Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Victor Kudrjavtsev – maker of stars.

Translation of an article by Irina Stepantseva and Asia Alimova published in the Russian Language Publication “Moskovsky Komsomolets” on October 24, 2007.

Today a famous coach of figure skaters marks his seventieth birthday.

He is some kind of an unusual genius coach. He never talks about his achievements; he does not look down on people. He never needles his colleagues. It is only work and results for him. He is very talented and modestly charming.

One would be surprised, but THE unique Ludmila Pachomova began her career with him as a singles skater. In his first group, he had also the first male singles champion Sergey Volkov. He also coached the pair of Smirnova-Surajkin.

There are a lot of famous and talented pupils of Victor Kudrjavtsev. He generously guided them into the sports life, sometimes not even getting any credit for their successes. He taught Kira Ivanova to jump, but she reached the Olympic pedestal with a Kovalev.

Ilja Kulik won with Kudrjavtsev the European Championship, but won the Olympics at Nagano with Tarasova.

Maria Butirskaya went to conquer the world with Chaikovskaja.

How does one count the medals of this coach? He counted them 108 - received at the Championships of Russia, Europe, World and Olympics. Any one could challenge that count if they want to, but who would dare? He is a technical genius – it is a well know fact.

Some felt pity for him, some felt that he had bad karma – as soon as he would bring up a student who would feel the strong “wings”, they would replace Kudrjavtsev as a coach. Why would the students leave him after he helped them to discover figure skating? May be it was because he treated everyone equal and some felt that he did not give them special attention? Or maybe because greatness is better seen from afar and it is much harder to go back than to keep moving forward.

Victor used to say: “What can one do, I do not like diplomacy. I always had some strong pupils in my groups and if I would pay more attention to one, the others would be upset”.

It was not really that important why the pupils would go away – he never panicked. If the talent went to someone else, what could he do? Of course no one likes treachery, but he always had more pupils to work with. He even defends the ones who left him saying that they had their right to choose. He likes to work with novices – with the raw material, and to be patient.

What he can not justify is the gossip about him and his students. But if the coaches to whom his pupils would go would respect him, and would ask him for advice, he would be happy to help. He helped Tarasova work with Kulik. Victor likes talented people, not the ones who would waste their talent, but the ones who work to grow their talent. He always felt that if the skaters would not follow his instructions, it was a waste of his time and he was not going to hold their hands. They had to work hard by themselves as to improve their performance. His job is to give them the skating skills. In his view, a champion is a sports person who has some specific qualities – physical, psychological and moral. A champion should be able to make the right decision without a coach. It is impossible to teach a person to compete. He either has this quality or not. And one should not exaggerate the role of the coach at this stage.

It was always hard to be a coach. The parents were always difficult to deal with, but these days the main thing that they think about is not the sports or art, but the pocket book. This is one thing that Victor would cut down immediately – the interference of the parents in the practice. Many think that if they pay for the training, they can do anything.

Kudrjavtsev is not complaining because he has the most important thing for a coach – his private ice that he works on. It is unusual even for such a famous coach as Kudrjavtsev.

He has groups that he coaches for money and the others are just for sports. He has a staff of coaches who work under his supervision and by his methods. He can teach people to jump as no one can. He consults and teaches other coaches. He continues to coach the members of the National Team. And that is how he meets his seventieth birthday.

If you ask him about his age he would tell you that there are many people older than he who like to talk and have something interesting to talk about. He would not want to make himself as an example; he would rather concentrate on his work.


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