Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and TutberidzeEvgeniya Medvedeva

On Monday, May 7, the Russian Federation of figure skating (FFKKR) should officially announce that two-time world champion and vice-champion of the Games in Pyeongchang Evgeny Medvedev has parted with his former mentor Eteri Tutberidze and will continue working with the famous Canadian specialist Brian Orser . The special correspondent of RIA Novosti Elena Vaitsekhovskaya argues in the editorial blog about why this transition was inevitable, and why none of the interested parties won it.

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze

© RIA Novosti. Alexander Wilf

Such decisions are not accepted in one night. They need to be coordinated, negotiated on the financial side of the relationship, solve a lot of domestic issues, especially when it comes to leaving to train overseas. Medvedev, however, had time to think. I guess this is the only thing that she did all the time that she could not ride, healing the leg injury that had become aggravated after the Games. Why did she leave too clearly, because she was betrayed. So at least those who had been rooting for Zhenya for many years, waited for her Olympic victory in Korea, and when Medvedev lost the main start of her life to Alina Zagitova, hurried to bring down the indignation at the coach who made the main Olympic bet on the more promising female athlete of the group.

But is it? I dare to doubt.

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Pesnya

It’s not that the coach in the middle of the Olympic season suddenly changed priorities. First, not suddenly. Secondly, purely in a coaching manner, Tutberidze was right: in order to bring the pupil to Olympic gold, she worked for many years as damned, sacrificing absolutely everything. And what should I do when Medvedev suffered a trauma? To give up the dream because of the fact that her main athlete suddenly left the game for an indefinite period? It would not be at all in her nature, and once a beloved apprentice like no other had to understand this.

Rather, the Wife was simply not lucky: when the state of the injured leg reached critical, it was too late to seriously treat, and too soon to endure to the Games.

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Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze© RIA Novosti. Alexander Wilf

Was this a miscalculation? In my opinion, yes. Stress fractures never occur suddenly, and, if Medvedev misses the pre-Olympic Grand Prix series, it is possible that a margin of safety would be enough to win the main start. Exactly the same miscalculation can be called the participation of a figure skater in the European Championships: if Zhenya did not lose to Alina Zagitova a month before the Games, she would at least have a chance to win over to her side in Pyeongchang those share points that eventually formed in favor of the opponent. And so the train left – all before the main start it became obvious that the women’s skating was replaced by a favorite. It remained only to guess whether there was a public clash of two athletes on the eve of the main start by a completely conscious and very accurate calculation of the coach. But even if so, who is ready to condemn Tutberidze? The country wanted a gold Olympic medal – and got it. The fact that she won "not that" athlete – is already particular.

Someone for certain will say: "I could not stand competition". But from this point of view, Medvedev did not need to leave the coach: she had only one rival inside the group, besides – not the most stable and not yet overcome puberty. Before reaching the adult level of the next wave of dangerous talent and four-league figure skaters, there is still at least one season, but rather even more: finding stability with such a high complexity of programs may not be a quick thing.

It turns out – too painful? Or is it not at all?

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Pesnya

When a high-class athlete suddenly leaves the coach, the reason is almost always hidden in one: it’s no longer interesting. The athlete grew up, but the coach did not notice. The athlete seeks to grow further, and the coach is not able to offer anything new. The athlete has questions, and the coach does not find an answer to them. It is impossible to do a hell of a job day by day, not understanding why you are doing it, and not feeling confident that this work will bring the result. All this somehow took place in Medvedev’s relationship with her trainer. Zhenya has grown up dramatically over the last year, she wanted absolutely different programs – it was obvious to everyone who saw how selflessly the figure skater skates her show numbers. Actually, and "Karenina" emerged in the Olympic season almost by accident – from an indicative program that was replaced by a frankly unsuccessful arbitrary performance, done in the same vein as the year and two years ago.

In addition, everything was greatly complicated by trauma. Expressed in a dry sports language, from the leader and uniquely strongest sportswoman of the group, which Medvedev was just a year ago, she turned into a sportswoman with quite a large number of problems: the need to strictly dose the workload, build work in a strictly individual order, do much more carefully than before the selection of programs, costumes and images and so on. When pipelining the training work, where one of the main parameters is the ability of the skaters to continuously perform more than a hundred complex jumps for training, over and over again calling on the so-called "diagonal etery", actually entirely consisting of hopping cascades, the chances of an adult athlete to remain competitive, could only decrease. This Medvedev also could not understand. Her personal "diagonal" more and more away from the coaching.

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze

© RIA Novosti. Ramil Sitdikov

At the same time, the skater categorically rejected the possibility of completing a career – for too many years the whole meaning of her life was reduced to skating. Skate and win.

Try now to stand in the place of Zhenya and find at least one argument in favor of staying with the former coach.

Could the scenario of the Olympic season develop differently if Medvedev left Tutberidze before? I do not think so. First, the trauma has already accumulated, they would still have to be treated, and this would take time. Secondly, constant work at the limit of opportunities has its own peculiarity: as soon as the athlete stops due to injury or reduces the load for some other reason, all the worked out stability and stress resistance immediately begin to crumble. Approximately how it happened with Zagitova, who drastically reduced the training load after the Games because of a series of congratulatory honors and immediately lost the world championship.

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze© RIA Novosti. Vladimir Pesnya

Thirdly, a new mentor is always an adaptation. Sometimes a long and not a fact that successful. All this, incidentally, may well fall upon the two-time world champion and now, when she starts work in a fairly large team of Brian Orser. In a foreign country, among strangers, surrounded by someone else’s language and way of life. The only plus of the decision so far is that unless Orser absolutely does not need to force Medvedev’s return to the previous level at any cost. He can work with adult athletes, take them to the peak of the form to the main start – too, the time to the next Games is more than enough, especially since no other medal to Medvedev by and large does not interest. In fairness, however, it should be noted that it would have been much easier for the coach and his new ward if Zhenya had left Russia for Canada and changed sports citizenship. At least, in order not to ruffle your nerves enough senseless and taking up a lot of energy rivalry within the country with the next generation of miracle girls.

The paradox, but Medvedev’s departure from the strongest group of the country is unprofitable for any of the remaining athletes, including Zagitov. Over the years, Zhenya was the locomotive that pulls all the way, resignedly carrying loads and disciplinary demands. It was a model, an example for imitation, an idol, the core of a group – call it anything, but the fact is that it is simply impossible to automatically replace it. And especially not for this role Alina, who never differed neither fanatical adherence to discipline, nor competitive stability. If you call things by their proper names, in Phenchkhan Zagitova is just fantastically lucky. How exactly she will be able to dispose of the fruits of this luck – the question is still open.

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze

© RIA Novosti. Alexander Wilf

Another one "aggravating" in this case, the factor is that Alina has already won her main medal. She is an Olympic champion. It is no longer chasing a new target with a whip, which means that the coach, who does not have any alternatives to the leader in the next two years, will have to reckon with the student, not having an authoritarian dialogue with her, but rather a partner dialogue. Can you imagine Tutberidze in this capacity? Me not.

To begin with, this contradicts the very concept of the group, where everything is arranged according to the principle "the strongest survives". The situation that has arisen between Medvedev and Zagitova this season is just another reminder: even if you are a two-time world champion, you can not get stuck with you, if you stumble, nobody will. This, in fact, was clear before – by example "golden girls Sochi" Yulia Lipnitskaya.

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze© RIA Novosti. Alexander Wilf

Although the coach now can only sympathize. Medvedev for Eteri – not just a talented sportswoman, which was once Lipnitskaya, and now remains Zagitova. In the case of these two skaters, the mentor was chosen according to the same criterion – as the only specialist in the country capable of achieving the maximum result in the shortest possible time. Both Julia and Alina came to Moscow to Tutberidze in order to win a very concrete competition – "his" Olympics.

Medvedev also began to ride at Tutberidze, when she was still no one – a coach, earning a ride on the sessions of mass skating. Together with her, Eteri came to a completely new level, much higher than the one she managed to achieve with other athletes, and it was Zhenya who was tacitly ordered to prove to the world: her coach is able to work successfully not only with small, adorable girls, but also with adults developed personalities.

It turned out that this is not quite true. Otherwise, probably, there would be no withdrawal, and with it – a tangible blow to the coaching reputation.

Diagonal Medvedeva. Vaitsekhovskaya about the separation of Medvedev and Tutberidze© RIA Novosti. Alexander Wilf

However, this shock can not be compared to what FFKKR is currently experiencing. Let go of the most charismatic and most stable figure skater in the world on "free bread" can not: what if she really wants to play for Canada? You can not keep it either: in Russia at the moment there is simply no specialist ready to devote the lion’s share of time to bringing Medvedev to a higher level than the one that was achieved a year ago – before the trauma. It remains to make a good face in case of a bad game – to announce the decision of the two-time world champion to go to Orser as a jointly accepted one, to fully finance its training abroad (calling this work an internship, upgrading or something like that), and in return receive guarantees, that Zhenya will leave without a scandal, formally will be attributed to the former school, and most importantly – will continue to perform under the previous flag.

The only question is whether the example will become contagious?

The author’s opinion may not coincide with the editorial position.


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