Is the gold medal in the Olympic team event called into question?
Representatives of the men’s singles of Russia again failed in international performance. This time it was at a Grand Prix stop in Sochi where the fate of tickets for the tournament final was determined. Experts and fans cannot agree again and again on the reason for the misfortunes of our figure skaters. Because the performance of the national team in other events, pairs skating and ice dancing, not to mention the ladies’ singles, is close to being exceptional. Read in the report of the sports team of Realnoe Vremya the possible reasons for the fall of men’s skating.
Why do we talk about Kolyada first?
This stage of the Grand Prix at the Iceberg Olympic Stadium in Sochi was certainly a success. There were two full podiums in Russia, in women’s skating and in pairs, three world records, a gold in ice dance and a silver in the men’s. Only the last result stands out in the crowd, but not because of the color of the medal but the content. Mikhail Kolyada managed to finish second and reach the Grand Prix final, but we cannot be happy with the result. He had a frankly poor performance in both programs, failed to perform jumps, fell, had a sortie and again not the friendliest communication with reporters and dodged questions. Maybe it doesn’t matter, everyone can have bad days, if not a but: Mikhail’s whole career consists of such days.
Unofficially, Kolyada is precisely the number one of the national team and he has everything to integrate. He has a natural talent, he trains with one of the best coaches in the world Alexey Mishin and, importantly, has the support of the federation. Yes, it was hard for Kolyada after the Pyeongchang Olympics: there was a lot of criticism after the missing gold in the team event. But almost four years have passed since then. Kolyada missed a season, treated his injuries. A lot of events happened during this period, including in his personal life, there were a lot of competitions with both wins and losses. It may seem that the memories need to be replaced with others. But Kolyada’s results and performance don’t change. The athlete himself is not commenting on the situation, he is simply saying that he knows the cause of his faults but that he is not going to share them publicly.
Do only Russian figure skaters have psychological problems and pressure?
The general public believe that the psychology of the athlete and the pressure placed on him is the reason. And while we can partly agree with that in the case of Kolyada, it would be astute to say that the same pressure is being put on other representatives of Russia’s single gentlemen. Every athlete has psychology, pressure, criticism, but why do they influence Russian single skaters so much? Why don’t the girls, young girls, women who perform on the ice allow the negative thoughts in their heads to dominate them? They are certainly criticized for any errors on and off the ice. Wasn’t every fault of Alina Zagitova discussed once? Was not the name of Evguenia Medvedeva conjugated? Didn’t Alexandra Trusova come up with some nasty nicknames or didn’t Alyona Kostornaia remember her sharp tongue?
Finally, the men perform not only in singles but also in duets. But we don’t see any mass mental issues there, although any event has competition and tension. The same goes for figure skaters from other countries: no one justifies their bad luck by their way of thinking, and no top figure skater can ruin performances on a regular basis. Here, it is generalized. And this does not concern only Mikhail Kolyada, but also all representatives of the men’s singles of the Russian national team.
In conclusion, I would like to note that no one denies care, responsibility for the result and the instinct for self-preservation regardless of gender. But it is not clear why the epitome of the things listed above must be precisely among the Russian men’s singles skaters.
Can the weak generation be the cause?
There is another version which is used to justify the misfortunes of the simple gentlemen. It is the supposedly weak generation that is now playing for the Russian team. Of course, when your history has had living legends of world figure skating such as Yevgeny Plyushchenko and Alexey Yagudin, it is very difficult to surpass them in charisma and skating quality. But we think it is wrong to say that today’s generation is weaker than the previous one.
Our figure skaters can do a lot. There are athletes with great technique like Alexander Samarin and incredible skaters like Mikhail Kolyada, some figure skaters can combine both qualities, say, Dmitry Aliyev. Makar Ignatov can amaze with the variety of quads, while Yevgeny Semenenko and Mark Kondratyuk can remember at the right time and give the country the third Olympic qualification. Andrey Mozalyov is the reigning junior world champion, while Artur Daniyelyan is the reigning European silver medalist. And that’s not the full list, we have strong figure skaters, while the gaps for any athlete in the world can be filled. Given the will.
Answers to tough questions on the surface
It seems the answer is hidden here. What if everything was much simpler? Maybe when you have ideal training conditions, you get a salary as a member of the country’s national team, you don’t have to collect bottles to help your parents (Editor’s note: Yevgeny Plyushchenko is here destined), while the influential Figure Skating Federation is at your fingertips, relaxing? What if the lack of an appropriate attitude to work and low standards were the reason? Because when you are a professional athlete (in fact, figure skaters are professionals, although the figure skating system is a little different) it all matters: the food you eat, your diet, the amount and quality of training, and how often you train jumps and skate your programs. For example, if Sofia Samodelkina exaggerated when she said she was jumping 500 Axels a day, she obviously didn’t exaggerate too much. While the legend tells of how the programs in Khrustalny are executed at each workout.
What if our singles skaters lost the fight before the competition? What if it wasn’t enough for them to just train but need to work hard? Maybe you demand less of yourself when you realize that you are personally happy with everything? Your group doesn’t have six candidates for key competitions, and if talented juniors are chasing you, apparently a quadruple toe loop for two programs is enough to reach the Grand Prix final. Or when you’re a talented figure skater and haven’t been able to get back into shape for several seasons, you literally die in the second half of the program but don’t notice if the usual conditioning doesn’t work. , you can turn to professional conditioning coaches, and not to sports college graduates who are completing extramural studies? As they say, all coincidences are accidental.
Will the situation soon change?
Since the Olympic season is different from the regular seasons in figure skating, we hope that our athletes will get in shape through the main competitions. We repeat that they have it all: knowledge, talent, a qualified coaching staff. The question is, when will this happen and if they will. The next big tournament will take place in Japan, the Grand Prix final will take place there. 11 representatives from Russia, including Mikhail Kolyada, will attend. The young Japanese prodigy Yuma Kagiyama (the only one to have won two stages this year), also of Japanese origin Shoma Uno, the experts of the American quad Vincent Zhou, Nathan Chen and Jason Brown will be his opponents. It’s good training for our skaters ahead of the national championships. But then the officials of the Russian Figure Skating Federation will not be envied. After the national championships, they will have to choose the team for the main competition of the season, including the Olympic Games. And it looks like the hardest choice will have to be made in men’s singles. Or the phrase “Pyeongchang flashbacks” will have a completely different meaning than it currently has.