On Monday it became known that the two-time Olympic silver medalists Games Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov announced the end of their sports careers. remembers the skaters' path to success and understands the reasons for leaving the sport.
The couple lasted 11 years – the same time as the children study in high school. For 28-year-old Evgenia and 31-year-old Vladimir, it was a whole life. There were moments that they would like to forget, for example, the skate at the Russian Championship 2014, when Vladimir dropped Evgenia from the support. There were also those that I wanted to hang on the walls in the form of memorable photographs. Like winning the debut Grand Prix final in the 2016/17 season, the first victorious “Europe”, a wonderful production based on Irish dances and every heavenly twist performed by them.
Initially we recognized them as “saffron milk caps”. The skaters received this nickname from fans for their appearance – Zhenya complemented the natural red color of her partner’s hair with her coloring. And even when she became blonde again, the “red hair” didn’t go away – it was more common for everyone.
Tarasova and Morozova were given three Olympic cycles with two Olympics. At first, Evgenia and Vladimir, due to their youth, were unable to become leaders of the national team. They looked out from behind the great Volosozhar/Trankov, and could not get around the super experienced and charismatic Stolbova/Klimov. Often it was internal competition that let us down – for example, by the time Tarasova/Morozov managed to become champions of Russia for the first time, they were already European champions, twice bronze medalists of the European Championship and medalists of the World Championship.
They approached Pyeongchang 2018 in a contradictory state. On the one hand, the leaders of the national team with all the accompanying expectations and privileges. A brilliant short program was staged to the music of Sergei Rachmaninov. Perhaps one of the best of their careers and one of the best among sports couples in recent years.
On the other hand, the controversial free program with little-understood costumes to the song Candyman was dragging down. As a result, Rachmaninov played 200% – thanks to him they won team silver and came second in the individual tournament. But the “yellow peas” – as Candyman was popularly called for the skaters’ costumes – let us down. Either the general nervous background had an effect, or Zhenya and Vova themselves did not feel confident, but in the free program they completely fell apart and even lost to the Canadian pair Duhamel/Redford. The result is a disappointing fourth place and a feeling that everything did not work out as it could have.
Something needed to change. Therefore, for the next season, Tarasova/Morozov left Nina Moser for the USA. Their coach was Marina Zueva, who once worked with Olympic champions Ekaterina Gordeeva/Sergei Grinkov. The skaters came to the new coach for a new face and, undoubtedly, got it. What is the brilliant “Bolero” by Zueva worth! Only the broken personal relationships did not allow me to direct all my energy in the right direction. One thing or another periodically fell out of the puzzle of their skating.
Realizing that the last Olympics was ahead of them, which meant there was no more time for experiments without a guarantee, Tarasova/Morozov decided on another radical change. They went to train at Khrustalny under the wing of Eteri Tutberidze. Until this moment, she had never worked with sports couples. But she could provide ice, any specialists and make suggestions to anyone needed in order to knock various nonsense out of their heads. In a word, she could solve all the problems that in recent years had prevented Vova and Zhenya from achieving their goals. They could only obey her and agree among themselves. In addition, for psychological comfort, a close friend, two-time Olympic champion Maxim Trankov worked with them. An experienced technical trainer, Pavel Slyusarenko, was also discharged from Perm.
Now we can already say that in Beijing 2022 they succeeded in almost everything. It was almost impossible to defeat the outstanding Chinese pair Sui Wenjin/Han Cong at their home Olympics. Second place is the maximum that is allowed, which Evgenia and Vladimir managed to reach – great luck and hard work that paid off.
On such a high note, given their age and already long career, they could have said goodbye to the sport anyway. At least take a break, as is customary now. But under the pressure of two circumstances, this decision became even more obvious and mature.
First, Russia was suspended from international competitions for an indefinite period. Secondly, competition in domestic competitions has increased greatly. Young inexperienced and young titled couples fight among themselves as if they were playing for a set of Olympic medals at every start. To meet this level of charge, you need to have iron health and strong motivation. With both of them, after a long career, things are not very simple for Tarasova/Morozov. They brought the last season to the halfway point, putting an ellipsis on the bronze medal of the Russian championship – it became the ninth medal of the national championships in their collection.
Now, thanks to certainty, the ellipsis has turned into a dot. This means that we can only say goodbye to Evgenia and Vladimir and thank them for the beauty of their skating and academic style. In figure skating, there are two fewer representatives of iconic surnames for this sport. And this is in some ways very symbolic.