Natalia Garth: “I Will try to ease the conflict between Demchenko and Pavlichenko”

Today at the reporting and election conference President of the Russian Luge Federation Natalia Garth was re-elected for a new four-year term, and then answered questions from the ROC Information Service.

She told about the Federation’s efforts to include Naturbahn (sledding on natural tracks) in the Olympic program and informed about the intention to keep albert Demchenko, the coach who had a conflict with Semyon Pavlichenko during the Pyeongchang Olympic Games, in the national team.

– As you know, the Ministry of Sports recommended the Federation to form the coaching staff of the national team by the beginning of June. Have you made any progress in this matter?

– Before the election it was pointless to work on it, since my terms of office, as President, were expiring as well as those of the Executive Committee members. The coaching staff will be formed by the current team, which will work in the upcoming four-year period. Apparently, it will be approved by the Russian Luge Federation Executive Committee next week.

– What is the probability of major changes?

– We are not expecting any revolutionary changes, but we can’t but respond to the situation and must take some steps. Maybe we should rotate.

At the same time, it should be noted that the coaches Albert Demchenko and Sergey Chudinov coped with their duties. The athletes’ good results prove that. The exception is the performance at the Olympic Games. Expert Council of the Ministry of Sports assessed it as unsatisfactory.

Between 2014 and 2018, 96 medals were won, including 30 gold medals. This is twice as much as in the previous Olympic cycle. Semen Pavlichenko was the first Russian luger to win the gold medal of the World Championship in 2015. In turn, Roman Repilov in the 2016/17 season repeated Albert Demchenko’s success of 2005, winning in the overall World Cup standings. With huge competition, this is a very significant achievement. In short, the team is in good condition, which means that the work is built correctly. So I wouldn’t fire anyone from the national team. Another thing is that there is a misunderstanding that should be addressed.

– Thus, Demchenko, re-elected to the Executive Committee of the Federation, will stay in the team?

– The issue will be solved at the Executive Committee meeting, but I do not imagine how he  can be fired. Moreover, it is not clear why. The national team showed excellent results, except for the Olympic Games. However, the team composition was not complete;  Tatiana Ivanova was not there. Thus, two of the disciplines were ‘hacked’ well in advance, these are women’s single and the relay, where we had a good chance of medals.  Repilov, by the way, completed the relay with the best result. He and Pavlichenko failed in the single-sled competitions, but it is a sport. Three-time Olympic champion Felix Loch would ‘fly’ on the same turn as Repilov.

Demchenko, who participated in seven Olympic Games, is a unique specialist; we cannot  loose him. There are not so many professional coaches, who understand the specifics of sledding. Coming from other sports, you can learn a lot, but working with the sled, the track are delicate matters, that you need to experience for yourself.

– Will Pavlichenko stay in the team?

– Our Federation strictly observes the principle of sports selection. If the athlete fulfills the standards, showing certain results at the qualifying competitions, he stays  in the national team. Semyon is a promising athlete. Conflicts happen in any family. People who love each other sometimes quarrel, but this does not mean that we must necessarily part. As President of the Federation, I will make every effort to ease  the conflict between Semyon and Albert. They should continue to work for the benefit of Russian sport, delivering medals.

– Thanks to the Russian Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports, we have significantly improved our material and technical base over the past four years. The Federation now has its own transport, and modern equipment that helps them achieve high results,  continued Natalia Garth.

Work with the main and the youth teams will remain one of the main focus. At the same time, it is necessary to expand the geography of the luge sport, constructing new luge-bobsleigh tracks and reconstruction of existing ones.

The focus will be on cluster development, creating sports and entertainment centers with sledge-bobsleigh tracks and the tracks for Naturbahn. The pilot project will be Tuutari-Park in the Leningrad Region.

In addition, the project of the bobsleigh track in the Kemerovo Region is all ready, and in the city of Chusovoy, Perm Region, where one of our main centers is located, the ice-covered run will be reconstructed. The main thing now is to find sources of financing.

At the Conference I also spoke about the prospects of the inclusion of Naturbahn in the Olympic program. The application to the IOC has been submitted and will be considered on June 27. Despite the fact that Naturbahn has at least three serious competitors, we hope for a positive decision. It is very important that our ally in this issue is the 2022 Olympic Games Organizing Committee. The Chinese, like us, are interested in this spectacular sport being presented at the Olympic Games. Given our success in Naturbahn at the global level, its inclusion in the Olympics would increase the number of Olympic medals in the overall tally.