Maxim Trankov: “I was constantly put down”
Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov parted ways immediately after the Olympic season. Their break-up has already sprouted many rumors. Sports.ru decided to find out the truth and chatted with skater Trankov who hasn’t talked to journalists for two months. He does have things to tell – about betrayals, banquet talks, “bad” practices and his new partnership with Tatiana Volosozhar, who suits him better in character in temperament.
Maxim, everyone wants to know – why did your partnership with Maria Mukhortova break up despite all its potential? Coach Oleg Vasiliev said you arranged with the federation president Valentine Piseev during Russian nationals to partner up with someone else…
No. That’s not true. There was a banquet following Russian nationals. We sat at different tables – I was with my friends, and Masha and Oleg Kimovich were with coaches and judges. Then, Vasiliev went to talk to Piseev. Sometime later, he came back, went up to my table, and said, “Come outside, Valentine Nikolayevich is waiting to speak to you”. I went outside, and Piseev said, “Oleg Kimovich is complaining that you practiced poorly, and didn’t prepare well for the Russian nationals.” I told him this was true and explain the reasons.
Why did you practice poorly?
This had to do with relationships in our team. At times, I wasn’t treated well. For example, this year our federation conducted an all-team camp in Sochi, and Valentine Nikolayevich ordered me and my partner to be there. Masha wrote a letter that her grandmother in Lipetsk was sick and that she needed to visit her. She got a waiver. I, though, wasn’t allowed to visit my parents. It was in spring, while my father suffered a heart attack in the winter. I couldn’t visit him. I went to the camp and practiced alone. Then, I immediately left for Chicago, not having any vacation at all.
That’s just a preamble. Two weeks before the Russian Nationals, I was submitting our passports for the Estonian visa. It turned out, Masha and Oleg Kimovich vacationed in the Dominican during the Sochi camp! I was angry, and it affected my practices. I told all this to Piseev when he asked. I tried to talk to the coach to understand why Masha and he did that. He shot back, “Because that’s what Masha wanted”. My opinion wasn’t considered, and my interests didn’t figure in decision-making. I want to emphasize that I have no problem with Masha as a partner and Oleg Kimovich as a coach, but I do have a problem with how I was treated. I no longer wanted this subordination. This led me to decide to part ways after the Olympics.
There were plenty of other unsavory examples. This fall, at the start of the season, the federation was discussing the plans. I was made to look like some alcoholic, and just smeared all over. There was no basis for this! Everyone was at the meeting can corroborate this. I then had a nervous breakdown because I didn’t expect such a betrayal from my team.
Now, people say Maxim is a traitor, he betrayed his partner. But let’s go back to what happened after the Goteborg world championships. My neck was broken. It was unclear if I’d ever skate again, and Masha tried out with a Frenchman. Later on, I took the ice and we continued to work together as if nothing happened. You see, I had to put up with those things all the time. Too much has built up for me to forgive.
Why do you think the coach treated you like that?
We got off to a bad start. Sometimes, two people just don’t mash together. I’ll admit that I was often wrong. However, you can always find a compromise; you should never lower yourself to personal insults. Can you believe it – Oleg Kimovich called my father a loser! He said I’d be a loser just like my father! How long was I supposed to put up with it?
Rumors say you’ve arranged to skate with the Ukrainian skater Tatiana Volosozhar ahead of time?
No, that’s a lie. We didn’t talk until recently. Volosozhar and I teamed up because we were both done. We met after World championships. We haven’t even decided if we’ll be competitive. Perhaps, we will just perform together in shows. You see, I would’ve broken up with Masha even if there was no Volosozhar. I guess God decided it was too early for me to quit, and sent me Tanya.
Have you started to skate with Tatiana?
No. We just have an agreement. She’ll skate in a show with Stas Morozov through the end of April. I hope to begin and try out some elements before the summer. Then we’ll see.
If you compete, which country will you represent?
Did Piseev take part in your negotiations?
No. I just now that late last season Tanya and Stas saw Valentin Piseev to ask if he’d support Tanya skating for Russia. He said he’d be all for it. That’s the extent of his involvement.
Will there be problems with the Ukrainian federation?
I don’t know. However, I think that if they (I mean Volosozhar and Morozov) are approaching this seriously, they must know what they’re doing.
Who’ll be your coach? Morozov?
I think Morozov will be a part of the team. We haven’t discussed the rest yet.
Is Volosozhar a better partner than Mukhortova?
I think Tanya’s character and temperament suits me better. We’ve known each other a long time, and talked to her is much easier for me than talking to Masha. When people are friends, it’s much easier for them to work together. Professionally, I think Masha is better in some things and Tanya in others. It’s hard to judge.
What’s your current relationship with Mukhortova?
It’s non-existent. I knew we’d other have no relations at all or have really bad ones. Masha wanted to continue skating with me through the Sochi Olympics. I am very grateful to her for the seven years we’ve skated together and the results we’ve achieved. She’ll always be in my heart, and I’ll always think warmly of her. Unfortunately, though, people sometimes have to make tough decisions. This is sport. I think a partner change will be good for her as well.