Figure skating world famous coach Rafael Harutyunyan was the honorable guest of the Armenian Figure Skating Open Championship held at Irina Rodnina Figure Skating Centre from May 3-4. The Armenian specialist has worked with such stars as Michelle Kwan, Mao Asada, Jeffrey Buttle, Ashley Wagner. A month ago Harutyunyan’s alumnus American Nathan Chen became a world champion in Saitama setting a world record.
Rafael Harutyunyan spoke about his alumni and the work style answering an ANOC journalist’s questions.
-In the world of figure skating you have a reputation of a crisis manager. From that point of view what steps and solutions must be taken in Armenian figure skating?
-In general, it is necessary to invite the best specialists to solve any problem. It refers to all spheres from crisis manager to ice specialists. Only in that case it is possible to escape crisis quickly and effectively. And for that we need funding, the state’s supports and finally the people’s supports.
-In April your skating ring had to be opened in California…
-It has already been opened. I was appointed a head coach. It’s been 2 month we have been working. I hope to open an academy. I want to invite coaches with their athletes there and give master classes. I have big plans with the ice rink.
-There was a time when the difference between Soviet, then, Russian and American schools was much spoken about. Is that topic still actual in this globalized world and representatives of which school can your alumni in the USA be considered?
-I think now it isn’t actual any more. Everything has mixed long ago, Russians have long been working in the USA and we hear Russian more and more in American rinks and their national championships. The same Americans work everywhere. So today it will be wrong to speak about national schools and styles. We can speak about a person’s style who has alumni and shows results and it doesn’t matter if it is Russian, French or of other nationality.
-Your alumnus world champion Nathan Chen spent the 2018/2019 season 3000 miles far from you under your control through Skype. Will this option of training be effective during the preparation for Beijing 2022?
-Chen studies at Yale University, that’s why we had to organize our work through Skype. Anyway this year we will try to reorganize everything for fully preparing for the Olympic Games. It would be great if he manages to take an academic vacation in January. It will be a perfect option. If not, at least at the end of the next season.
-And has this option of preparing justified itself?
-This option is hard and uncomfortable, but we have what we have. And as for justifying itself one thing is clear if one can study and train simultaneously and become a world champion, then it has justified itself. This is success.
-As far as I know you sign a contract with athletes for at least 2 years, as you consider that period optimal for figure skater to reveal himself. Why 2 years?
-When you start working with an athlete you have “to change” not the body but the head. There are certain habits that must be changed. For all this you need 2 years. When you “change” the head, the body changes too. And two years later the athlete starts doing what you need, what you want.
-So in case of Evgenia Medvedeva we can expect real results only on the second year of collaboration with Orser, can’t we?
-I think this season also Medvedeva has performed successfully and we should expect her to be the star that she is. The question is not what to expect of her. The star is the person who always proves he is in the sport elite. Medvedeva proved it this year.
So, ahead, to the World Championship!
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