Ekaterina Bobrova: "Eteri Tutberidze can say humiliating things during training"

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Thrashergurl

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Oct 27, 2019
I think you are referring to me Scott someone. ;)

You are right. Well-behaved demeanor does not mean someone is not being abused. But I seriously doubt Anya was abused in any way 13 years at Sambo.

Bobrovas humilition comment was immediately refuted by Yags, Zhulin and Besty who is not besties with EG.

Yags has been watching TT practices for years. He says he has never seen this coach humiliate any skater. Are we not to believe him because he is known to be a pain in the you-know-what?
You’re right- it was you! The guilty party- just kidding, of course. We all checked this forum often and it’s almost as if we know each other without knowing each other. 😂.
 

Draculus

Rinkside
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Sep 8, 2018
Unfortunately, 'You can get more with a kind word and a gun than with just a kind word.'
Till some research in human psychology/neurobiology proves this statement wrong by providing better working methods - preparation for competition 'with a gun' will be more efficient. In army, sports, competitive studies - any activities that are hard.

And this is especially true for children, their brains are not fully developed yet and have less willpower (than adult) to endure training just due to biology reasons.
In figure skating it means coaches who never use 'stick' and only use 'carrot' on a large scale will produce worse results.

Honestly, I see only 1 ethical solution to this problem - ban whole elite sport as it is.
 
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Scott512

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You’re right- it was you! The guilty party- just kidding, of course. We all checked this forum often and it’s almost as if we know each other without knowing each other. 😂.
Exacticly!

We certainly need a video of AK doing 3A at TT. If she really gets that back then she is without question of factor to make the Olympic team. Judges love her skating especially internationally judges. Russian federation knows this.
 

icybear

Medalist
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"When people talk about her training methods they seem to forget about Stanislav's Zhuk training methods. Some of his students went on to become champions, but the stuff that went on the ice during practice, let's just say that it was best to stay far far away from it. Only we have something like this, due to our mentality. In USA, if you touch an athlete's leg the wrong way, you could end up in jail."
Why does she makes it sound like its a negative thing? Touching a child in a wrong way like in a sexually molesting way or in a physically abusive way. Why does she sound so proud of habouring an environment where a child should feel accepting this? And the mentality thing. Last time I checked Russia had the 3rd highest suicide rate in the world so obviously the abuse is showing an effect.
 

Scott512

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Why does she makes it sound like its a negative thing? Touching a child in a wrong way like in a sexually molesting way or in a physically abusive way. Why does she sound so proud of habouring an environment where a child should feel accepting this? And the mentality thing. Last time I checked Russia had the 3rd highest suicide rate in the world so obviously the abuse is showing an effect.
Maybe because that environment made Bobrova famous and massively successful.

Remember for every Bobrova there are probably 10,000 skaters that dont make it. Her thinking maybe that she could shake off how roughly she may have been treated as I figure skating student because she became somebody. But for those who don't make it which is probably over 99% of these figure skaters then they have to take that with them the rest of their lives as well as not becoming a figure skating success.

In retrospect Ekaterina is surprised her Eteri humiliaties students comment of hers became such a huge story.. it did.
 

Lota

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I think that coaching in and of itself is such a complicated job and topic. And not only when it comes to professional sports. I'm sure that almost any person who has done anything competitive and/or performance-related (singing, dancing, choir, theatre, band/orchestra, etc.) where a mentor of some sorts is involved can remember at least one moment where in the heat of the moment something humiliating was said. Or they can remember many such moments. I imagine that for coaches/mentors, it can be very difficult to strike the balance between being perfectly nice regardless of the circumstances and pushing students to achieve big results. Some pupils are motivated in and of themselves. Others can be perceived as lazier and thus coaches think that shame of anger may motivate them - and if they see the results improving, they continue employing such tactics (not saying it's a good thing at all - it's just how I imagine some coaches may see it).

With anything competitive, the training environment is going to be heated. If something less than nice slips out once or twice - it's still a bad thing, but may be understandable. If it's a constantly employed tactic - that's just plain abuse. And it is going to leave damage. And the pupils will either realise somewhere along the way (maybe many years down the line) that they are/were victims, or they are going to try and ignore it and say that "this is just how things are", without knowing that there can be different approaches to training. Ekaterina is probably somewhere down the middle here - she can tell that it's not right, but still can't quite depart from the "this is how things are" phase.

I don't know what the true situation with Eteri is. But with Katia mentioning Zhuk, I do recall seeing some sort of interview where either Rodnina or Vodorezova was talking about strict he was and how unpleasant the training environment could be for them. If I recall correctly, he did have a reputation for, em, having a drinking problem, so I can imagine that he could hurl abuse without restraint in such circumstances. Rodnina is a lady with quite the character herself, so I recall hearing that they would often butt heads. Don't know exactly what his training methods were, but I gather that the environment wasn't nice. Either way, I do hope that the situation has improved and will continue to improve. I also very much hope that students can stand up for themselves, but I do understand that, at such an elite level, there are limited options of where to train, and so the risk of leaving/being thrown out can be scarier that these unpleasant circumstances (and so they stay) :(

I also don't think that this is strictly a Russia problem (thinking that is very naïve), but that it IS a very big problem over there, especially with it being so out in the open and with pupils almost having a sense of pride that they lived through that and got good results. That sort of mentality needs to change for sure.
 

readernick

Medalist
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I think that coaching in and of itself is such a complicated job and topic. And not only when it comes to professional sports. I'm sure that almost any person who has done anything competitive and/or performance-related (singing, dancing, choir, theatre, band/orchestra, etc.) where a mentor of some sorts is involved can remember at least one moment where in the heat of the moment something humiliating was said. Or they can remember many such moments. I imagine that for coaches/mentors, it can be very difficult to strike the balance between being perfectly nice regardless of the circumstances and pushing students to achieve big results. Some pupils are motivated in and of themselves. Others can be perceived as lazier and thus coaches think that shame of anger may motivate them - and if they see the results improving, they continue employing such tactics (not saying it's a good thing at all - it's just how I imagine some coaches may see it).

With anything competitive, the training environment is going to be heated. If something less than nice slips out once or twice - it's still a bad thing, but may be understandable. If it's a constantly employed tactic - that's just plain abuse. And it is going to leave damage. And the pupils will either realise somewhere along the way (maybe many years down the line) that they are/were victims, or they are going to try and ignore it and say that "this is just how things are", without knowing that there can be different approaches to training. Ekaterina is probably somewhere down the middle here - she can tell that it's not right, but still can't quite depart from the "this is how things are" phase.

I don't know what the true situation with Eteri is. But with Katia mentioning Zhuk, I do recall seeing some sort of interview where either Rodnina or Vodorezova was talking about strict he was and how unpleasant the training environment could be for them. If I recall correctly, he did have a reputation for, em, having a drinking problem, so I can imagine that he could hurl abuse without restraint in such circumstances. Rodnina is a lady with quite the character herself, so I recall hearing that they would often butt heads. Don't know exactly what his training methods were, but I gather that the environment wasn't nice. Either way, I do hope that the situation has improved and will continue to improve. I also very much hope that students can stand up for themselves, but I do understand that, at such an elite level, there are limited options of where to train, and so the risk of leaving/being thrown out can be scarier that these unpleasant circumstances (and so they stay) :(

I also don't think that this is strictly a Russia problem (thinking that is very naïve), but that it IS a very big problem over there, especially with it being so out in the open and with pupils almost having a sense of pride that they lived through that and got good results. That sort of mentality needs to change for sure.
This post expresses my thoughts perfectly. I don't know anything about the environment in Eteri's school ( beyond a few clips we may have seen) and I am not going to make assumptions. But, there has long been an abusive environment in artistic sports. Yes, in Russia. Also in the Japan ( we are talking physical abuse) , France, The USA, Britain and the list goes on. It is so normalized that someone can talk about being hit as a child, and many people on this forum are more concerned about a coaches reputation than they are those events. I work with kids and it is frustrating to deal with "lazy" students but in the end, how does yelling or hitting inspire them to succeed?
 

Amei

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This post expresses my thoughts perfectly. I don't know anything about the environment in Eteri's school ( beyond a few clips we may have seen) and I am not going to make assumptions. But, there has long been an abusive environment in artistic sports. Yes, in Russia. Also in the Japan ( we are talking physical abuse) , France, The USA, Britain and the list goes on. It is so normalized that someone can talk about being hit as a child, and many people on this forum are more concerned about a coaches reputation than they are those events. I work with kids and it is frustrating to deal with "lazy" students but in the end, how does yelling or hitting inspire them to succeed?

My reaction and I think most people's reactions to the Eteri claims is due to the fact they come from sources that have not trained with Eteri. Abuse allegations can ruin someone's life and they are hard to disprove so its concerning when vague statements are trotted out in the media especially by someone who didn't train with the coach they are making statements about - i choose to view those type of comments with skepticism
 

LRK

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This post expresses my thoughts perfectly. I don't know anything about the environment in Eteri's school ( beyond a few clips we may have seen) and I am not going to make assumptions. But, there has long been an abusive environment in artistic sports. Yes, in Russia. Also in the Japan ( we are talking physical abuse) , France, The USA, Britain and the list goes on. It is so normalized that someone can talk about being hit as a child, and many people on this forum are more concerned about a coaches reputation than they are those events. I work with kids and it is frustrating to deal with "lazy" students but in the end, how does yelling or hitting inspire them to succeed?

I'm not sure if it has been mentioned above or not, but I can't help but think of the Plushy interview in which he mentioned having to dismiss several coaches because they would not adhere to his rule of not laying hand on the skaters. This does make it seem like a rather widespread problem.

Also worth noting, however, are the interviews with Alena Kostornaia. One where she mentioned that she was surprised when she started training at Plushy's school that no one shouted at her when things were not going right (I don't have the interview by me at the moment for the exact wording, sadly). Also upon retrnning to Eteri she was asked about her comment that she was smiling more at Plushy's and she responded: "I did smile more, but not in the right place. You can smile on the podium, and then cry somewhere in the corner after a training session, or you can smile anywhere but on the podium, because you just didn't get there."

Clearly there is a prevelant mindset that strictness - or harshness, whichever word you prefer - is an effective trainingg method that gives results.

Note: I am having issues with my eye which make it very hard foo me to see, so I hope this post is not too much riddled with typos. And if there are I apologise, at least I hope it is legible and understandable.
 

Ic3Rabbit

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BTW, speaking about coaching, I truly suggest everyone who wants to talk about "russian coaches" should see the TSL vid with Elena Betchke first:

I can tell you one thing from personal experience with Elena Bechke, she's an excellent coach. And they spelled her surname wrong, there is no T.
 

starlight97

Final Flight
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Jun 14, 2014
The Viner documentary is disgusting. You can train athletes at a high level and not abuse them. Case in point--Simone Biles's coach Amy Boorman. She took care of her athlete and got massive results. And sorry--the mental health of (especially young) athletes needs to be a "thing" everywhere. It has a massive effect on mental health into adulthood. The Russian kids we are talking about here are still CHILDREN. Treating them like 20-something year-old professional athletes is not OK

Yes, I'm neither supporting nor excusing those methods in my post. I just state that they are the norm in certain countries like Russia and China and that at the end of the day, they produce results.
Maybe the athlete is mentally and physically ruined when they stand at the top of that Olympic podium, but at the top they stand.
And that's what matters to the federation, not the exchangeable athlete.

About Simone- She is a unicorn. She's a once in a century athlete with an extraordinary body type that perfectly matches her sport and has transcended anything gymnastics had ever seen before, she doesn't have any competition amongst her peers.
What I'm saying is, she's the exception to the norm. Because most athletes in gymnastics suffer very harsh mental and physical conditions, also in the US. See their famous scandal from some years ago. Sth like Simone can happen as a phenomenon but the "whiplash method" produces champions consistently.
Make of that fact what you will.
 

ali0125

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BTW, speaking about coaching, I truly suggest everyone who wants to talk about "russian coaches" should see the TSL vid with Elena Betchke first:

This interview is very interesting and makes a lot of sense. However, what I don't agree is Eteri is Eteri, she's not the representative of Russian coaches. There are great Russian coaches like Mishin and Moskvina - great person, great achievements.

Eteri is in a category of her own 🙃

 

Scott512

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Why does she or anybody here think this is a newsworthy statement? Russia's mentality and methods towards elite training, children or adults, are known to everyone, they're "famous" for it. So are the Chinese.
And the results speak for themselves.
"Mental health" and all the likes of "anxiety" are not a thing there, not like in the West.
Watch ballet or figure skating training clips, they all touch and hold the kids to adjust their body positions, kids cry etc. Evgenia smiling told once that she used to fall a lot so Eteri would drag her across the ice rink by her feet calling it "Zhenya in batter".
A joke, but a joke that you could never pull off in a Western rink on a little girl.


Have you ever watched any Russian sports documentary?
I suggest "Over the Limit" about the olympic champ in rhythmic gymnastics. The emotional abuse that girl suffered by her coaches is stunning. And they proudly showed it to the camera crew cause it's not considered "abuse", it's considered normal. They cursed at her, insulted her appearance, her work, her personality and threatened her constantly.

When complaining about pain in her foot, her coach responds: "Rita, there is no such thing as a healthy professional athlete."

When asked about the Olympics Viner said: "We need to train her like a dog. She has to work, work, work, work. So she is on her last leg when she goes out (in Rio). If she doesn't want to fight, she can go to hell."
She went out and won gold at the Olympics.
The rhythmic gymnastic girls have it much worse because it's basically that 1 main coach for everyone. For every 100 girls that try out for her one might make it. A lot of the girls retire young because physically they just don't have much left.

I think you're talking about Margarita Marmun. She retired very young and probably want to get the h*** out of the sport after she won Olympic gold. Viner is a great coach. Like she's brutal too. I wish she could be great without being brutal.
 
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anonymoose_au

Insert weird opinion here
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Viner is a great coach. Like she's brutal too. I wish she could be great without being brutal.
But isn't the fact she's brutal disqualify her from being a great coach?

Who cares how many gold medals her students win if she destroys their lives in the process? Considering that sport is an international thing shouldn't the International Rights of the Child trump any local laws in this instance?

One of those rights is to safety.

In the case of Viner it seems there's plenty of evidence of her brutality so I say kick her out.
 

gliese

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When complaining about pain in her foot, her coach responds: "Rita, there is no such thing as a healthy professional athlete."
The sad part is she's not wrong no matter where you live. It's a sad truth of professional athletics. That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to stay as healthy as possible though.
 

flanker

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This interview is very interesting and makes a lot of sense. However, what I don't agree is Eteri is Eteri, she's not the representative of Russian coaches. There are great Russian coaches like Mishin and Moskvina - great person, great achievements.

Eteri is in a category of her own 🙃

I don't think Eteri is "that much different" from other succesful russian coaches. But she's under a microscope and each of her actions is a subject to the detailed examination.
 

Scott512

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But isn't the fact she's brutal disqualify her from being a great coach?

Who cares how many gold medals her students win if she destroys their lives in the process? Considering that sport is an international thing shouldn't the International Rights of the Child trump any local laws in this instance?

One of those rights is to safety.

In the case of Viner it seems there's plenty of evidence of her brutality so I say kick her out.

I don't follow Russian rhythmic gymnastics as closely as Russian figure skating but I think Viner is the head coach of the whole team and obviously it's a different set up in figure skating where skatiers can go from coach to coach.

But rhythmic gymnastics in Russia has an unbelievable reputation for dominance and success they have a dynasty ever since the sport went into the Olympics I think it was in the 1990s and they're probably very proud of that dynasty they have in that sport with individual athletes and as a team. I would like to see them make the head coaching change after the upcoming Olympics. there are probably many assistant coaches who can do just as great a job as Viner but with a nicer demeanor. But if they think Viner is the reason they win then she's going to have to call it quits at some point cuz she's not going to get fired if the Russian Sports Ministry thinks this coach is the reason they have been fantastic in rhythmic gymnastics.

The biggest difference between figure skating and rhythmic gymnastics in Russia is if you don't like a coach in figure skating and you want to switch for whatever reasons you have that capability. In rhythmic gymnastics you can't escape Viner.
 

gsk8

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While we welcome articles, interviews, and features, some are not from accredited sources and/or lack context. This post is being closed as it is drifting to other topics (i.e. gymnastics/coaches) as well as speculation.
 
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