Interview with Fedor Klimov on 30 September 2020

LadyB

Record Breaker
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Jan 7, 2016
On 30 September 2020, Fedor Klimov gave a live interview to Russian sports news outlet sports.ru on their Instagram TV (IGTV) where it is still available under @figureskating_sportsru. I do apologise that at the moment I find myself unable to send you a link.

However, a transcript of this interesting chat where Fedor talks about the Olympics, his role at the ISU, the publicity surrounding the ladies and many more, has been published on sports.ru.


Published on 02/10/20

Google translation:

Why did you end your career?

We planned to finish it after the 2018 Olympics. The Olympics did not happen, but it did not add confusion, in general, everything went to this. So I didn't make a vital decision, it was made even before 2018.

Not being allowed to the Olympics - it was so-so moment. At first, of course, I did not believe it, but when everything had already been confirmed, there was some devastation. I did not want to be angry, or to find out anything, to sue, and so on. At this moment I did not want anything at all. As if everything had stopped at once.

Usually after a career, they go to shows, travel and enjoy performing with the same partners as before. Then they explained to me that Stolbova - Klimov is already a brand, they recognize us. And Klimov and someone else are already unknown people. In fact, I tried it - New Year's Eve rode a show with another Olympic champion. I liked everything, but I realized that it was not mine.

How is the Olympics different from other competitions?

I tried to set myself up so that the Games were no different from the point of view of psychology. But, of course, there are differences. The athlete's task is to skate at the Olympics in the same way as always. There was a lot of support in Sochi, it was very pressing. Probably the most exciting was the first exit - in a team tournament. And then, when you already know what to expect, you can even recharge. This crazy support from the audience sometimes gets in the way, and sometimes, on the contrary, can help and give energy. To do this, you need to be a psychologically stable person.

I worked with a sports psychologist in St. Petersburg during the transition from juniors to adults. I had a problem that I forgot how to compete: we didn’t perform anywhere for 9 months, and then we left, and I lost the feeling with which I tuned in. I went to a psychologist several times, we talked. Then the training went better, and confidence returned.

We talked with a psychologist, there were group sessions, and then he introduced us into something like a trance. You lay down, closed your eyes, and he said the usual things: you can do anything, you are confident in yourself. I slept very well under this. I forgot everything, and then I hear - the countdown, and I already wake up. In half an hour, I managed to recover well. I really liked it.

What about competition in pairs now?

The French (Vanessa James and Morgan Sipre) were to be expected to finish. It was obvious to me: she is in America, he is in France, they don't even see each other. They can be understood. As far as I know, she wanted to finish after the last Olympic cycle. We decided to stay because it worked out, they won something. And now it is not known how everything will be with the competition, how long this period will last. There is probably no strength to wait.

I think many guys thought so: now we will skate for a couple of years, and then we will finish. And now, with these interruptions, it’s harder and harder to come back, and with age it’s even harder.

It is difficult to talk about the opponents of our pairs, because we do not see anyone. We only saw ours at the box office, and our rivals do not play anywhere at all. The Chinese are already constantly behind closed doors, and then they will perform at the four continents and the world championships and again rest for half a season. When there are competitions, then we will see everything. It's just not very clear when they will be.

How did you start your coach career?

I did not plan to become a coach. I had an example of my mother before my eyes, I saw how hard it was. But after the end of my career, I found myself at a crossroads, like, probably, most athletes. And at that moment Nina Mikhailovna Moser offered to go with her to the seminar. I arrived, I liked it, it seemed to work out, and then everything started spinning somehow. In the summer I went to seminars, and then began to work with couples on the spot.

I'm probably a calm coach, but sometimes I don’t hold back - emotions are splashing out. I try to be demanding so that athletes understand that I am interested, and not just sit and give directions.

Now I understand why the coach sometimes spoke to us like this. Even if the athletes do not like it, they have to do it, force it, otherwise there will be no result. I use the experience of an athlete - I tell the guys more recent feelings from the competition. I don't know if it helps them, but it works as tales and interesting stories.

The goal as a coach is to go to the Olympic Games, then we'll see. I work not only with our athletes, but also with foreigners - now it is problematic, because there is nowhere to get out, and they cannot get to us. But we are trying, I hope something will work out.

Work in the International Skating Union

When I was an athlete, I did not even know what a technical committee was and what it existed. I knew that ISU was making some decisions there, changing the rules, doing something.

There is a technical committee for singles and pairs skating, in which I am now. The second committee is for dance and synchronized skating. They make changes to the rules, to the technical component, work with the judges - take exams and consider mistakes. These are not the only committees, there are still a bunch of others working in their own directions, the final decisions are made by the ISU Council.

he technical committee has a representative of athletes and a representative of coaches - they are not elected, but appointed. Now, it turns out that I am both an athlete, because I recently graduated, and a coach. It is clear that I do not take an exam from the judges, this is not yet in my competence. But we are working on changes to the rules. Skaters need to know about the existence of the technical committee, contact them directly or through the federation with suggestions, requests or corrections. All this is real, just no one does it.

I come to competitions, communicate in an informal setting with athletes, coaches, and ask their opinion. In principle, they can come up to me with some suggestions, but this has never happened before.

The main events, meetings were supposed to be at the World Championships, then - in May, the ISU Congress - in June. But nothing happened, and as such I have not yet felt the work with people. Last year I managed to get to a meeting in Obserstdorf, at least I got to know people from the committee. And this usually happens by mail and zoom.

Serious decisions have not been and are not yet expected - and so everything is shaky. Initially, we wanted to change the cost of the elements, but then we realized that this was overkill - the situation is now incomprehensible. Maybe after the Olympics there will be something, but now everything is quite conservative, there are not particularly revolutionaries in ISU.

Against raising the age limit for girls ...

In my opinion, the issue of qualification should have been considered at this ISU congress, but postponed to the next year. This proposal is not from the technical committee, but from the federation.

Personally, I am against these changes, I do not really understand the arguments - it is rather vague. What we have now has been tuned for years. Now everything is all right. I think this will also affect greenhouses. I don’t think this is so correct.

... and for the introduction of contracts

If the athlete is at a certain level, there must be some kind of agreement, it is necessary to prescribe the obligations between the skater and the coach. I do not know if it is possible to arrange this in our system, but I believe that it should be. Previously, everything was decided on a simple human level, now our sport has reached a more commercial level. This means that development is also necessary in this regard.

Most often, parting occurs at the initiative of the athlete, then some compensation must be imposed. If we go to a new level, then we must correspond to it in everything. I would be glad if figure skating was as popular as football, and if we had the same amount of money.

Figure scandals have their advantages

For life, of course, it would be better if these scandals did not exist. When I was still an athlete, I tried to read the news, but quickly gave it up. It's nonsense, but I didn't know who was skating where, who had what programs, what happened. By and large, while I skated, I was not interested in figure skating. Didn't know what was going on at all. And then you come in - no, no, and you read something about yourself, it becomes unpleasant. Athletes would be better off if there was no such excitement around.

On the other hand, now I understand that there is nothing without it. This piques interest. But it would be possible to do all this cleaner, I would like the news to be interesting, but without dirt. And now I read the news, I look, sometimes I go to the comments on Sports.ru - it’s very interesting how the series is: you read and see what you’re not seeing.

Something happens, one piece of news comes out, then they asked someone - he commented, then they commented on this commentator, and so on. When nothing came out, there was nothing to watch, it was interesting to read the news. Sometimes, of course, you think: where is it taking you? But as a layman, I wonder: I sit on the couch, leaf through the tape - half an hour passes. People are bored, and this is such entertainment. It is a pity that a lot of dirt is poured out.

About jealousy of women's single skating

Jealousy is always there. I think this difference in attention to species is unfair. The girls are great, they are making a breakthrough, it is thanks to them that figure skating has become so popular. They all win, that's great. But in our sport there are also other types, and they are no less difficult. It has become more difficult for the boys, they cannot keep up with the girls, for couples, in general, everything needs to be combined - this is, in principle, difficult, dancing is another story.

In general, I have a grudge and envy, probably that we only have single skating, now - mostly for women. If you love figure skating, love it entirely.

Together with Trankov, he opened a bar, the pandemic forced the business to close

The idea to open a bar was born long ago. In the series "How I Met Your Mother" there was a phrase: "All men say these three words at least once in their life: you need to open a bar."

Back in St. Petersburg, I had a rented apartment, where my friends and I met, and I thought: it's cool when you gather everyone in one place, but you don't want to clean up later, so you need your own place. And I told everyone as a nonsense, a dream that I wanted to open a bar. I decided it was time for this after the end of my career. Max Trankov and I did just that - we opened it.

It worked for some time, now it is closed. Due to the pandemic and quarantine, we decided that it would be difficult for us to get out back when everything was opened. Therefore, while we decided to close it, I hope that someday it will be reincarnated.

Many people told me that the bar needed to be opened in St. Petersburg - they would support me there. It's hard in Moscow, it's big.

We are still managers and businessmen. Of course, we tried to write business plans, but more and more were done by trial and error. It's like the first car: you buy and try to figure out how it works. There were people who helped. Although, for example, we did the design ourselves, we didn’t attract anyone: as we wanted, we did it.

I liked it, it was cozy there. But hard times have come. Yes, and this needs to be done constantly, it takes a lot of time. And I went more into coaching, Max also coaching and television. There was not enough time, you need to do one thing. So far we have made a choice in favor of figure skating.
 
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