18:01 29.07.2008 - Athletics - Olympic Athletics tournament
Yevgeny Trofimov: Thank God, the experiment is over and Isinbaeva returned to her old jumps, which we developed in Volgograd
Today, July 29th, this evening the Monte Carlo Super Grand Prix of Light Athletics will take place. In it, in particular, will appear the European, World and Olympic Games champion in the women’s pole vault, Yelena Isinbaeva, who set her first outdoor world record under her new personal coach for the past three years Vitaly Petrov on July 11th in Rome at 5.03 m. Her first coach, Yevgeny Trofimov, shared his observations of Yelena Isinbaeva with the Agency of Sport Information "All Sport".
"Thank God, the experiment that lasted for the past two and a half years is completed, although nothing was accomplished," said Yevgeny Trofimov. "Beginning with the current summer season, Isinbaeva and her coach have returned to her old jumps, which we developed during her time in Volgograd. In general, I completely understand Vitaly Afanasevich Petrov's desire to change Lena's vault. She arrived as the Olympic champion and holder of multiple world records, and if they continued to stamp out records with her old jump, everyone would say: what has Petrov to do with it? I don't know what or how Petrov wanted to change, but I don't doubt that he planned to improve, to make progress. But it turned out like the saying: "Better is the enemy of good" [American translation: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" – BF]. The fact remains: Lena lost the most important quality for a pole vaulter - volatility. For some reason her new vault broke through only occasionally, and only in winter - three years in a row weren't wasted, since Isinbaeva set world records indoors at her first starts in Donetsk. But anything further was cut off. To continue the experiment in an Olympic season posed a very high risk of defeat at the Games in Beijing. Given Jenny Stuczynski's progress, Svetlana Feofanova's experience, and Isinbaeva's own consistency at the mere level of 5.60-5.80 m [sic – I'm sure he meant 4.60-4.80 – BF], it didn't appear unrealistic. Her margin of safety disappeared, and her rivals started to realize that based on her maximum results, they could beat her. That is why Petrov and Isinbaeva returned to her old jumps, although of course they have polished up a few things here and there. And right away - a world record! I repeat my opinion, which I've repeatedly expressed: Lena is potentially able to jump around 5.15-5.20 m. And the Volgograd arena record, which belongs to Isinbaeva, already stands at 5.05 m. I even remember the date it was set - May 23rd, 2005, during the championship of my training group."
Yevgeny Trofimov also named Yelena Isinbaeva as the prime favorite for the Olympic pole vault tournament at the Games in Beijing. "Now that Lena has returned to her old vault, she has again become unbeatable by her rivals. These latest tournaments prove it, not just Rome ending with a world record. Until recently it seemed to all that Stuczynski really was pressuring Isinbaeva. But eventually the difference in their results is still at least 10 centimeters while the American is jumping at near her personal best. I'm very happy about this development. After all, I'm the senior Russian national team coach for the women's pole vault, and considering all the extraneous factors, I wouldn't want to smile after the Olympics and try to explain why we don't have a gold medal. Again, I am very pleased that the experiment has ended," smiled Yevgeny Trofimov.
Well… I’ve got a 17 year-old daughter myself, so I’m loath to throw this guy in the river over having a hard time dealing with the changes as Isi aged from 15 to 23. But his statements here seem a bit disingenuous to me.
I’m no great scholar of pole vault technique, but it doesn’t appear to me that she has abandoned the changes that she and Petrov have been working on for the last two and a half years. I think it’s just taken that long for her to completely learn and become comfortable with them. Nevertheless, I suspect that she’ll have to go considerably higher than 5.20 by the end of her career before people in general will fully acknowledge that the technical changes have produced an improvement. And I rather doubt that Trofimov would ever acknowledge it, regardless of how high she eventually jumps.
So do any of you folk with more practical experience than me in such matters want to voice an opinion about any of these matters?
Have Isi & Petrov really reverted to her pre-2006 technique?
How high would she be jumping now if she’d never split with Trofimov (ignoring the fact that their split was over personal issues rather than competitive results)?
How high will she eventually have to jump to be confident that the switch really resulted in an improvement?