Evgeny Platov knows how demanding a Russian figure skating audience can be and he knows what it takes to impress Olympic judges.
Platov, coach to British ice dancers Penny Coomes and Nick Buckland, is a double Olympic champion, first winning gold with partner Oksana Grishuk at the 1994 Games in which Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean took bronze.
But he has high hopes for Coomes and Buckland, who recently won bronze at the European Championships and will compete in the team and ice dance events in Sochi.
"The whole world is here so top ten would be great for us and if we are in the top eight that would be amazing," said Platov.
"Their medal at the Europeans was unexpected because this is a long-term project, our goal is the next Olympics in 2018.
"I love working with these guys, they are my favourite students. We have a great relationship but there is also a respectful distance. I can be strict and a beast on the ice but off the ice I'm their buddy, you must have that connection.
"They are like sponges. They look me in the eyes and do what I tell them. If they keep doing that, it's a really exciting future."
Platov is rightly keen to play down comparisons between Coomes and Buckland and Britain's most famous ice skating double act, who had their Bolero moment in Sarajevo 30 years ago this Valentine's Day
"Torvill and Dean are untouchable. We are all still trying to get to their level, with my two Olympic medals, even when I beat them, I still considered them the best ever," he adds.
"They started a revolution in ice dancing, they are beyond comparison. Our goal is to reach that Olympic podium, it's going to be hard but it's not impossible, Penny and Nick do have that potential."
Coomes and Buckland start their Olympic campaign on February 9 while Great Britain's men's skater Matthew Parr and pairs couple Stacey Kemp and David King open up the team event on Thursday.
“I’ve dreamt of competing at an Olympic Games my whole life, we were lucky enough to compete in Vancouver, and we’re lucky enough to be here again, in Sochi. We also get the chance to compete twice here, which is a bonus," said Coomes.
“We were really excited after Europeans, that gave us a great confidence boost going into these Games, we didn’t have too much time between, but that two weeks we did have in training, we really stepped it up and worked extra hard.
"I’m hoping that will really show in our performances here, and if we can get two really good skates and some personal bests, that would be great.”
© Sportsbeat 2014