Sergei Voronov: Working “Like a Galley Slave“

Elina Paasonen
Sergei Voronov

A lot of people had considered that Sergei Voronov was done, but he surprised many at Finlandia Trophy, by laying down two strong performances to finish second behind Yuzuru Hanyu.

When he decided last spring to look for another coach, he was turned down by the CSKA school. But he didn’t give up and instead joined Eteri Tutberidze’s training group. It was a fresh start for him.

“When I switched to Eteri I saw something completely new in terms of the work. That is, in the direct sense of the term, to grind away like a galley slave. This is hard labor, but this hard labor so far this season is bearing fruit,” Voronov said.

“In the beginning I might have resisted. When you are 25 it is difficult to break your habits, but thanks to my whole team and thanks to Eteri, I was able to force myself to step over myself. Now I really understand what Evgeni Plushenko is going through at his age. You really have to step over yourself and this is the most difficult thing to do.”

Voronov trained hard over the summer in preparation for this season. “When I skated with Nikolai Morozov, I was in New York, Japan and Latvia, constantly changing countries; I was either in Novogorsk for a month, where I was fried, on the ice, in the gym or in the sun, or I was in Moscow,” he explained.

“We trained with our athletics team that was preparing for the World Championships. To be honest, this was when I realized that my new coach is going in the right direction. I saw that our team was successful at the World Athletics Championships and I understood; you have to endure and then you’ll have a second wind. I think I have got this and now I can deal with the workload, and I am not dropping dead. Yes, you get very tired, but I get up each morning and I know what I am doing this for.”

Voronov once belonged to a group of young, hopeful Russian men, capturing silver and bronze medals at the World Junior Championships in 2005 and 2006. He also drew attention when he finished fourth at the 2008 European and seventh at the 2008 World Championships, and won the first of two consecutive national titles.

However, injuries, especially a nagging foot injury, hampered his progress. For several years, he was not able to include a triple Lutz into his program because of his foot problem, but now he has the Lutz back. This jump, and the quad toe, which have been his strongest weapons for a long time, was in his programs at Finlandia, as well as a solid triple Axel.

Voronov skated first in the short program, but felt it was the appropriate starting number for him. “I think I have to try everything since changing coaches after last season. I am not sad that I skated first. Maybe it is a little harder, but it was interesting to go out completely overhauled and somewhat different and to show my level,” said Voronov who turned 26 on October 3.

The short program is set to an orchestral version of “Two Guitars,” a famous Gypsy music piece. “This music was suggested by Tatiana Tarasova and the program was done by Irina Zhuk,” Voronov said. “I really like this music. It has some Hungarian motives. Even my costume is in this style; my girlfriend suggested it and she drew the sketch.”

For the long program, Voronov uses three well-known Tango pieces: “A Los Amigos,” “Por una Cabeza” and “Tanguera.”
“Ilia Averbukh choreographed the Tango. This season everything is new for me. It was so interesting to work with him. His vision is interesting, and the story he thought of for this Tango is one of a betrayed, dumped man. This was completely new for me. I worked with many choreographers and I am very grateful that a person like him made my program,” Voronov said.

So far, he is scheduled to compete at only one Grand Prix, NHK Trophy in Japan in November, but he is hoping to get another assignment as the season progresses. With his strong showing at Finlandia Trophy, Voronov proved that he is back in the race for the sole Olympic spot in Sochi.