Sergei Voronov: “I am now looking ahead and not
Russian version of this interview has been published on the website of the
Russian Figure Skating Federation.
We met Sergei first in May in Moscow and then again in July at the Denis Ten
Memorial show in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
think it was no question for you to come to Almaty and perform in the memorial show. What does it mean to
of all I came out of respect for Denis and his country. The second reason is
that last year Denis helped me a lot when he agreed to mount my program. That
was a noble gesture from his side and I appreciated that already last season.
It was really interesting to work with him. He had a personal approach, to the
person and that is very important for a choreographer. When all this happened,
maybe it sounds banal, but at the competitions, at each of my events, when I
took my starting position I thought, 'Denis, if you are watching, help me a
bit', because it was a big responsibility and a lot of pressure. As they say,
God takes the best and he probably was one of the best of us. But I believe
we'll all meet in the other life, I believe that and I want to see them all.
does the preparation of the season go, how was the training camp?
training camp was hard, especially after you've missed so much time. It was
very difficult to come back. I now fully understand the words of these only and
few people that came back at such a responsible age, believe me. I am not even
for my competitors wishing that. No matter how much I like them or not, I don't
wish for that for them, because it is a tough path. It is not the easy way that
many take. They retire, that's it. This is really something different and only
those who went through that, can understand it. The preparation during the
summer is as always not easy. The first step will be the test skates, but all
steps are important to me and as always you have to go step by step. There will
be a starting point, these are the test skates. Then ... hopefully it will be
like a spiral that is unfolding upwards and does not get dizzy.
December, just before Russian Nationals, you got injured and were unable to
compete. That was a bad setback, but nevertheless you came back from it.
was a bad situation, one of the most upsetting in sports, when you are not just
having a bad competition, but you get injured and you can't skate because of
that - not bad or good, but not at all. You're sitting at home and watch as a
spectator. For an athlete that is tough psychologically. Now some time has
passed. These things break the weak ones but make the strong ones even
stronger. In my case, I think, I didn't give up, which is good. I am now
looking ahead and not looking backwards. Yes, it was a great season and I'm
happy that I was able to do well on the Grand Prix. I didn't get to the
Vancouver Olympics, but I went to the Grand Prix Final eight years later.
you think about retiring?
of other people are thinking about that. I'm not blind or deaf. But everybody
has his time, his expectations, his patience, his will. I still want to skate.
I discussed it with my team and nobody said something like 'what? Don't even
think about it'. It is my personal desire and when you really love what you're
doing, then some of these setbacks motivate you even more. In life we all have
challenges and in sports there's not only glory and victories. There are
failures as well and either you are a strong athlete and overcome them or you
are weak and you break.
champions as they say aren't the one that come and just win, but those who went
through a path.
of course. Your compatriot (Aljona Savchenko) is a prime example. She went
through so much. In Russia they already wanted to bury her and in the end she
got the gold medal at the Olympic Games and everyone shut their mouths quickly.
This is character. In sports you can't do anything without character.
are quite a few older skaters out there like you, Alexei Bychenko, Michal
Brezina for example.
think we're not lowering the level of worldwide competitions. I think this is
just interesting, people from different age categories. This is like in arts,
there are different epoques like the Renaissance and the Antique and you cannot
say what is better or worse. It's probably the same in sports. There are these
athletes and those athletes. There some that do several quads and some that do
one quad. I think everyone should try their best so that it is interesting to
worked with ice dancer Dmitri Soloviev on your new programs. How did that
year we couldn't work together because of conflicting schedules. I'm very
grateful to Dima that he found the time to work with me for this season. I
think especially one program ... I'm listening to the music and each time and
every day and I don't get fed up with it. This is the short program. The long I
love as well. It's been a while that I'm enjoying so much both programs.
Usually you prefer one program, but that I like both equally... I can't even
say which one I like better. This happened probably for the first time to me in
chose the music?
time it was my choice. I won’t reveal it right now yet.
was it to work with Dima? He competed not so long ago himself.
don't think he's mounted a program before. As he wrote in Instagram, this is
his first experience, but he committed to it fully. Some people are mounting
programs like chainwork one after the other or are not really interested in
doing it, and there are quite a few like that. But when it is something new for
a person, it will be always interesting for him and it doesn't matter which
athlete it is. Dima always has been ambitious, and for him this is a kind of
challenge, just in a different way.
he teach you some ice dance steps?
year, yes, we worked on skating skills a bit and he showed me some
things. Obviously a lot of things in ice dance we (single skaters) don't know.
Of course, I'm trying to remember this and soak it all up.
seem to like to experiment with your choreographers.
wouldn't say it is an experiment. I like people who are interested and want to
work. I don't like people who are not enjoying their work. This is not for me,
because I like to work. I like figure skating and I enjoy doing that. If
someone doesn't feel comfortable with me, why should he work with me.
are your plans for the season?
Obviously, nobody likes the daily training routine, I tell you honestly. I'm
not a masochist who likes to torture himself. But, when you go out to compete
that makes up for all this routine work. Yes, it doesn't always work out, but
that makes it even more interesting. What will be in Canada, what will be in
America? How can you deal with the spectators? Either you like that or it is
not your thing at all and you don't have to do it.
have been competing for so many years, but you still feel the excitement.
person, any athlete no matter how long he has been competing, each time is like
the first time, because you don't know for a 100 percent what will happen.
Nodody is sure. I am even sure that the two-time Olympic Champion (Yuzuru
Hanyu) is not sure what will happen and how he will perform when he takes his
starting position. We are not the ones above that decide what happens, we are
all walking on Earth, even Yuzuru and Nathan (Chen). You even like that or you
don't. I'm one of those who like that, damn. It's like a kind of a drug. Find
something in life that gives you that kind of adrenaline shot.
rules have changed last season with the shorter free program and the wider
range of GOEs. How do you feel about that now after the season has passed?
don't master all the quads, so I can't complain that I can't repeat enough of
them. I don't have that problem. I'm calm about it. The GOE I think is
interesting. You can earn more, but when you make a mistake, you loose a lot.
If you do well, you get more. That's an important component - you fell or you
didn't fall. That they cut the program short has a minus. They cut it for quite
a bit, but for us men we only have one jump less. But a jump means just two,
three cross overs, step and jump. That doesn't take more than 10 seconds. We
now are confined to a very strict frame. You need transitions, you need a
character. There are strict frames, if that is good or bad, I think the people
in the ISU also have thought about it. Let's see what happens before the
Olympic Games. Maybe there will be some changes in the rules. But I don't worry
about it. But I think they should give us a little more time, because a jump
doesn't take so much time. That's just my opinion. But they make the rules and
as an athlete I accept them and play according to them. It wouldn't be
interesting either if everything is made easier. We are living in modern times
after all, everything gets more difficult. We can't go back to triple jumps -
not doing any quads or triple Axels.
rules would you change if you could?
That's an interesting question. Maybe I would change the system for the second
mark. I wouldn't split it up into transitions, skating skills, but I would do
it a bit differently. Different components. Maybe I would do it like that that
the technical score would not influence at all the component score.
was even an idea that you have two different judging panels - one for the
technique and one for the components.
think that would be really interesting. For example, you have someone jumping
very well, getting very high scores for the technique, but the panel was not
impressed by his program and he gets quite low components. Another one messes
up, gets the minimum for technique, but he skates like Patrick Chan and the
choreographer hit the nail on the head with the program. Maybe you could give a
small medal for the technique and a small medal for the components. This would
be another possibility.
there was a competition for a technical program and one for the artistic
program - which one would you like to compete in?
would like to compete in both, because it is interesting to test yourself in
do you see the development of figure skating? Girls are doing quads now, for
least figure skating gets on a higher technical difficulty, but the concerning
the character and performance aspects of the program, it lost a bit its value
in figure skating. Basically we went into the direction how can we make the
Russia the men are now in the shadow of the girls. How do you feel about that?
is reality, I'm not blind and I see very well that our girls are the strongest
in the world. The boys ... I don't know. I won't speak for others, but I might
have been in last place at the Grand Prix Final, but I was the only one of the
Russian boys who got there.
upsetting for you that the girls are doing more quads than some of the men?
girls are very young. For me that is not upsetting at all, because I did a lot
of quads in my life. I am very happy for these girls - for Anna Shcherbakova,
Alexandra Trusova, Alena Kostornaia. I know how much hard work that is and how
much strength and health you have to input and all that. Only someone lazy can
feel jealous. We are not competitors. I respect the little girls that do these
it is easier for them to jump like that because they are tiny and light.
That's a popular provocative question - when they grow up we'll see. I didn't
go through puberty, so I don't know. But maybe someone will remain. Everyone
thinks they'll stop (doing quads) but I don't think they will. Someone will
you think they can do quads, because they rotate very fast?
can do it, because they're working very hard, believe me.
there are kind of mental barrier to overcome to do quads?
It needed someone to do it and then you go out and think 'if he did it, why
shouldn't I try at least'. And when they are skating in the same group, you see
all that every day, then the mental barrier will fall quickly.
guys have been working on a quad Axel. What do you think about that?
they are confident in their abilities, why not. I saw that Keegan (Messing) did
it in practice and I think Yuzuru (Hanyu) tried it. This is very interesting.
The triple Axel used to be considered one of the most difficult elements and it
is still not seen as easy. We'll see. Four and a half revolutions - that puts a
different strain on the body. If land in a bad way, it is something different.
The price for error is high. It would be great - it will be a royal jump.
have a great, high triple Axel, too. Did you ever think about trying a quad?
Honestly, I still want to be able to walk. Then it's also one thing to learn
something when you are 19 years old or before you are 19 and when you learn
something and you're over 30. It is even not so much a physical, but a
mental question. Even with the quad loop. When I'm in a normal shape, what is
the difference (to younger skaters) maybe only that I need more time to recover
than a 16 year old. But the mental part - it exists, nobody can get away from
it, everything comes from the head - is a little different. You are more
conscious about everything, you have gone through more injuries.
the other hand, as an older athlete you are more experienced, which is also an
it can be a minus or a plus. It depends on how you approach it yourself and
look at it and from what angle.
you did the quad loop.
didn't land it cleanly in competition.
practice you did it, didn't you?
know, you can say you did it only when you landed it in competition. When
Yuzuru did it in competition, he can say he landed it. But nobody else can say
that they did it, including me. I can only say that I tried it, but so far it
didn't work for me. If I manage it, if it is recognized and in the protocol,
then I can say that I did it. But to film it on video ... we have many clowns
that post videos. That's funny. Practice is one thing, competition is another
thing. You can be a practice king, but to go out in competition, at the right
time and the right place, when you are on adrenaline, go out and do it. You
have one attempt. This is high level sport, this is the price for a medal and
then you can say I did it. And there are only few who can say that. There are a
lot who did jumps in training.
the psychological factor the most important difference between competition and
let's be honest. Everybody is afraid, everybody is nervous, but someone can
handle it sometimes and someone can't. This is what makes the sport interesting
- are you able to handle yourself in the given situation, the given moment or
can't you? It happens even to great athletes that they couldn't handle
themselves at a competition and fell apart. Nobody is eternal and everyone
makes mistakes. The competition is this state why people can't stop competing.
It is this kind of state, you are in a different psychological situation, you
are in a different dimension. You can ask anyone - when you are on the ice -
where else in life do you feel these emotions? Maybe it's like when you are
parachuting for the first time. That's probably the same. Or ride a racing
motorcycle at 300 km/h. Then you probably feel the same kind of adrenaline
shot. But you can't jump constantly with a parachute or not get off the
do you prepare for a competition?
Actually there are no secrets or special manipulations. First of all it is
daily work, slave work. You come to competition and you have to pull yourself
together not so much physically, but in your head to go out in the needed
mindset. These are personal things. You need to be on your wave, that is
comfortable for you. Then you have a higher chance for success.
you follow any rituals?
don't burn any papers, I don't have any voodoo dolls. No. I just believe in
work. I believe in material things. If you worked on something you show that.
When you are not ready, it is silly to hope for a wonder. Sometimes you see it,
someone comes to competition, he hasn't really done anything for two months,
what is he hoping for? Only if he is lucky, it's a chance 1:100, but that can
happen once. There is work and not for nothing all coaches that know what they
are doing in any sport have a system.
had many coaches, so you tested many systems.
There were a lot of systems. I have a certain system now that I know and that
works for me and that has been tried.
you for the interview and all the best for the season!