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Pavel Rostovtsev: “There is one big advantage in sport – you can prove your words with your results”

Pavel Rostovtsev fit into the coaching staff so quickly, that almost nobody remembers that only 6 months ago he changed an official suit for a coach's equipment of the national team. And this change is not the only one in the life of the three-time world champion and Olympics prize-winner ahead of his 40–years jubilee, which he celebrated at the Russian summer championship in Ufa. Maria Baydina talked to the former functionary, and the present women team's coach about his coaching career, management's status, second marriage and felt that the Rostovtsev's comeback to the national team concurred with a beginning of a new life.

— Did you celebrate your jubilee?

— No

— Why?

— We had enough of different events. I decided that it was enough of celebrations.

— Is it your constant attitude to holidays or you just did not have time to think about it?

— It is because of my work. I forgot about this date. We were standing at the shooting range and someone told me that the next day would be 21st of September. The next morning I told Pichler that it was my birthday. He was very surprised. But I did not have any celebration in my plans.

— Is it because men should celebrate their 40th birthday?

— No, it just was not appropriate. The Russian championship demands a full concentration on the work. Any celebration is just a waste of our strengths, emotional at the first place. We understood that this competition was selective and because of that the tension was high. In Ufa we had the first results of the pre-season training's first part. That is why not only the sportsmen worried, but also the coaches.

— Pavel Alexandrovich, before your 40th birthday your life changed a lot in a professional and in a private ways. In the beginning of the summer you left you functionary's job for coaching, in the end of the summer you got married. Do you feel that you passed some kind of a range and have a second wind?

— Yes, I do. Everything what does not kill us, makes us stronger. No matter what happens we cannot lose our hearts. Things happen, I am happy now. With Olya we planned to get married long ago. But in the summer, my kids were away, then I did not have a time. In the pause between the training camps in Ruhpolding and Tyumen we had our wedding.

— You went through your first wife's death very hardly…

— I went through this and do not want to talk about it. It was very important for me that my children agreed with my new marriage. They were really happy when I suggested that Olga would live with us. Most of all because of Olya I made this decision to change the work. I realized that I had a person, who can stay at home with children when I am away for training camps and competitions. She supported me strongly.

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— Did you have this wish to change your carries' path earlier?

— I believe my work in Krashoyarsk was very interesting. I cannot say, that to be a functionary is a pure happiness. A position of the plenipotentiary of the Krasoyarsk krai's governor has the same status as ministers. I was doing great in Krasnoyarsk. That is why when I got an invitation to join a coaching staff from the RBU I had to discuss this at first with a governor Lev Vladimirovich Kuznetsov. I was a member of the managing team and just did not have a right to leave it without asking. The governor and my family supported me that is why I made this decision.

— Looking at your carrier's path, one can say that for several years you swam in the wrong place, and now you are getting back to the right environment. Do you also have this feeling?

— No, I believe that I have had a priceless experience. For the last 5 years I had an excellent school. In Tyumen I talked to my former colleagues Viktor Maigurov and Pavel Vavilov. Pavel said that I was under the hard experiment. In November 2006 I was still training and in four days my assistant brought me a file of 50–santimiters high and told me: «Pavel Alexandrovich, this is the mail you need to work through.» It was hard to turn from a sportsman into a functionary that quickly. But I had a priceless experience.

— I know that during your work as a sports functionary in Krasnoyarsk, there were different unpleasant episodes. Some people fought against you and coolly pressed you out of the system.

— Of course, there were lots of things. Some people come to your office and tell you, that from 9 till 18 there are one decision makers, and after 18 - others. They told me that I had family and why did I need it to behave in such a way with a football club. I had direct threats, my deputy's car was burned, and the tires of my car were flattened. Today I smile, but that time was very interesting. The governor set me a task to make all the budgets of all the region's clubs clear and transparent. It was a great experience, such situation train you.

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— There was a time when you were making the sports' system of the whole region working. Thinking in a functionary's logic you had a downshifting. Now you are one of those, who get the tasks and who are being managed.

— I do not think so. There are some moments, when you status does not mean everything. I understand that a successful performance at the Olympics in Sochi means more than my successful management in Krasnoyarsk. If we consider it from the country's perspective, then it perhaps is my task — to add something to the preparation for the Olympics. Moreover, the sports' management needs me. We have the common interests, and I can take this challenge.

— Where is it more interesting?

— It is everywhere. There are plusses and minuses everywhere. I can think that my previous job was a preparation to my present job. Perhaps I must use all my skills to help the Russian sport and biathlon.

— Some of the Russian coaching staff perceived a Picler's invitation in an adequate way. They were really against the invitation of the foreigner specialist.

— Everyone has the right to have his own opinion. I am not going to argue about this with anyone. The management made this decision. And this decision should be realized. There is a one big advantage in sport — you can prove your words with your results.

— Will we have a result?

— The season begins soon.

— Were you afraid of working with Wolfgang?

— Absolutely no.

— What feelings did you have? Respect?

— Yes, and understanding of my personal tasks. It was hard to imagine how we would communicate. Was my German's level enough to become a bridge between the coaching staff and the sportsmen? Only this thought disturbed me. In all the other perspectives I believed and later proved my thoughts that Wolfgang is a specialist of the high class. It is my pleasure to work with him. I discovered many of his new sides. For example, he is a very systemic person. He built everything right in a team. I can say frankly, that it is very comfortable and interesting to work with Wolfgang in the one team.

— Do you record hid coaching plans?

— I know that there is an agreement that these plans are a property of Wolfgang and the RBU. But it is really his property and his capital. But of course I have all information regarding training of the women team. But one needs to understand that to have plans it is not everything. Sportsmen need to work according to this plan, and the timely corrections are very important. These two things are the most important skills in our profession. Being a coach you need to have a huge experience and charisma to turn the paper plans into results.

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— In the women team you are a shooting coach or an assistant coach?

— I think that I am more of an assistant coach. In plans everyone has his own field of work. But all these formal things do not bother me. But I really pay a lot of attention to the work at the shooting range, including patrons' and rifles' selection. But this is my know-how.

— Do you suggest anything to Pichler?

— Of course, and not only I but all coaches. We gather before the each training day for a short set up. We make decisions all together.

— I mean not the local situation of just one day, but the global suggestions.

— It happened. He enjoys having other opinions for discussion. Bu Wolfgang is not fast in making decisions. And this is great. We need to talk it over, think about it and only then make decisions. All the questions we discuss in the evening. It is impossible to make decisions during the training sessions. You need to be concentrated fully. Do you know, what was the most vivid impression from our first joint work at the May's training camp? For all of our suggestion, we had a lot of them in the beginning, Pichler always told: «We need to think about it calmly and then discuss.» I liked this approach. And now, sometimes when we discuss serious things with my family we also say these words.

— The last question. Many people waited for the Russian championship as a confrontation between teams A and B, Pichler's team and others.

— Absolutely no. There is no confrontation. We cooperate with the team B. We cannot say that we fight against each other. The team A was formed from the best sportsmen. That is why the team A should be stronger than everybody else. The results that we have today reflect the reality. This means that we are on target.

Maria Baydina for Biathlonrus.com