This weekend, Alina Zagitova performed two programs at a gala exhibition at the CSKA Arena in Moscow – an event that also featured Javier Fernandez, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Mikhail Kolyada, Dmitri Aliev, Tiffani Zagorski & Jonathan Guerreiro, and more great Russian figure skaters.
The 2018 Olympic gold medalist was joined by choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz at the show. The coach spoke to reporters outside the arena after the event about Zagitova’s training, Evgenia Medvedeva’s injury and the possibility of her missing the Rostelecom Cup, as well as the incident concerning Instagram accounts.
Daniil Gleikhengauz’s interview from sport24 translated to English:
Reporter: In Syzran, you talked about the desire for Alina’s programs to be shown at least in a show. Can we say that you are satisfied after Zagitova demonstrated Esmeralda, which you were preparing for the cancelled World Championship in Montreal?
Gleikhengauz: Honestly, I really liked how she skated her new program – Esmeralda. I was a little worried about the program with the flower. Because a long break is exciting for any athlete, and it was necessary to feel the ice. In Esmeralda, as you noticed, she already went out and, for me, skated very well, did all the jumps. I think that the most important premiere was successful.
Reporter: Now Alina often uploads photos from her workouts to Instagram. Has she really started coming to Khrustalny more often?
Gleikhengauz: Now she really began to study less and train more, like in the good old days.
Reporter: What is she training for?
Gleikhengauz: She can only answer this question herself.
Reporter: If I ask you from a purely coaching way, does she have a basis for returning to the sport. Will she come back if she wants?
Gleikhengauz: In order to return, you need to restore at least everything that she knew. Clearly jump five triples, triple-triple combinations, plus get in physical condition in order to perform this set in the second half of the program. When and if she does this, then it will already be possible to speak of a return.
Reporter: Have you watched the interview with Guberniev and Zagitova? What grade would you give?
Gleikhengauz: I had such feelings like… I took offense at him a little (laughs). No, from a journalistic point of view, I think he asked the questions he wanted to ask. Another question is how hostile it was. But she answered well, coped with everything. So, I think there is nothing wrong with that.
Reporter: Do you feel that Alina’s character is changing? She is now a host, she is improving her speech.
Gleikhengauz: She is growing up, that’s what you feel. That in front of you is no longer a little girl, but an adult with her own thinking, plans. I like to see this, and it’s great that before our very eyes she turned from a little girl who won the Olympics to a beautiful lady. And she continues to give joy to the audience.
Reporter: Do you create new programs?
Gleikhengauz: You saw them today.
Reporter: Was there a second new program? Previously, there were talks two new programs.
Gleikhengauz: Today, it would be the short and the free. If it was necessary to perform.
Reporter: Is the error, a couple of seconds after exiting the jump, somehow related to the quality of the ice? Mikhail Kolyada had a similar one, the fans write that something is wrong with the ice. Have you analyzed this moment yet?
Gleikhengauz: We also joked (smiles). That Fernandez left a hole behind him. No, of course, this is an accident – it happens.
Reporter: How is Evgenia Medvedeva’s health?
Gleikhengauz: She is still recovering her back. The last time we saw each other, she said she was better. But this worries her very much, worries that she cannot, without thinking about anything else, just train. Because she has a desire to train. She had good programs in the short and free, her form was improved. But what can you do, you have to wait. As soon as she says that she feels well, her back does not hurt, we will prepare for the next competition.
Report: Do you have an idea whether she will perform at the Russian Grand Prix stage?
Gleikhengauz: Russian Grand Prix? How many days do we have there before it? I think no.
Reporter: And what about the fifth stage of the Russian Cup?
Gleikhengauz: I’ll have to see.
Reporter: This season there is a special selection procedure for the Russian Championship: based on the results of performances at the National Cup. And with one stage it is impossible to get to Chelyabinsk. Maybe you have contacted the federation about this issue?
Gleikhengauz: I understand what you are talking about. But there are a lot of athletes in such a situation. I hope that the federation will meet halfway. I think it is important for everyone that the main athletes of the national team participate in Chelyabinsk.
Reporter: So you hope that Medvedeva will perform at the Russian Championship?
Gleikhengauz: Of course, yes. But so far there has been no direct conversation.
Reporter: And how are things with Dani Samsonov?
Gleikhengauz: We go through both programs, but the knee still hurts. Therefore, we try to lessen the load. As soon as Danya is ready, you will immediately see him at the competition.
Reporter: He won’t be in Kazan, right?
Gleikhengauz: No. He won’t be in Kazan. He seemed not to be going.
Reporter: What happened to the Team Tutberidze account? Maybe there were some attacks on you too?
Gleikhengauz: Apart from malicious comments and all sorts of bad wishes, there were no attacks. And the Instagram “Team Tutberidze” was blocked due to the fact that there were a huge number of complaints against it, as they say, from bots. People who understand this will help us, they are already doing this, and I think they will soon unblock it. As for Eteri Georgievna’s Instagram, it was just a hack, after which the mailing began from the account, and Instagram itself blocked it.
Reporter: There is an understanding – these are links of one chain of events, not an accident?
Gleikhengauz: Look, well, I cannot assert this accurately because I have no proof.
Reporter: But you don’t suspect anyone, are you joking about it?
Gleikhengauz: No, we are not joking on this topic (laughs).