"Russian joker" Evgeni Semenenko celebrates break-through season | Golden Skate

"Russian joker" Evgeni Semenenko celebrates break-through season

gsk8

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Country
United-States

For the most part, the Russian skating community, social media and fans took this decision critically. How could the federation send such an inexperienced skater, who only had one grand prix (Rostelecom Cup) under his belt and had not yet even competed at the World Junior Championships yet? Many insinuated that Russia risked ending up with only one quota for the Olympic Games.

Semenenko felt that criticism, too. “I read positive, but also many negative comments on Instagram,” he said.

Was it just "luck" or is Semenenko going to become a front-runner for Russia in the future? Where do you see him in two years? Four?
 

ladyjane

Medalist
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Jun 26, 2012
Country
Netherlands
What a lovely young man. I see a great future for him, together with his 'age mate' from Japan Yuma Kagiyama although Yuma has a bit of a head start in the last season with a YOG gold medal, a silver medal at Junior worlds and some really good results at senior competitions (4CC for example)). While Evgeni was coping with injuries and things in these earlier times. Good to read that his coaches kept being supportive during those trying times (I wouldn't expect anything else from Mishin cs, but it's great to read he acknowledges it).

I didn't think it was luck at all, in fact he was a bit under marked at the WC, because he skated so 'young' which was to be expected as he is just that. Still, having Mikhail and Liza as examples is so inspirational (and he mentions that in this article). I think he can really become a front-runner for his country, if not at the coming OG than the next. I'm already looking forward to the next quadrennial.....
 
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kolyadafan2002

Fan of Kolyada
Final Flight
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Jun 6, 2019
If he can continue to develop his consistency than this is what Russia needs. Russia have many star skaters who can steel the show on their day (Kolyada, Aliev) and then struggle during other skates (although I hope Kolyada has improved). If Semenenko is consistent he doesn't need to be a star. People like Sergei Voronov did what Russia needed of them - continually fought in the field for positions and laid out solid programs time after time to maintain Russia's spots. Russia has a number of headcases in male skaters, so need some guaranteed positions from another skater.

That's not to say Semenenko will not be a star. He has reasonable skating quality, quads and 3A, decent spins. If he improves his stamina he could be looking forward to podiums at europeans, and if he can increase PCS/quality of elements we could be looking at a future european champion.
 

florin

Rinkside
Joined
Mar 16, 2021
He's not a Joker, he's a Spiderman :) Zhenya looks like a young actor who plays a modern Spiderman, so the Russian fan community often jokes about this. "Photo-fact: RusFed sends Spiderman to the World Championship for three quotas", something like that :)
 

gsk8

Record Breaker
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Country
United-States
The pressure must have indeed been huge for this youngster. His short at worlds wasn't perfect, so it's a good thing he did well in the free skate. After placing 10th in the SP, he needed every point he could get. Also, Amoz, Cha, and Rizzo (not to mention Brezina and Jin who had an off-week there) didn't score anywhere near their personal best, so that should be factored in.

The levels are there, he just needs to work on the components and get more consistent. I enjoyed watching him and look forward to seeing more from him! 👏
 

figureskatingandrainbows

August can't get here soon enough
Final Flight
Joined
Dec 8, 2020
He needs to work on his landings, as they're really forward, and his performance, but he's very consistent, overall pretty well-rounded, and capable of handling immense pressure. It's really interesting to see how many of the future best skaters were unknowns: Semenenko and Kagiyama both came from nowhere, Yuma just a season earlier. Right now, Andrei Mozalev and Daniil Samsonov, the two big men in young Russian skating, are a hot mess. If Evgeni continues to improve, I see him on Euros podiums minimum. I think he'll probably be competing with Mark Kondratiuk in a few years, but he's definintely an interesting prospect.
 

CanadianSkaterGuy

Record Breaker
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
I'm definitely not a fan of his skating - there's quite an awkwardness to it and his choreography is comparatively quite bad. BUT he stepped up for the Russian men to get 3 spots (pending I think). I'm a fan of skaters who might not be the most naturally gifted but are still strong-willed athletes and good competitors (especially underestimated ones). He is the only skater with a clean FS at Worlds and that's pretty notable. I think with refinement to his overall skating he could definitely be Russian champion and snag some GP/Euro medals.
 

Flying Feijoa

On the Ice
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Sep 22, 2019
Country
New-Zealand
Not knocking Semenenko, but it's worth noting that lot of other Russian men were injured this season. He's got some advantages (chiefly consistency) and his appearances at Worlds/WTT will probably help his PCS next season compared to other newly-turned seniors who have had little to no international exposure. However, objectively his components aren't the strongest.

Here are some who are too young for us to be conclusive about their long-term consistency:
-Danielian (out 4 months with an ankle injury, but best skating skills beside Kolyada)
-Gumennik (started senior debut well but had a back injury late last year, again good components)
-Mozalev (consistency from juniors seems to have declined mid-season, but diligent with levels)
-Kondratiuk (inverse to Mozalev in doing well later in the season, but I'm still not sure about his consistency given his performances at the earlier Russian Cup stages)
-Kovalev (solid jumps, levels up and down, but did pretty well till Volkov's group had ice time issues early this year)
-Samsonov (good components, had Osgood-Schlatters this season but it usually goes away when growth stabilises)

Then there are the slightly older ones whose strengths/weaknesses are already fairly established:
-Aliev (good PCS, inconsistent, injured knee this season)
-Samarin (weaker PCS but good jumps when on, also inconsistent, injured tailbone this season)
-Ignatov (nice presentation but no stamina, inconsistent)
I guess you can see a theme...

Kolyada is pretty much no. 1 now but given the plethora of new seniors and injuries this season, I wouldn't go out on a limb now to predict no. 2 or 3 (and especially not in the seasons to come). It's not like Russian ladies, guys can and do make comebacks after a season or two of struggles - Kolyada being a case in point.
 
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