Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii: “Pair skating is becoming too boring. Everyone is doing the same content. And the worst thing is that it has been going on for 20 years.”
Interview with Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii.
source: Sport-Express dd. 18th April 2023 by Anastasiia Ratskevich
Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii are actively performing in shows, just like many Russian figure skaters, before their long-awaited vacation. But the performance in Moscow will be remembered for a long time by the two-time Russian champions, as this is where they made history by performing an ultra-c element after the show’s finale.
The past season was not easy for Boikova and Kozlovskii, but despite all the difficulties, the pair continued to push their limits and were able to become two-time national champions and win the Grand Prix Final. After their performances in the show, Aleksandra and Dmitrii met with a correspondent from “SE” and gave an interview summarizing the season.
How would you rate last season for yourselves? Are you satisfied with your performance?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Excellent. We are very pleased, as we won all the major competitions without exception. I allow myself to praise our pair here, as we are the only ones out of all four disciplines to achieve this. There are no others. And all of this was achieved through very hard work. None of the athletes lowered their level compared to the Olympic season. Everyone faced difficulties. But we remained as focused as possible. It was very difficult to win in the overall projection, but we coped with it.
You added complexity as the season went on – in the fall you added the loop into your programs. How difficult was that for you?
Aleksandra Boikova: This was our first experience. Yes, at the end of last season we tried a salchow-euler-salchow combination. But it was our last competition, the Channel One Cup. Therefore, we were allowed to skate with a new content. This season, I am proud of myself and Dima for being able to maneuver, depending on our shape and condition – physical and moral – and change the content.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Let me interject here. After all, we didn’t change the loop as the season went on – we worked on it during the summer break.
But you performed without it at the first competitions.
Aleksandra Boikova: Yes, we performed with the salchow.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: It was my first competitions after the injury. It had been about two weeks since I returned to full training loads. But as for the combination, yes, we went for it, and we did it consciously. However, we were absolutely confident in its execution.
At the end of last season, you said that you had grown up a lot. How did this manifest itself?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I think we have become more independent. We had a junior-like dependence on circumstances and people. Now we have become truly adult athletes who do not depend on anyone or anything.
Aleksandra Boikova: That’s true. We have learned to accept and overcome all difficulties calmly.
At Eteri Tutberidze’s show, you performed a quadruple throw, which is a big risk in itself. How do you generally feel about risk in pair skating?
Aleksandra Boikova: I think it’s necessary. Unfortunately, our discipline, pair skating, is becoming too boring. Everyone is doing the same content.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: And the worst thing is that it has been going on for 20 years.
Aleksandra Boikova: Yes! And of course, it’s just not interesting for the audience to watch. Some people have their favorites, of course, and they can watch them. But without a risky element, even the broadcasts won’t be purchased.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: It’s not just that it’s not interesting to watch. In the last decade, the sports industry has gained such strong attention from the public that the audience has become a bit spoiled. In all sports, development is taking place. In the NBA, records are being broken in basketball. In football, teams are playing better – look at the last World Cup Final.
More and more unique athletes are emerging. In figure skating, people are already jumping quad axels. True, only one person jumps and lands it. Remember the beginning of the century – the 2002 Olympics, which were won with one or two quadruple jumps. Now Nathan Chen has jumped five quads. And this is not a toeloop, these are already lutzes. Without several quads, it is impossible to get on the pedestal. And what is happening in pair skating?
Athletes still perform almost the same content as they did a while ago. Development in this matter is slow. And the moment has already come when some breakthrough is necessary. We need to raise the level that already exists.
Aleksandra Boikova: And as an example, team competitions – the Channel One Cup. Girls and boys compete – there is always intrigue, you can score “twenty” (points) for two elements. We have the same content – and the more experienced one wins. Or the one who performs cleaner. At the same time, almost everyone skates almost flawlessly. Whoever skates without a hitch – becomes first. But the difference will be 1-2 points or hundredths. Nothing special.
Was it difficult to decide to attempt such a complex element in pairs skating, like the quadruple throw?
Aleksandra Boikova: It wasn’t difficult for me. For Dima, yes, very much so. He was very nervous, and still is. My partner takes care of me, but I don’t take care of myself.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I think that girls in pair skating should be a little bit crazy, so to speak. A person without it, in my opinion, is unlikely to entrust themselves to be thrown, especially in four rotations. At such a crazy height! I think this raises certain questions (laughs).
Whose idea was it? How did it happen?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: It was Sasha’s.
Aleksandra Boikova: Yes, it was my initiative. From the very beginning, we sometimes did the quadruple throw. Then Yuko (Kavaguti) and Sasha (Smirnov) were training it. And I had just come from singles, and was good at jumping. And my air rotation was pretty well-developed. So, purely for experimentation, we tried it on the harness. Of course, no one let me do it without it. At the end of last season, we started practicing the twist, which Dima insisted on. To try it out. After we did the quadruple twist, I was already thinking, ‘What about the throw? It’s easier!’
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I was confident in my abilities. And in my partner’s abilities.
Will triple axels or quadruples ever be jumped in pair skating?
Aleksandra Boikova: I don’t think so. Because the men in pair skating are tall, and it’s very, very difficult to jump quadruple jumps with such height.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Not to mention weight. You have to understand: pair skating requires a certain amount of muscle mass. When I switched to pairs, I remember I weighed around 70 kg. Now my weight is around 85 kg. And that’s muscle. To interact with your partner reliably, safely, qualitatively, and beautifully, physical strength is necessary. It is achieved mainly by gaining muscle mass.
Therefore, talking about multi-rotational jumps in pair skating at the moment is extremely difficult. Of course, such a possibility should not be ruled out in the future; anything is possible. We do not know where the sports industry will go. When figure skating was just emerging, people were jumping single, basic jumps. And now we’re talking about quads and wondering when a person jumps only two quads in a program. So we don’t know what will happen in 10-20 years. But if it does happen, it will be very cool.
Do you remember your first impression of each other when you just started skating together as a pair?
Aleksandra Boikova: We have known each other since childhood, so there wasn’t really a first impression. The first lift I ever did was with our coach, Arthur Leonidovich (Minchuk). I was always afraid of heights, but he lifted me up and I felt calm. Then they told me to do the lift with Dima, who was a couple of centimeters taller than the coach. But up there it felt like it was plus 30!
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I think I am more than a couple of centimeters taller than Arthur Leonidovich. And secondly, take into account that I have longer arms.
Aleksandra Boikova: I got the impression that there was half a meter of difference!
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Maybe it was.
Aleksandra Boikova: I don’t think so.
Your quote: “We were called husband and wife because we were very emotional when we were only getting used to skate together.” Are you still as emotional with each other or have the passions subsided?
Aleksandra Boikova: They subsided, thank God! (Laughs.) I wouldn’t have enough nerves.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Age is making itself felt.
What is Tamara Nikolaevna Moskvina like during training? Does she have any favorite phrases that she often says to you?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Diplomatic, calm, responsible. Tamara Nikolaevna has a habit that when she is very focused on something, she often says: “So-so-so…”
And how do you behave during training?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: It depends on how the training is going. Understandably, sometimes we argue. But more often than not, we try to find common ground. I always try to do that.
Aleksandra Boikova: That’s right! Dima is our diplomat.
Speaking of diplomacy, Dmitrii, do you work on your speech? You have such diplomatic statements that it’s the best epithet for them.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Every evening at home in the kitchen, when we discuss something with the family, you have to earn the right to speak. And when you do, you’re required to have a clear, well-formulated thought, otherwise they won’t let you finish (laughs). I don’t work on my speech intentionally, but my parents set an example for me from childhood. So, I have what I would call passive constant training.
Aleksandra, how about you? You have interesting posts on social media, how do you prepare them?
Aleksandra Boikova: It depends on my mood, of course. But in general, I really like to share my emotions from my experiences. For example, I love to walk around St. Petersburg, it’s my favorite city, my escape. I always enjoy writing about it, and it comes naturally and quickly. But unfortunately, I don’t spend much time on my blog now, and it makes me sad. But I think everything will fall into place soon.
You have already performed a huge number of different images, such as “Swan Lake,” “James Bond.” Is there anything else you would like to try to perform?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: We won’t tell you!
Aleksandra Boikova: Well, alright. But Dima has some ideas.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: Sasha said I have something. But I have no idea what she means (laughs).
Do you have idols in figure skating? A person or a pair whose skating you admire?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: I would avoid such a categorical definition.
Aleksandra Boikova: I really liked Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres at one time. For me, they were a perfect combination of elements and programs. They were always very interesting and stylish. And the skaters themselves. They looked very beautiful together.
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: This is one of the most interesting pairs in figure skating in general.
How do you feel about the nicknames given to figure skaters? You are called “kisiks” (the word comes from an affectionate version of the word cats – ed), and your colleagues in the coaching group are called “mishki”(Mishina and Galliamov).
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: We have wonderful fans, we love them very much. And we always pay attention to their creative ideas. Because they are not just good, they are amazing and creative.
Aleksandra Boikova: That’s true.
What is the most memorable thing that fans have given you?
Aleksandra Boikova: At one of Tutberidze’s shows, our fans made us these long cats. One with a mask that I wear during our exhibition program (on the theme of the love story of Batman and Catwoman. – Ed. “SE”), and one with a Batman badge and a cape for Dima. It was very cute!
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: At the first World Championships for Sasha and me, which took place in Saitama in 2019, we were given two frogs in costumes from our free program of that season. It was amazing!
Aleksandra Boikova: Exactly! The Nutcracker program. They were so detailed. The beauty was incredible!
Aleksandra Boikova: They were made by one of our Japanese fans. It made a big impression on us, especially since Sasha and I weren’t “spoiled” by fans’ attention at the time.
Are you spoiled now?
Dmitrii Kozlovskii: No. But, one way or another, we are receiving gifts from fans much more often now than before. However, our attitude towards it has not changed, we are in a state of childlike delight from gifts. But since that World Championships was the first event of such a level in our career, we remember it especially.
Journalists have a special impression of the figure skaters from St. Petersburg school. Do you agree that St. Petersburg figure skating school is special?
Aleksandra Boikova: I think we all communicate well with each other. And it doesn’t matter if you’re from St. Petersburg or Moscow. Or Perm. Perhaps St. Petersburg is just a very friendly city and people are drawn to it.
In St. Petersburg, at one of the competitions, you told me that you did not follow the European Championships. Did you follow other foreign competitions?
Aleksandra Boikova: Personally, I watch some performances. I selectively study scores. But I can’t say that I’m really following. In principle, there has never been time for that. And it doesn’t matter if we compete internationally or not. You are always more focused at work.
Do you communicate with any foreign athletes?
Aleksandra Boikova: For example, after Dima and I did a quadruple throw at the Eteri Tutberidze show in Moscow, Kirsten Moore-Towers messaged to me. She said I was great.
Related topics: Alexandra Boikova Dmitri Kozlovski
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