Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii: “Horoscopes said try something new, today you will succeed. So we tried quad throw”
Interview with Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii. About ultra-c elements in pair skating, new programs, and preparation for the season.
source: russian.rt.com dd. 31st August by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya
At the beginning of autumn, skaters are usually asked about how they spent the summer. What comes to mind first?
Aleksandra Boikova: The training camp in Sochi was very productive. It took a month, and it was quite hard because this was the first long camp in our career, but we managed to do a lot during this time.
Can you give us more details?
Aleksandra Boikova: We managed to fully recover. We started working on new elements, which even in May we did worse than we did at the training camp after a vacation.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: We have been working hard on the quad twist and continue to work on it.
Aleksandra Boikova: Also, already at the training camp, we started to skate our short program and work on a free program.
Your Olympic programs were choreographed by two well-known specialists – Alexander Zhulin and Nikolai Morozov. Now you are working with Nikolai Moroshkin, who is far from being so experienced and well-known. Is this an experiment?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: None of the famous choreographers came into the profession, being already famous, right? At some point in their career, someone believed in them, as, for example, Tatiana Tarasova once believed in Nikolai Morozov and attracted him to work with her athletes. From that moment, probably, his rise as a choreographer and as a coach began. For many years we have watched Nikolai Moroshkin grow before our eyes. He develops, has his view and his style. And he’s ready to offer this style to senior athletes.
Aleksandra Boikova: He also created several gala programs for us, and they all suited us very well. Therefore, we decided that it was probably time to step a little further and do the programs for the season.
Is it possible to say that your new programs are cooler than the Olympic ones?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Good question. I think any program needs time. The aging period so to say. On the one hand, we have already tried them in public, but to compare them with the most successful programs of our previous years, we need to bring both to the appropriate level. And for this we need time. I think that closer to the test skates, to the beginning of the Russian Grand Prix, it will be possible to talk about programs and evaluate them in the context of our career.
During the Olympic season, the topic of competition between you and Anastasia Mishina / Aleksandr Galliamov constantly came to the fore. Do you still train on different ice?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: In our club, the group of single skaters has become bigger, and as a result, the amount of ice decreased. So now we train together.
Is it psychologically stressful?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: For us, this does not matter.
Aleksandra Boikova: We now have a lot of our own work, and we have to fully concentrate on it.
After the Olympics, you said that you consider the main task to continue moving your sport forward. But then it was not known that major international competitions, most likely, would not happen this season. Do you still have a motivation?
Aleksandra Boikova: We have a motivation to skate because we really want to show new complex elements.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: In addition to Sasha’s words, I can say that this particular season, which is now turning out to be so weak and scarce for international competitions, can play into the hands of those athletes who want to take a step forward, go for a full-fledged upgrade in their skating. It is extremely difficult to find time for such a transformation when you work as usual. It’s not just about adding some new transition or learning a new lift. There’s an increased risk of injury, and additional difficulties behind any quadruple element. All this breaks the usual preparation, your state in these programs, and entries to other elements. Everything is changing drastically. To stabilize everything it takes not just time, but a full year, which you are ready to risk and sacrifice something. So it’s very good that now we have time for such experiments.
I know that you have been trying a quadruple twist for a long time. And what about the quadruple throw?
Aleksandra Boikova: It’s good. We work on it.
A question for you, Sasha: which of these elements is scarier?
Aleksandra Boikova: Twist. For a very long time, I was afraid to perform it on the ice. Although both Dima and Artur Leonidovich Minchuk constantly convinced me that doing a twist is much safer than a throw. But I was afraid because I understood: if something goes wrong, then not only I will be injured, but also Dima, who stands under me during the twist. In a throw, everything is completely different: there, after I was released, all the responsibility is only on me.
I do not think that in the event of an unsuccessful attempt, your partner would agree with this opinion.
Aleksandra Boikova: Well, that’s why Dima and Artur Leonidovich were very worried. But in single skating, I very often trained multi-rotational jumps. On a harness, without a harness. So for me, it was not scary. And I understood for myself that it was important to continue doing this: at the end of the season, I always started jumping various combinations to work on rotation, the ability to adapt faster and better in the air if something goes wrong. Therefore, purely physically, I was completely ready for the quadruple throw. For the first time, we tried to make it without a harness on the last day before vacation, May 13th. In general, I really love the number 13. And when it came, I read horoscopes and found out what was waiting for me today to calm everyone in advance.
I can imagine this picture: you open the horoscope, and it says: “A quadruple throw is waiting for you today, Aleksandra.”
Aleksandra Boikova: There was something like: try something new, today you will succeed. So I convinced everyone. At the same time, I understood that, since I was ready, we need to try it right away: the longer you think, the longer you are preparing, the more scared you become. Therefore, I told Dima: “Now let’s do quadruple, and don’t ask anything. Go!”
Were you satisfied with the result?
Aleksandra Boikova: I did not land it, but the attempts were very, very promising. In any case, we immediately decided for ourselves that we need to work on this element. This is important: once you understand that you are not just trying something, but working on it systematically, the probability of consistently successful execution becomes much higher. Now we do a throw both on a harness and without, to feel the opening, the landing.
A similar question to Dmitrii: is it scary to launch a partner on a quad without a harness for the first time?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: It’s tense. The quadruple throw caused a much greater state of internal tension in me than the quadruple twist. Although these elements are completely different. Different pace, different entry, different explosion, different rotation. Especially when adults, mature athletes work on quads, and not a strong guy and a little girl. It’s a completely different story. And it requires a completely new and unique approach.
Do I understand correctly that twist and throw take away the lion’s share of your time now? Or elements of such complexity cannot be trained a lot?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: A very interesting question. They really can not be trained too much, overtrained. They need to be performed when your body is well prepared, ready to “explode”, ready to completely bear the load.
Aleksandra Boikova: Lifts, jumps skaters often do them when they are tired. We also used to have such a practice: we could fully train for an hour and then jump for another half an hour. This gives the very skill that coaches say about: you can do it even after waking up at three in the morning, in any condition.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: You can work on fatigue only with a fully learned element. And for ultra-c elements, the body must be fresh to thoroughly approach the process. You need to warm up the triple twist well, do the quadruple on the floor. Then gradually, with a high-quality performance of the triple on ice, go for four rotations. And do it very carefully. Such elements definitely should not be performed five, ten times per workout – three is enough.
Aleksandra Boikova: If you feel that there is some doubt or something aches, in no case should you take risks, in this case, something will definitely go wrong.
Have you tried it?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: At the training camp in Sochi, there was a situation when work on the quadruple twist was planned in the schedule of our training, but I felt that the body was not ready today, there was no necessary sharpness. So, I warned the coaches, and we rescheduled. When this element settles down and becomes more familiar to us, I think the sensations will be smoothed out. But at the stage of working on ultra-c, you need to try when you are sure: you will enter, do and catch.
Generally, we don’t have a method of working to the limit. In the sense, that figure skating is not some crazy marathon where you have to overcome yourself with superhuman effort. We have an expected sport. In the sense that there are almost no spontaneous actions. It’s not a boxing match where you go up against your opponent and have no idea where he’s going to throw his next punch.
The brightest impression of the summer, not related to training?
Aleksandra Boikova: Of course, for me, it was a vacation. A long-awaited trip with a friend to Istanbul for three days. I got a lot of impressions.
To be honest, I thought that you and Dima were vacationing together.
Aleksandra Boikova: Oh no. Of course, we are best friends, but this does not mean that we also have to go on vacation together. We need to take a break from each other at least once in a while.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: We already see each other too often.
And what was the most vivid impression for you, Dima?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I was just trying to remember. So far it doesn’t work out. The Olympic year has taken too much emotional strength from me. This is not only because of the Games, the year, in principle, turned out to be difficult. Perhaps that is why I have not experienced any strong emotions for quite a long time. Even though my life is not limited to figure skating. There are obligations, and life plans, which I try to bring into reality. It is interesting to learn something new, to develop, and move forward in terms of my development and education. I like it, it makes me happy and motivates me. In general, there is no feeling that there is not enough time for an interesting life.
Can you give a specific example of current hobbies?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Now I am reading a very interesting book, which was written by the professor of the University of Cambridge of Korean origin Ha-Joon Chang, “How the economy works”. There, in accessible terms, it is explained that the economy for the most part is the science of common sense and the sound choice of a person. It is interesting for me to translate this into our current life, to understand what prospects are opening up in the formation of new economic and currency zones, new geopolitical models, schools, and ideologies. This affects our current life much more than some of the processes that seem to us to be paramount.
Listening to you, I remembered how 30 years ago I did an interview with Alexander Karelin, in which he said that it was impossible to live in Russia and not be interested in politics.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Close connection with politics is a natural process in any politically developed state. And politics should be understood not only as activities aimed at governing the state but also as the ability to establish ties in society. There is an economist Mikhail Khazin. In one of his latest books, Stairway to Heaven, he just talks about the fact that politics is almost everything that surrounds us. Any person who has achieved something in the social world is somehow related to politics and its system.
Do these words mean that you see your post-sport life in political organizations? In the State Duma, for example?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I would like to do something worthy for my country, which would be significant. By my country, I mean Russia – I can’t imagine myself in a different status. I don’t want to go anywhere, I want to live here, I want to develop here and be involved in making the country better. And believe me, there is no pathos in my words, but only sincere love for the Motherland.
Is there any non-skating sport that you both would love to try?
Aleksandra Boikova: Karting, racing. I went karting in Sochi with Dima and other guys from our group. I really like the speed itself. I would try to drive a racing car.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: For me it’s golf. I like it when sports have aesthetics, a ritual process, and enjoyment of this process. It’s no secret that I occasionally play tennis. I love everything about it: packing my training bag, tying my sneakers, going on the court, getting my racket, warming up, feeling this wooly ball in my hands.
The pleasure of the process helps a lot to rebuild, to switch the head. When you do something professionally, to some extent you can no longer work exclusively for pleasure. Because the profession one way or another takes away from you not only strength but also emotions. And it slowly becomes a routine. I learned to make up for this by developing in other areas.
Imagine, now Tiger Woods is sitting on one of the California ice rinks and says to his friends: “Finally, I can put down this damn golf club, put on my figure skating boots, slowly lace them up, enjoy the feeling of smooth skin, gliding blades …”
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I would be very surprised if Tiger Woods is aware of such details about figure skating. For this to happen, our sport needs to develop strongly in all directions.
Related topics: Alexandra Boikova Dmitri Kozlovski
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