Slightly older (from December) Tarasova interview.
Original is here: http://gazeta.aif.ru/online/superstar/101/26_01
I also posted this in my figure skating blog - http://ptichkafs.livejournal.com/22120.html#cutid1- where I included the pictures with translated captions (scroll to the bottom of the page).
Tatiana Tarasova: "Only the strong ones have luck".
One sleety November evening, Tatiana Antolievna Tarasova and I were coming back from the filming of "Stars on Ice" project. Engrossed in the conversation, we were at her home near the "Sokol" station before we knew it. Actually, the whole day went very fast as well. When I ran in in the morning, Tarasova was getting ready for "Stars on Ice", selecting an outfit, talking on all the phones simultaneously, and solving the problems of her stylist, who fell sick, and whom we dropped off at the doctor's later on. Tarasova helps everyone around her. She always solves others' problems, be it those of her students, their parents, friends and acquaintances, or the students of her husband, pianist Vladimir Krainev.
Over 20 years of our friendship, I have taken many interviews with the famous coach. Here we meet again. We started our discussion with what we saw on ice, as this is what concerns Tatiana Anatolievna the most right now.
"I come out of filming sessions all emptied out; I pay a very dear price for them, both physically and emotionally. It's hard for me to judge the contestants, as I love them all very much. I try to be objective. I like how the kids overcome themselves to learn more and more. No one wants to leave the project without a fight."
"It seems like today everyone as put on the skates."
"Yes, the whole country is on skates. Or, if it's not on them, it wants to be. Audiences are growing, and people who skipped or weren't watching the first shows are now glued to them.
Thousands of people ask me, 'Could I skate there? And me? And me?' I tell everyone – 'Of course!' Because a man's potential is limitless. Everything is possible!"
"Just a few short years ago, at the start of perestroika, there was an awful drop in the interest in figure skating".
"The interest drop happened because not one TV channel broadcasted figure skating. We weren't loosing at competitions. Our skaters had very high achievements at all championships. However, this didn't make it to the screen. Now, it turns out nothing can replace figure skating because it's real. I am proud to be directly involved with all that. Skaters always had public admiration. I recall the first tours in Siberia, more than 30 years ago. At the open air stadiums, fans would throw onto the snow-covered ice the red geranium they'd grow on their windowsills especially for the occasion (you couldn't buy flowers then). I won't ever forget that cut geranium. We were always loved, probably for a good reason. We glorified our Homeland."
"Tatiana Anatolievna, why do you think it is Russia that produces so many great skaters? No other country in the world has as many champions as we do."
"Well, there is also the United States of America, which also has many great champions, especially since many Russian coaches moved there. Over the past 20 years, they've fortified the positions of Americans and Japanese, who are also working with Russian coaches.
Russians are a very talented people. We have a big country, where there are many talented people, we just have to value them. We have to encourage and cultivate them. You know how they ask, "How's life?" "According to talent". Talented people should be treated with special care. Talent is what drives the world. We have many gifted children, and we shouldn't lose them. There was a difficult period of time when many coaches moved abroad, and are now working in alien countries 10 times more effectively. Competition has grown, but I think the new coaching generation is beginning to gather speed.
I just like talent, I like everything new, and I try to move forward without looking back. In the upcoming year, on February 13th, I will turn 60. I should slow down. However, coaching is what I love. Actually, it's a great fortune – having something to serve all your love."
"I guess you spend 24 hours a day on the ice?"
"In our profession, everyone is a workaholic. However, a question of who should work what hours isn't appropriate. One person needs 5 hours of work, another on needs 8, and yet another one will complete everything in one. Industriousness is a base value, but it doesn't dictate everything. One won't get far without talent."
"In your opinion, what is a relationship between industriousness and talent?"
"Intuition is something you either do or do not have. Everything else depends on industriousness. You can't buy it at the market either."
"Did your father, the great coach Anatoly Tarasov, influence you a lot?"
"I always recall dad with gratitude. My parents gave me my professions, as they gave me my life. Everything comes from family. I always saw before me a striking example of fantastical devotion to one's profession – one provided by my father. Above all else, I did not want to disgrace him. I succeeded, thank god. Mom, too, is happy with me."
"Tatiana Anatolievna, you started coaching a long time ago, when you were 19. Did you imagine then what was in store for you?"
"I lived under the same room with a genius; in our two-room apartment where we still live I saw the example of devotion to one's trade. That's why I didn't garner any illusions. I started working at 19, and that work defined my whole life. From the first day, I always go the rink with an ever-present feeling of bliss. Actually, I put on the skates at 5, and had considerable results early on.
I was lucky – I got into the profession early on, and was always rather successful. I am very grateful to the parents who brought me their children. I don't think I let down or disappointed any of them. All the children who were given over to me – Tanya Vojtuk, Ira Moiseeva, Andrusha Minenkov, Luda Suslina, Sasha Tikhomirov – they all realized themselves, acquired a profession, and are all educated people who know how to read music and are capable of working to unconsciousness. The next generation, too – Ira Rodnina with Sasha Zaitsev, Natasha Bestemianova with Andrusha Bukin, Marina Klimova with Serezha Ponomarenko, Oksana Gritchuk with Zhenya Platov, Ilya Kulik, Lesha Yagudin, the foreing athletes – Barbara Fussar-Poli with Maurizio Margaglio, Sasha Cohen, Shizuka Arakawa, Jonnie Weir – all of them – all of my students worked like that as well."
"What do you think about such a thing as luck?"
"Luck can be strong. That's what I think."
"Yet sometimes in sport the strong ones don't have luck. Let's take Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov. Those guys are fighters, you can tell they're among the best, yet each time something gets in the way of them being the first."
"They are indeed among the best. Twice they've won worlds and Europeans. This year they were also the best, but had no luck. I consider this a great injustice. Were they my athletes, I wouldn't let them go to the medal ceremony. I'd go for the full out scandal. Judges should be ashamed. Judging should be fair. One must answer for the judging during the competition, not after. That's all. So, there would have been a scandal, so what? It would have been an honest scandal. Honest from our side, that is. Judge's bias was shameless."
"Tatiana Anatolievna, you didn't always have it easy either, it took you a long time to establish your style and your direction. You weren't understood, you were laughed at. Then, Western agents stole away your actors, former skaters who performed in you "All Stars" show. You were admonished for living in America. You weren't given ice in Russia, you were chased out of rinks. Did you forgive and forget?"
"I don't want to even recall that. I don't keep grudges. I just live. And if I came up with something, and it was taken by somebody – good for them.
How can one live in bitterness? I live for the present and the future. I want my mom who is 88 and my love ones to be alive and well. That's what matters most to me now."
"Do you often recall you former students, the infamous 'tarasians'? When, in their turn, did they teach you?"
"They taught me patience. They gave over to me their talent, which perhaps they didn't even know they had. As well as their beauty. Of course I recall them."
"Do they call you a lot?"
"Now, we are all busy, thank god. When I turn 60, I hope they all come. I hope I mean something in their lives, regardless what project I currently work on."
"Tatiana Anatolievna, you've had everything, both the roses and the thorns. What allowed you to always be on top? What helped you through?"
"I always thought up new things. I always had at my disposal great talent. I did everything to realize this talent."