare us, but the competition within the country is quite high, everyone has the opportunity to become better.

- When Lisa fell on twizzles in free skate, what did you think?

Farewell, first place?

- When we flew to Krasnoyarsk, I was sure: if Lisa and Yegor do everything cleanly, they will be the first.

And now... I am not happy that we are the champions of Russia.

Rather, there is regret: again they failed, again they failed to cope with the programs.

The occupied place is secondary here.

- This season, are you focused only on what is happening inside Russia, or do you continue to follow foreign duets?

I do, but to a lesser extent than usual.

I am still interested in how Maria Kazakova and Georgy Revia are developing, who trained with us in the group, but were forced to leave.

At international tournaments, too, after all, there is a decent leapfrog: for example, such a pair as Madison Chock - Evan Bates suddenly loses to the Canadians Laurence Fournier Baudry - Nikolai Sørensen, who used to play for Denmark and were only ninth at the last world championship.

- Do you have any explanation why the bronze medalists of the World Championship were lowered like that?

- Firstly, the Canadians added a lot.

And they are not the only ones.

Plus - the post-Olympic season, which is often strange.

Chock - Bates fought for very high places at the Games in Beijing, there may have been some kind of burnout.

“Or are people just staring at their own ceiling?”

- I don't think.

They have room to develop.

- Does the concept of a ceiling exist in dances?

- There is, yes.

In many ways, this ceiling depends on physical and physiological data, on how you were taught.

You can learn to ride well, but if you haven’t laid the appropriate foundation since childhood, you won’t be able to fly high.

Therefore, in fact, I try to ensure that all my skaters develop in a multifaceted, versatile way, and not only on the ice.

And not like that he went out the door - and forgot what he was doing in training.

- There is a good saying: no skill is superfluous.

— Well, this is exactly what I tell my people: guys, I want you to become professionals, and for this, everything that you do must be done as well as possible and have a very solid baggage behind you.

The older a person gets, the more difficult it is to force yourself to load this baggage.

But it is necessary to do this, because with age, the athlete begins to limit his own body.

Sculpting from a younger one is always easier.

Are athletes listening?

- Someone hears me, someone, maybe, would like to hear, but does not know how to correctly perceive what was said.

So yes, there is a ceiling.

Much depends on the parents.

From how ready they are to participate in the training process, in the sports education of the child.

Unfortunately, many do not consider it necessary to do so.

How many years have you been a coach?

— Since 2007.

It turns out already 15 years.

- The psychology of athletes has changed a lot during this time?

“It changes every year.

I'm afraid for the worse.

— Unexpected answer.

On the contrary, it seemed to me that the athletes of the previous generation were more likely to rely on the coach.

That he will make a result, shout somewhere, force him somewhere.

Now the same single girls themselves strive to take as much as possible from the mentor.

And they grow up very early.

- In single skating, everything is a little different.

There is a constant struggle for survival.

If you don’t do what those who are around do, you will simply be thrown into the dustbin of history.

There are practically no large groups in dancing, each duet wants to be the first and only with their coach.

Therefore, all dancers are zealous for the result, for the attitude of the coach.

In addition, it seems to me that it is more difficult to work in dancing than in single skating.

There are many small nuances, every movement, even the tiniest one, needs to be cleaned as much as possible.

You will take care of one pair, others immediately begin to be offended that you left them for a long time, you do not pay due attention.

I don’t even know how the coaches of the Montreal school manage to work in this regard.

How to deal with all problems.

- I think everyone is fighting for survival there too.

Yes, I'm just sure of it.

I know that the Montreal club has several training arenas, that is, there is always the possibility of somehow separating the athletes, not pushing them on the same ice.

- At one time, Marina Zueva and Igor Shpilband bred Tessa Virtue - Scott Moir and Meryl Davis - Charlie White on different ice in the same way.

True, this did not deter the athletes from leaving.

And Brian Orser made sure that Yuzuru Hanyu and Javier Fernandez did not intersect on the same ice.

- Yes.

And the reason is the same every time.

- Do you put on programs for your dancers yourself?

- Yes.

Once I suggested to Lisa and Egor that they install the program from third-party specialists, but they did not want to.

They like it when I do everything myself.

Although, to work out the tracks or some choreographic nuances, we sometimes invite people from outside.

- If you take famous directors in your world, whose work do you like more?

- I'll probably call Benoit Richaud.

He has non-standard ideas that can be implemented on the ice, although perhaps not with all athletes.

Whatever one may say, the material must correspond to the production.

But some of Risho's programs I really like.

For some time now, a trend has appeared in dancing, which not only scares me, but alarms me.

I mean such duets as the American Caitlin Hawayek - Jean Luc Baker, or the Czech Tashlerovs.

With partners who have such impressive dimensions, for which, I believe, in Russia any couple would simply be kicked out of the rink.

Is this the beginning of a new "body positive" era?

- Foreigners have never cared about appearance, especially in America.

Madison Hubbell also looked overly strong in her time, although she skated great.

Such examples do not scare me, because I am almost sure that none of these pairs will ever break into the top.

They will be kept somewhere close to the leaders, they may even be put in prizes at some tournaments, but there is always a limit that cannot be jumped above.

After all, we have living people sitting at the side, who evaluate not only the elements, but also the couple as a whole from the position of like or dislike.

Although in a pair of Khawayek - Baker, the boy is absolutely amazing.

Perhaps the judges do not look much at the girl.

- Can you formulate in simple words what an amazing partner in ice dancing is?

- Plastic.

Who feels his partner well, leads her well.

I’m not even talking about skating now - many of us skate well.

It is important when a person not only passes music through himself, but is also able to convey it.

Maybe, roughly speaking, get the maximum out of your insides and show it.

This, in my understanding, is what it means to be a great partner.

- At one time I was hooked by the story of one of the ex-figure skaters Elena Chaikovskaya about how she and her partner practiced an original dance.

Then this dance was made by Lyudmila Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov's "Kumparsita", and the Olympic champions helped the athletes to roll out the program.

So the girl said that before that she had always considered Gorshkov a dancer, whose task was to set off Pakhomova, nothing more.

And she was completely shocked by how competently Alexander leads the dance: he takes it upon himself in difficult places, but does not accentuate this at all, does not interfere with his partner.

Not even very experienced.

- This is the most valuable quality in a duet - to be able to show a partner, lead somewhere, pick up, help, but in such a way that it is completely unnoticeable.

It’s just that Lyudmila at that time was considered a kind of standard in dancing.

I think it was hard for her to match.

- And in the old days, which couple did you like more, Natalya Linichuk and Gennady Karponosov - Tchaikovsky or Irina Moiseeva and Andrei Minenkov - Tarasova?

- If we take the possession of the skate, Linichuk and Karponosov were stronger.

Although, in terms of general aesthetics of perception, they did not reach Moiseeva and Minenkov.

Tchaikovsky is a classic, in every sense of the word.

Like Natalya Dubova.

My father worked with Dubova all his coaching life, some things, of course, were passed on to me from him.

I love classical ice dancing, I have always been an adherent of this particular style.

But Tarasova is more about art.

On the ice, her couples sometimes had chaos, shocking - just remember how Natasha Bestemyanova and Andrei Bukin shook their heads.

But it really worked.

It was so exciting that it didn’t matter what trajectory the athletes were following.

- I was always amazed by the amazing gliding of all Dubov pairs without exception, incredibly “soft” knees.

Is it selection or can this be taught?

- This was taught quite purposefully.

It was my father who did most of the gliding: Natalya Ilyinichna herself didn’t really go into technical details.

She, rather, carried out the organization and coordination of the entire process: as a manager, she simply had no equal.

Very strong specialists worked with her, techies to the marrow of bones.

The best obligatory dances in the world were just at the Dubov couples - no one could get close.

- I know that Sasha Trusova constantly went to your training when she skated with Evgeni Plushenko.

She worked not with me, but with my wife.

- I'm trying to understand: if a person, in parallel with his own rather difficult trainings, regularly travels all over Moscow to take gliding lessons from another specialist, then this makes sense?

- Trusova began to study with us when she was still skating with Alexander Volkov.

And then, when she moved to the group of Eteri Tutberidze, she regularly came to classes.

I think the point is primarily in this, and not in the fact that we can give something that other specialists cannot teach.

- Why, by the way, do all the single skaters, and sports couples, go to the dancers for gliding?

Because the dancers have a completely different attitude to the process.

Dancing is the setting of the body, free, stretched and unfolded legs, hands not thrown at random.

Another purity of turns in the tracks.

In other words, everything that single skating specialists simply do not have enough time for.

Yes, and the emphasis is on other elements.

And we, on the contrary, all our lives are engaged in steps, legs, beautiful lines.

What else are we supposed to do?