Interview with I. Levito's coach: We were upset that there would be no Russian girls | Golden Skate

Interview with I. Levito's coach: We were upset that there would be no Russian girls

GoneWithTheWind

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Translation of an interview by FS Gossips with Isabeau's coach Yulia Kuznetsova (The original article was from: sport24.ru): https://fs-gossips.com/we-were-upse...ova-coach-of-world-junior-champion-isabeau-l/

In it, she discusses her own career in figure skating, the popularity and availability of the sport in the US and her daily coaching routine, as well as her history coaching Isabeau, her thoughts on the JW win, and their aims for the future.

A few excepts:

On the possible raise of the age limit and its effect on whether Isabeau goes senior:
She is 15 years old, she can compete in seniors at the international level, but we have not been told for sure yet. Probably, we will prepare for two levels, and then see how it goes. We’ll be ready for anything.

On Isabeau's withdrawal from the JGPF and her injury:
She had an age related problem with her leg. When girls grow up, this happen for many – Osgood-Schlatter disease, a disease of the periosteum. Before the junior Grand Prix final, it suddenly happened to her. The girl worked quite calmly, we were preparing for the competitions. One day she came and said: “I can’t jump, it hurts me.” She didn’t fall, we didn’t overload, we didn’t learn anything new. I ask: “Why can’t you jump?” Answer: “I can’t, it hurts.” We decided to take a break for a couple of days and see how it goes.

On there being no Russian women to compete against Isabeau at Jr. Worlds:
Of course, we were upset that there would be no Russian girls. Russian girls push us forward. We expected that with our strengthened short program we would try to compete with the Russians, because we had a lutz-loop planned in the second half, which she performed quite consistent and clean in training. We were very unhappy that the Russian girls were withdrawn. It didn’t really make it more nervous for her, because I told her that we would try to score the same points that they score.

On quads and the quality of them in women's skating:
Quadruple jumps are criticized a lot – big pre-rotation, under-rotation. Is it worth paying attention to?

Yulia Kuznetsova:
Since only few people do this elements, this should not be paid attention to. They are performed only by Russian girls and a couple of Japanese girls. [...] If everyone in a row will jump ultra-c and it will be necessary to look who jumps it cleaner, then yes.

On who the most successful coaches are:
For my part, Eteri Tutberidze, Sergei Dudakov and Daniil Gleikhengauz are the best coaching staff in the world. They are the best.
 

Fluture

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Apr 26, 2018
Translation of an interview by FS Gossips with Isabeau's coach Yulia Kuznetsova (The original article was from: sport24.ru): https://fs-gossips.com/we-were-upse...ova-coach-of-world-junior-champion-isabeau-l/

In it, she discusses her own career in figure skating, the popularity and availability of the sport in the US and her daily coaching routine, as well as her history coaching Isabeau, her thoughts on the JW win, and their aims for the future.

A few excepts:

On the possible raise of the age limit and its effect on whether Isabeau goes senior:


On Isabeau's withdrawal from the JGPF and her injury:


On there being no Russian women to compete against Isabeau at Jr. Worlds:


On quads and the quality of them in women's skating:


On who the most successful coaches are:
It's so sad. Isabeau is probably my favorite upcoming US skater and I love how expressive and elegant she is. But that interview with her coach was just so frustrating to read…

Her technique is already incredibly problematic but it seems like, instead of trying to fix it, they'll focus on learning an ultra-c element instead. The way she jumps now (especially the lutz/flip) is just not sustainable and if she wants to have a long career, there's no way around eventually reworking it completely. She could be the top skater in the US for many, many years, but the way things are going now, coupled with her coach's attitude, I just don't see that happening. Long-term, Thorngren probably has the much better shot.

Also, the last part is just incredibly telling:

At the Olympics, the doping scandal of Kamila Valieva attracted a lot of attention. If they introduce the responsibility of a coach for minors using doping, is that right?

Yulia Kuznetsova:
I can’t comment on it. I heard about the situation, but more than sure that everything is clean there.

Yikes. If the translation is correct… not a good look whatsoever.
 

GoneWithTheWind

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Her technique is already incredibly problematic but it seems like, instead of trying to fix it, they'll focus on learning an ultra-c element instead... She could be the top skater in the US for many, many years, but the way things are going now, coupled with her coach's attitude, I just don't see that happening.
This worried me too, especially as Yulia said in the interview [paraphrasing, the whole quote is above] that all the while only a few people do ultra-c elements the correct technique doesn't matter, which doesn't fill me with confidence about her approach to developing good technique in general. Yes, Isabeau has beautiful artistry and musical interpretation, but I worry that we won't get to see this developed to her full potential, because the technique she's been taught is probably going to unravel before then.
 

el henry

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Interesting interview overall. I am hoping (as I think other Russian born coaches do) that Kuznetsova was "playing to the home audience" with this interview.

I also don't want to read too much into pronouns with an article translated from another language, but when she says "We" in "We were upset", is she speaking for Isabeau now?

And "our girls are our girls", and she is not talking about American Isabeau or her teammates? This may not be the best look if you want a coaching career in the US🤷‍♀️.Again, maybe a translation problem.
 

Amei

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This worried me too, especially as Yulia said in the interview [paraphrasing, the whole quote is above] that all the while only a few people do ultra-c elements the correct technique doesn't matter, which doesn't fill me with confidence about her approach to developing good technique in general. Yes, Isabeau has beautiful artistry and musical interpretation, but I worry that we won't get to see this developed to her full potential, because the technique she's been taught is probably going to unravel before then.

Well remember that the US is not Russia or Japan that has more talented girls than they have available spots, even if Levito struggles she would have to get pretty bad before she's knocked out of contention, the most promising US lady just retired and the other girls at the top of the US field struggle with consistent triple-triples.
 

GoneWithTheWind

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Well remember that the US is not Russia or Japan that has more talented girls than they have available spots, even if Levito struggles she would have to get pretty bad before she's knocked out of contention, the most promising US lady just retired and the other girls at the top of the US field struggle with consistent triple-triples.
True, but my concern was more that she'd have a career ending injury due to her current technique before she reached her potential, rather than that other skaters would pass her. However, we've recently seen Alysa retool their technique and have great success, so hopefully Isabeau can do the same.
 

Cutting the ice

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I want to say that overall I really enjoy Isabeau's skating. But I was surprised at the triple lutz - triple loop in her short at Jr Worlds as the first rotation of her loop was almost entirely on the ice (240 degrees or more) and yet got no downgrade. I noticed it in the replay when first aired and then just rewatched it on youtube to confirm what I saw in April (at 4:36). Now this is juniors (so correct technique doesn't matter?), but I think that kind of pre-rotation should NOT be the future of figure skating. It kinda ruined the performance for me when I saw the protocols. A clear message should be sent to young skaters and their coaches that technique at any age and any level of difficulty is important.
 

figureskatingandrainbows

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Her coaches seem to think that ultra-c's are the best bet right now but with Isabeau already dealing with Osgood-Schlatters, upcoming body changes and growth, and some of the scariest technique around, there is no way those big jumps are going to last without leading to serious injury. Her best bet right now is to retool her technique and make her jumps more sustainable, but that doesn't seem to be a priority at all for her coaching team. Isabeau is such a special skater but the human body can only endure so much. :(
 

TontoK

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Isabeau is really nice to watch.

Lindsay Thorngren is not quite as enjoyable (to me) right now, but I think she will have greater success in the long run.

Her technique is so much better, and performance skills will go up fast.
 

mrrice

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I totally get this!!!! When you become World Champion, you want to have beaten the BEST skaters in the world. However, there's nothing Isabeau, or her coaches could have done about the situation. You have to wonder what the standings would look like with every athlete being "Clean." She should be thrilled with this win. I'd also like to say how excited I am to see the rivalry between Isabeau and Lindsay play out in the next quad.
 

Amei

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well, this interview will fuel the "Isabeau should switch coaches" comments for at least the next 3-4 years.... if not more ;)

Who would you have her switch to? Not a lot of coaches in the US with recent US ladies success, Raf is really angling to retire (I think he'll stick around if Nathan does but move to more of a consultant role like he is with Malinin) and his recent success with ladies is minimal at best. Terry Gambill has probably the most success I can think of but her skaters have technical issues which Levito already has. TCCC is expensive and would require her to go out of the country
 

4everchan

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Who would you have her switch to? Not a lot of coaches in the US with recent US ladies success, Raf is really angling to retire (I think he'll stick around if Nathan does but move to more of a consultant role like he is with Malinin) and his recent success with ladies is minimal at best. Terry Gambill has probably the most success I can think of but her skaters have technical issues which Levito already has. TCCC is expensive and would require her to go out of the country
she would need to work on her technique. I would have her go to Lee Barkell or Ravi Walia.
 

RatedPG

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I want to say that overall I really enjoy Isabeau's skating. But I was surprised at the triple lutz - triple loop in her short at Jr Worlds as the first rotation of her loop was almost entirely on the ice (240 degrees or more) and yet got no downgrade. I noticed it in the replay when first aired and then just rewatched it on youtube to confirm what I saw in April (at 4:36). Now this is juniors (so correct technique doesn't matter?), but I think that kind of pre-rotation should NOT be the future of figure skating. It kinda ruined the performance for me when I saw the protocols. A clear message should be sent to young skaters and their coaches that technique at any age and any level of difficulty is important.
I felt exactly the same way.
 

mrrice

Record Breaker
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Jul 9, 2014
she would need to work on her technique. I would have her go to Lee Barkell or Ravi Walia.
I'd like to second the Ravi vote. Not only did he improve Katelyn's Jumps but, he clearly paid attention to her performance quality. She could light up an Arena.
she would need to work on her technique. I would have her go to Lee Barkell or Ravi Walia.
:points:He's exactly who I thought of when people began to talk about new coaching. IMO, Raf has a full stable and I truly think he prefers coaching Men. Ravi did amazing things for Kaetlyn. Not only were jumps big but, she was also an amazing performer. I think Isabeau has the potential be a big star, and certainly the US Champion but, with Lindsay hot on her heels, she needs to make a move to cement herself as the #1 US Lady.
 

decafjava

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It's so sad. Isabeau is probably my favorite upcoming US skater and I love how expressive and elegant she is. But that interview with her coach was just so frustrating to read…

Her technique is already incredibly problematic but it seems like, instead of trying to fix it, they'll focus on learning an ultra-c element instead. The way she jumps now (especially the lutz/flip) is just not sustainable and if she wants to have a long career, there's no way around eventually reworking it completely. She could be the top skater in the US for many, many years, but the way things are going now, coupled with her coach's attitude, I just don't see that happening. Long-term, Thorngren probably has the much better shot.

Also, the last part is just incredibly telling:

At the Olympics, the doping scandal of Kamila Valieva attracted a lot of attention. If they introduce the responsibility of a coach for minors using doping, is that right?

Yulia Kuznetsova:
I can’t comment on it. I heard about the situation, but more than sure that everything is clean there.

Yikes. If the translation is correct… not a good look whatsoever.
I mean no Russian athletes tested positive during the games, 3 did and were suspended IIRC and one Spanish skater's positive test was announced after the games.
 

katymay

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Mar 7, 2006
well, this interview will fuel the "Isabeau should switch coaches" comments for at least the next 3-4 years.... if not more ;)
I can't imagine why. She has taken a girl with limited leg strength, and made her into the best skater it is possible to be without strong jumps. Beautiful programs, great packaging, etc. Whatever her political views, I feel she must be an outstanding coach. Hopefully Isabeau is doing a great deal of strength training off ice-somehow I'm pretty sure this coach is on top of that.
 

macy

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Nov 12, 2011
I can't imagine why. She has taken a girl with limited leg strength, and made her into the best skater it is possible to be without strong jumps. Beautiful programs, great packaging, etc. Whatever her political views, I feel she must be an outstanding coach. Hopefully Isabeau is doing a great deal of strength training off ice-somehow I'm pretty sure this coach is on top of that.
Isabeau is a beautiful skater and a beautifully packaged skater, however her jump technique is extremely sketchy and i think will prove to be problematic in the next couple years. she's been with this same coach since she was 3 years old so she's been taught it since she began jumping. her coach doesn't seem to care much about teaching reliable technique and i fear it will catch up with her.
 

Amei

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Nov 11, 2013
I can't imagine why. She has taken a girl with limited leg strength, and made her into the best skater it is possible to be without strong jumps. Beautiful programs, great packaging, etc. Whatever her political views, I feel she must be an outstanding coach. Hopefully Isabeau is doing a great deal of strength training off ice-somehow I'm pretty sure this coach is on top of that.

Isabeau's coach may have trained Isabeau into the best skater she can be, and yes you can do very well without being the greatest jumper and with weak jump technique, especially in the US where ladies is a pretty weak discipline. But there is a big question mark on how much weak technique can survive a significant time (though a long career is not necessary, but if Isabeau wants to go to the Olympics her career will need to be at least 4 years) or body changes that come with puberty. Isabeau's coach gave a pretty glowing opinion/comments on Eteri. It definitely poses the question how much the emulation of Eteri that Isabeau's coach will do, Eteri does not particularly do technique changes for her seniors and the skaters either keep up or retire.
 
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