Women's pole vault silver medallist Tatiana Grigorieva (© © Allsport)
Tatiana Grigorieva’s manager, Richard Carter, Saturday night refuted suggestions the Olympic silver medallist had split with her pole vault coach.
But it will be Adelaide sports biomechanics expert Dr John Gormley who is providing the technical advice at the Telstra Australian athletics championships starting in Brisbane next Thursday.
Grigorieva had been coached and conditioned by Vasilii Gritchenkov, a former world No.1 triple jumper for the Soviet Union who moved to Adelaide last year to work with her, among others.
But while the strength and conditioning work she has done over the last five months with Gritchenkov has been outstanding, a difference in opinion about certain technical aspects - and her desire to compete well in Australia - has led her to seek alternative advice from Gormley. However, Gritchenkov continues to coach Grigorieva’s husband, the Olympic pole vault finalist Victor Chistiakov for technique as well as physical conditioning.
Carter, upset that the switch may be incorrectly portrayed as a hostile split, said the coaching arrangements would be reviewed immediately after the nationals which double as the Commonwealth Games team selection trials. “The fact is that Tatiana feels she has had a great preparation with Vasilii and feels now there should be more emphasis on technique and the run-up,” Carter explained.
“She wants to maintain an association with Vasilii who she thinks is the best physical conditioner she’s been connected with in track and field. “At the end of the day, 80 per cent of performance comes down to the physical preparation.
“She said she has had a fantastic preparation and she wants to capitalise on that by jumping high at the nationals.”
Carter described the present arrangements as “a bit of an experiment going on through to the nationals.”
There is no doubt Grigorieva would love to send the world a positive message by approaching or breaking Emma George’s Australian record of 4.60m in Brisbane.
And the fact is that while Australia could sweep the women’s medals at the Manchester Games in July, the bar has been raised on the European circuit where Grigorieva makes her living.
Within the last 12 months nine women have cleared 4.60m, with Stacy Dragila topping them with her towering world record of 4.81m.
Grigorieva’s best is the 4.56m she jumped last autumn in Japan, so any changes she makes are performance-related and those are always the right reasons for change.
Mike Hurst (Daily and Sunday Telegraph, Australia) for the IAAF