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Burned on Kostornaya, blowing on Titova: how Plushenko became a great coach

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Evgeny Plushenko, together with his students Sofya Titova and Veronika Zhilina, showed a 100% result at the junior series of the Russian Grand Prix. They won four out of four! After that, Tatyana Tarasova, even understandably strict towards the two-time Olympic champion, noticed that Plushenko was becoming a great coach. Sports tells about the path of a famous figure skater to recognition in a new role.

After the Olympics in Sochi, talk about a possible fifth Plushenko Olympics did not subside for three years. The skater periodically warmed them up with optimistic statements. Only in February 2017, for the first time, the phrase was heard from him: “I will go to the 2018 Olympics, but I don’t know in what capacity.”

Soon, Plushenko announced that he was ending his sports career.

“I had 15 operations. It is difficult to perform at the fifth Olympics. I ate too much,” the athlete admitted then.

Immediately after that, he announced that he was opening the Angela Plushenko coaching academy. The first star student of the mentor was the Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova. even then they called the transfer of the skater a PR stunt. Still, after the victorious Olympics, Sotnikova performed very little at competitions, during which time new stars managed to shine. First of all, we are talking about Evgenia Medvedeva, who at the same time became a two-time world champion.

At major competitions, Plushenko appeared as a coach the very next season. Not with Sotnikova, but with two-time world junior vice-champion Serafima Sakhanovich, unexpectedly for many, found herself in his group. Moreover, the skater entered the short program of the Skate America tournament on her own. By the free program, Plushenko managed to fly to Lake Placid. Sakhanovich then took a fairly good fifth place. It seemed that this cooperation has prospects.

The feeling didn't last long. Already in the spring of next year, the skater returned to St. Petersburg due to domestic and financial problems. The role was played by the dismissal of the coaches Alexei Vasilevsky and Yulia Lavrenchuk who worked with her. Plushenko then said that Sakhanovich is a “person of mood” and work with her did not work out. And that the departure of Vasilevsky and Lavrenchuk considered a “betrayal”, he said in an interview quite recently.

The next famous figure skater who worked with the two-time Olympic champion was Anastasia Tarakanova. Moreover, she made a transfer along the route “Eteri Tutberidze Group – Plushenko Academy.” Then no one guessed that soon these two names would begin to flicker next to each other in the headlines. Tarakanova came out short and not very successful. At the end of the first season, under the guidance of a new coach, the skater left the group. Not without scandal. Plushenko spoke about Tarakanova's “tantrums”, and the student complained about the lack of ice and the non-standard size of the site.

At about the same time (season 2018/2019), with a difference of a year, girls from the Tutberidze children's group went to Plushenko's academy, whom at that time only figure skating “geeks” knew. If 11-year-old Veronika Zhilina at the time of the transition already knew how to perform a triple axel and quadruple jumps, then Sofya Titova did not even own an axel in two and a half turns. Then it turned out that she was simply expelled – they did not consider it promising. We will return to these skaters. As well as to Sofya Muravyova, who moved to Plushenko in the summer of 2020 after being expelled … from Khrustalny.

Now let's talk about the most high-profile transitions of the mentioned route. First, Alexandra Trusova moved to the Plushenko Academy. She did this in the midst of the lockdown (in May 2020), when everyone was at home. At the same time, Sergei Rozanov, one of the coaches of the Tutberidze group, went to work for Plushenko. The “injured” side reacted very painfully. Choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz hinted that Plushenko is luring people to him with big money.

Very soon there was another deafening transfer. Alena Kostornaya passed to Plushenko from Tutberidze.“Lovely, kind people come to us with an open look, wanting to achieve results, to prove to themselves and others. Time passes, we work productively and sometimes achieve colossal results. more and more new conditions for the continuation of joint work (as an increase in the price for love)”, – this is how Tutberidze reacted in her social networks to the departure of the European champion.

The next few months passed under the sign of the confrontation between the two coaches. The parties exchanged sharp comments that tore apart the media space no less than the rivalry of their students itself. And it often developed not in favor of the young coach. For Kostornaya, the time spent with Plushenko did not work. The figure skater did not qualify for the World Championships and decided to repent on the air of the federal TV channel, asking to return to Tutberidze.

Trusova, under the leadership of Plushenko, took third place in Stockholm 2021, and in the free program she showed the best result. Even then, there were rumors about her imminent departure after Kostorna. At a press conference, the skater was asked if she plans to change her coach again. Trusova replied: “I'm not going to change anything yet.” Many have focused on the second part of the phrase.As it turned out, it was necessary to look at the first. To the accompaniment of the statements of the head of “Khrustalny” Renat Laishev about the imminent return and the second “runaway daughter” Trusova really went to Tutberidze. She was already preparing for the Olympics under the guidance of the former coaching staff. In the summer of 2021, Rozanov also left the academy of the two-time Olympic champion.

If it seemed to someone that Plushenko's coach would go into the shadows after this, they were mistaken. The first half of the 2021/22 season was marked by Olympic selection. However, the figure skater, who did not participate in it, was also able to shine brightly. Sofya Muravyova entered the top three after the short program at the Russian Championships, and at first she was generally ahead of the future Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova. Only after she was awarded a very controversial penalty point, the skater was left behind. “Sonya is smart! They took second place from her, apparently, they really needed this score.” Such a caustic comment was left by Plushenko's wife Yana Rudkovskaya.

Minor trouble, of course, did not stop the progress of Muravyova, who this fall became the silver medalist of the fourth stage of the Russian Grand Prix. It is very important that Plushenko personally brought the figure skater to the ice, despite his own show. For the two-time Olympic champion, coaching has now become the main one. Although his academy has two groups. Dmitry Mikhailov and Sergey Alekseev work in one, Artem Znachkov and Alexander Abt work in the other. Anyone could take the athlete to the start, but for Plushenko the priority is personal participation.Of course, no one will say that those brilliant results that the athletes of his academy show in the junior Grand Prix series are someone else's merit. Sofia Titova performs a triple axel and quadruple jumps. Veronika Zhilina has the same set. Artistically, these skaters no longer look like a “children's league.” It is not in vain that after the fourth successive stage, victorious for Plushenko, an urgent question arose: “But shouldn't these skaters aim at the adult category?” “Good. She's already good,” Plushenko said after Titova's performance at the Moscow stage of the Junior Grand Prix. “Everything is ahead. I always really like her mood. And he doesn't go anywhere. I've been training her for five years, she's only getting up. She loves to compete , this is important.As for Zhilina, at the last Moscow stage in the free program, she got two quadruple jumps, but the triple axel did not come out. The injury got in the way.

“There is progress, it is noticeable,” Plushenko said. “What do we talk about if we get upset because she made two quads and did not make an axel.

The coach did not agree with the fact that Titova and Zhilina were ready to perform in the adult category.

“Until the junior level, they have not outgrown. If it were otherwise, Veronica would compete this year in seniors,” said the coach.

However, he admitted that he could declare both athletes for the Russian Championship this season: “I will decide whether they need it.”

>In the meantime, they need a healthy sparring partnership that Plushenko is following closely. These skaters are definitely his project. Their successful development is a guarantee that they will no longer look for a better fate for themselves. And Tatyana Tarasova, who stressed in the fall that Plushenko was becoming a great coach, would definitely admit that the two-time Olympic champion had already become one.

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