French coach Andrei Berezincev is a new figure in the high society of skating. Last season, the Europeans and the Worlds became his debute. Bereznicev represented Luxemburg, taking his student Fleur Maxwell on ice. This year, the fate put him right in the middle of pre-Olympic events - Brian Joubert asked for his expertise.

- Andrei, how and when you ended in France?

- I've been here for 14 years. I started skating in Samara, then moved to St. Petersburg to train with Tamara Moskvina. I skated pairs with Natasha Borovikova. Later, I moved to Moscow because I enrolled in Physical Education Institute. I had to forget about my ambitions in sport by that time even thought I was finishing up skating training with Irina Rodnina, and later with Alexander Zajcev. After the institute, I served in the army and went to work in Circus on ice. During the tour of France, I met my future wife Adra. That's how it all started.

- What do you mean started?

- When I left the sport, I promised myself to put my all efforts into becoming a coach and reaching the goals I didn't reach as a skater. For eight years, I worked in the south, in Monpellier. My skaters started to show pretty high results. In particular, French pair #3 trained with me. Later, our rink was closed for repairs. I didn't want to move to another town and start from zero. However, I had to move anyway - to Switzerland. I worked there for three years and got an offer to go to Luxemburg.

- How about your family?

- We are never apart, we travel together. Even though Adra has no connection to skating, she is very much into it and supports me in everything I do. Our daughter Justine is eight and a half.

- Did Joubert's offer made you move back to France?

- Yes. I know Brian since he was very little. I even took him to the competitions when his coach couldn't come with him for whatever reason. I followed Joubert's success, we often talked. We talked at last years competitions where I went with Fleur Maxwell. Still, when he asked for my help, I wasn't expecting it.

- When did it happen?

- This summer. We were at the training camp together when Joubert announced he was leaving his coach and he asked me if I would agree to work with him. He called me a week later and said he want to be the Olympic chamipon and for that, he is ready to train as much as needed. He asked me to help. I was very impressed. I knew that taking a European champion is a big repsonsibility but I didn't hesistate. Our family moved to Poitiers where Brian lives, and we've been working together since.

- Are you satisfied with the work prosess?

- Olypmic year is special, plus the judging system changed. Brian was always a very technical skaters when it came to jumps and footwork, but he had certain problems with spins and choreography. He still has them but we managed to fix a lot. It took a lot of time and effort but that's another story. He is very raw. This is why he didn't perform too well at Skate America. There is nothing bad about it. Many skaters are not in shape now - everything is geared towards the Olympics.

- Still, for a skater who recently won the Europeans, it's not easy to appear in public and not have it together. Evgeni Plushenko didn't take a risk to do it before the time is right.

- Unlike Joubert, Plushenko is World and European champion many times over. He was on the Olympic podium and he probably knows better than anyone else how to build his training. Brian has to learn a lot. I was glad after his performance in Paris. It showed that the work we did is starting to give the results. The short program was performed clean and no big mistakes happened in the free program. Everything is according to the plan.

- From the side, it's easy to notice how much attention your student gets in France now. Does it interfere?

- We work as a team where everyone is doing their things professionally. All the issues with press and television were solved in a way that didn't create any problems with practices.

- At one time, legends were told about Suria Bonali's mom, upt to the point that it was her, not the coach, who defined how and when her daughter should train and perform. I've heard something similar about Joubert's mom. How do you agree on that?

- I work with Brian, not her. We discussed my responsibilites right away. I'm repsonsible for technical part of the training, for everything that has to do with programs, music choices, and practices. We have no problems.

- Do you think that Joubert's dream to win in Turin is realistic?

- Yes.


, © 2006