Successful Russian Figure Skating Coaches
It has even been said by some that to “make it” in figure skating that ice skaters “need a Russian.”
This is a list of some of the most famous and successful Russian and Soviet figure skating coaches. Some of these coaches were Russian and Soviet skating competitors, and then became successful figure skating coaches in the United States. Some of the coaches listed below stayed in Russia and coached in Russia. Others lived in the U.S. for a while, but have returned to Russia.
Stanislav Zhuk coached Russian Olympic pair skating champions and legends Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev and Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov. Before Zhuk coached skating he won the Soviet pair skating title four times and finished sixth at the 1960 Winter Olympic Games. It has been said that Zhuk’s student, Alexander Fadeyev, was the first figure skater in history who landed a quadruple toe loop jump.
Yasa Nechaeva and Yuri Chesnichenko
Yasa Nechaeva and Yuri Chesnichenko, called Yasa and Yuri by their students, have coached prominent U.S. ice dancers including 2010 Olympians.
Tamara Moskvina is considered to be the most outstanding pair skating coach in figure skating history.
In 2012, it was announced that the Olympic coaching team of Marina Zoueva and Igor Shpilband were going their separate ways, but as a coaching team, the two made history when their ice-dance swept the podium at the 2011 World Figure Skating Championships. Together they coached Olympic and World ice-dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and they also coached US and World ice-dance champions, Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Alexei Mishin is the coach of 2006 Olympic Figure Skating Champion, Evgeni Plushenko. He has trained other figure skating champions including Alexei Urmanov and Alexei Yagudin. He is sometimes called “The Dean of Figure Skating Coaches.”
Ice-dance coach, Natalia Dubova, coached of World and Olympic ice dancing medalists Maya Usova and Alexander Zhulin, Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko, and Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz. She first coached in Russia, but relocated to the United States in the late 1960s. Dubova has produced a series of videos that teach skating and stroking skills, moves-in-the-field, and ice dancing techniques.
Tatiana Tarasova holds the record for coaching the most world and Olympic figure skating champions in ice skating history. She lives and coaches in Russia, but lived in the United States for over ten years. Some of the figure skaters she has coached include Alexei Yagudin, Ilia Kulik, Oksana Grishuk, and Evgeni Platov, Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov, Irina Rodnina and Alexander Zaitsev, and Shizuka Arakawa. She is also a choreographer and has choreographed programs for Evan Lysacek, Sasha Cohen, and Michelle Kwan.
For many years, Nikolai Morozov worked as Tatiana Tarasova’s coaching assistant, and did the choreography for many of her skating students. Eventually, he branched out on his own. He now lives and coaches in Moscow, but continues to come to the USA to coach skating during the summer.
Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov
Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov are the 1980 Olympic Ice Dance Champions. They went on to coach in Russia, then came to the United States. They have coached in Delaware and Pennsylvania and were the coaches of 2006 Olympic Silver Ice Dance Medalists Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto and 2010 Olympic Bronze Ice Dance Medalists and World Ice Dance Champions Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin.
Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak, and Dmytri Ilin
Alexei Kiliakov, Elena Novak, and Dmytri Ilin’s Wheaton Ice Skating Academy is an ice-dance program that uses Russian coaching methods. Their program has been very successful in producing several young ice dance champions and is now considered one of the best ice dancing programs in the United States.
Galina Zmievskaya coached 1992 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Viktor Petrenko and 1994 Olympic Figure Skating Champion Oksana Baiul. She also began coaching U.S. Olympic figure skater, Johnny Weir, in 2007.