<a href="http://www.eg.ru/Publication.mhtml?PubID=4214&Menu=&Part=63" target="top">Express Gazeta</a>
Translated and courtesy post: Maureen Diffley
She has tremendous experience with victory. She has six times led her champions to the world title. In Washington, Natalya Linichuk’s students Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbukh could have won again. But for gold they lacked just one judge’s vote.
Q: Natalya, what do you think of the new system in which 5 judges of fourteen are absolutely not included and the judges give their marks anonymously?
A: “I’ve noticed that the judges’ posture is better, they are not afraid to show their opinion. Maybe this system isn’t ideal, but it’s working. Before the worlds, nothing criminal happened. But in Washington, a portion of the judges gave Bourne and Kraatz a gift for long patience. These skaters were in the world elite for many years, but were never champions. SO they pitied them. By the way, if you add all 14 marks, Lobacheva and Averbukh would have been first. I think their free dance in rock and roll style looked more
Q: Was there any danger that for some extravagant moves the judges could lower the scores?
A: “We have no elements forbidden by the rules. For example, Ilya jumps over his partner. Where is it written that you can’t do that? You can’t lay on your partner’s neck, sit on the neck and stand, but you can spin the partner and round the neck and Ilya does do that in the dance.”
Q: Have you had serious conflict with Ilya and Ira?
A: “We’ve had creative differences. In 1999, the kids decided they could do everything themselves, chose their own choreographer and made a program that I didn’t like. Especially the music. I said right away, this wont’ work. But Ilya was stubborn. Then he realized he was wrong and we quickly changed music, but it was late and the kids were without medals at the main starts. “In the summer of 200, I chose Bach for the free. Ilya said with sarcasm, Natalya Vladimirovna, do you want to put the final nail in our coffin with Bach’s help?” I answered then, this is the only music – no others. If you don’t like it, there is the door, I don’t keep anybody.” In a few months, they beat Bourne and Kraatz at the Grand Prix. Moreover in Canada. And the audience seeing this program, wept.”
Q: Lobacheva and Averbukh announced they are retiring? Are you trying to keep them?
A: “The kids are at that age when you need to think about the future. I know Irina wants a baby. I will be happy if they stay, but they have the last word on this.”
Q: Your former students Tatyana Navka and Roman Kostomarov are progressing, they took second at the Grand Prix Final and nearly bronze at worlds. Are you surprised?
A: “When I created this pair, Roman was categorically opposed to skating with Tanya. He thought he neated a more lively, quick partner and a bit smaller in size. It was so much labor to convince him. It seems, I didn’t try for nothing.”
Q. Ukrainians Grushina and Goncharov left you for Tarasova. Why?
A: “I had finished my contract with them and we decided not to extend it. That’s all. In general, I have become a bit of preparatory worker for Tatyana. Before the Nagano Olympics my students Grishuk and Platov left for her. It’s life and I’m not offended.”
Q: Do you associate with Oksana Grishuk anymore?
A: “Why not? She had a daughter recently, she calls about every three weeks from Los Angeles. She sent pictures of her daughter, Grace Skyler. The baby has SUCH cheeks! Oksana says she is happy. She wanted to try herself
out in Hollywood, but that didn’t turn out so far. By the way you’re right, now she’s not Pasha but Oksana. As before. She thought up Pasha for Hollywood.”
Q: They said you sued her for money. What happened? Did she pay you?
A: “According to our contract, a portion of the prize money for Grishuk and Platov was to go to us as payment. IN America you don’t have to stamp it – just signatures of both parites is enough. When Grishuk and Platov went to Tarasova, they forgot us.”
Q: And after that you still associate with them!
A: “Of course, it’s unpleasant to sue your students, but… I know Oksana since she was 12, Zhenay a bit less. There is so much connected with them. They left me for Dubova, then returned. I made them the best pair in the world. You never forget the best. Recently Platov decided to be a coach – he works with the Israelis Galit Chait and Sergei Sakhonovski. Zhenya came up to me, asked for advice. I see that he was listening to my recommendations.”
Q: Another of your students, two-time world champion Angelika Krilova tied her life up with an Italian choreographer, Guiseppe Arena, who is 15 years older than her. Did it surprise you?
A: “Nothing surprises me. Many things happen in figure skater that are best not to announce. Angela had problems with being overweight, she broke the diet. Now, she doesn’t have that – strict Giuseppe won’t let her indulge.”
Q: How did Oleg Ovsiannikov, Angelika’s partner, respond to the appearance of the Italian? Did he have nay plans for her?
A: “ I didn’t notice that. The guys agreed right away that they would only work together. Oleg was very caring for her and tended to her when she was in the hospital because of her back problems, but no more than that. They were like
brother and sister.”
Q: You and Gennadi Karponosov worked in America for 9 years. When does your contract with University of Delaware run out?
A: “You won’t believe it, but we work without a contract, The main thing is they give us free ice. When Krilova and Ovsiannikov had to stay in Moscow in 1999, we asked our own Dinamo to let them train, the phone calls started. “First, the money”. And we had agreed through acquaintances! Therefore, we aren’t rushing to leave Newark. All the right conditions are there.”
Q: What does your daughter do?
A: “Ballroom dance. Nastya decided that 3 figure skaters for one family was excessive. She turned 18 on February 13. Thankfully, on her birthday – for the first time in many years – I was home. We sent papa to the Four Continents competition.”