Figure skaters Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin are considering moving to the Israeli national team
Russian dance duo Diana Davis/Gleb Smolkin is considering playing for the Israel national team, according to RIA Novosti. We analyze why Eteri Tutberidze’s daughter and wife turned to this option.
Neither the denial nor the confirmation of the information that has been circulating in the media with a certain frequency since the summer can be seen in this answer.
In the same interview, Diana stated that “no one has called her and Gleb, no journalists have asked in person” to clarify the situation since the summer, but this is not entirely true. Attempts were made to obtain comment immediately after the publication of US blogger Dave Leese, who first announced Davis/Smolkin’s intention to change his sports citizenship to American, and even before the massive hype, but no clear answer was found about its veracity. information – literally neither yes nor no. And only after that, journalists, with nothing but rumors and vague official responses from all sides, turned the wheel of information.
But one key difference between the summer response and the fall response is that they stop hiding. “Skating in Russia for years isn’t very appealing to us” seems like throwing off the masks, and Diana in the same interview “Everyone has goals – Grand Prix, Europe, Olympics, the world” – an unofficial statement the duo’s milestones for the near future and young and touchstones that make sense for an ambitious duo. In a word, the desire of the guys to perform on the world stage and get the medals of champions of the relatively world, and not from the domestic Grand Prix, is understandable and understandable.
So why is the situation around Davis and Smolkin so frustrating?
Part of it is their parents. Once, in an interview, Gleb said that he and Diana hoped to get rid of the headlines in the style “Tutberidze’s daughter and actor’s son did this”, but it seems that with a hypothetical transfer to another team, the situation arises. cross fat to this goal. Commenting on the rumors about the transition later, Gleb added: “Well, my family is investing a lot in ensuring that we train with the best, in the best environment, in the best environment – and that has to work out somehow.”
Again a logical thesis, but in the perception of aggressive fans, it still refers to the “blat” speech, in which the couple was accused by everyone and by miscellaneous. In reality, we are talking about the fact that both Diana’s mother, Eteri Tutberidze, and Gleb’s father, Boris Smolkin, spent a lot of money, both materially and morally, so that the couple could live and study in the USA. In the current conditions, the fact of this indicates that the guys give priority to playing for another national team, since it is now almost impossible to travel from Russia to international tournaments. But for many, these words turn into the theory that status parents are pushing their kids back.
Perhaps a similar opinion was formed due to the selection for the Olympics in Beijing. Then rumors were actively circulating that Davis / Smolkin went there not only for an individual tournament, but also for a team tournament, in which the Russian team almost won the gold medal. The phrase “Tutberidze’s daughter is an Olympic champion” drove thousands of figure skating fans crazy, although no one promised them any team tournaments. Moreover, the couple’s coach at that time, Igor Shpilband, said that after the European Championships in Tallinn, “it was better to give the more experienced duets the opportunity to perform in the team tournament”. Somehow he isn’t very attracted to coercing thieves. Another important detail – they said that the federation decided to pass the entire team with the first points of the national team, long before the European Championship in Tallinn, without substitutions. And judging by the words of Shpilband, none of the coaches had any particular hope that everyone would beat everyone.
Thus, the essence of the claims is reduced to a personal tournament for the sake of participation, which allegedly paved the way for the pre-Olympic championship of Diana and Gleb of Russia. From there there were really two controversial stories – the first, the urgent removal of the best dance couple – Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov – after a rhythm dance with a partner due to back problems (though three weeks later the guys won the European Championships problems), and then clearly, Diana and Gleb’s high marks, thanks to which they were able to take second place, gave them the right to go directly to the Olympics.
For example, young Anastasia Skoptsova / Kirill Aleshin and veteran Tiffany Zagorski / Jonathan Gureiro fell behind (both couples retired after the season), but it is important to understand that the latter was in complete disarray during the Russian Championship. recently had meningitis in partners and the first one did not perform well. Elizaveta Khudaiberdiyeva and Yegor Bazin suffered the most from this, but they were also shaken during the rental. Yes, Davis/Smolkin scored well above their level, but were the others better?
As a result, the judges and the federation preferred Diana and Gleb. Yes, perhaps one of the important factors was the partner’s mother, but what should the skaters themselves do in this context? Are you abandoning your family in front of everyone and defiantly giving up a spot on the national team? What’s more, Davis / Smolkin is by no means all that bad professionally. This is a very strong couple. Yes, with a clear ceiling of possibilities and not the most extraordinary initial data, but with a great exterior (a pretty important parameter for ice dancing) and an excellent work ethic.
But the funniest, and in a way paradoxical, thing is that the federation was finally right. Skoptsova / Aleshin got the role of the third couple in the country, ready to become the first in the future, but quickly finished, as Anastasia herself said, due to health. Zagorski / Gureiro also did not plan to compete for long after Beijing, which is confirmed in practice. Khudaiberdieva/Bazin is a talented, beautiful and impressive duet, but it shows that they are not quite ready for lead status mentally this season. The stable, confident Davis/Smolkin seem to be the more reliable candidates.
It’s definitely not worth condemning Diana and Gleb about a hypothetical crossover under a different flag. But the feelings of the critics are also understandable. If the national team does not manage to go to another team before they are accepted into international competitions, it will probably be difficult for the Russian fan community to accept the guys.
Of course, Diana and Gleb themselves are aware of this. And although this is not their main motivation, the search for a suitable team continues. Now the wind is blowing towards Israel and this time their current coach Alexei Kilyakov helped them choose the country. So far everything is far from 100% agreement and even if Russia is accepted into the international arena soon, the transition may not be necessary at all, but now work is being done in this direction.
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