Alexei Mishin: Figure skating now takes an example from TV shows where they discuss who slept with whom
Interview with Alexei Mishin
At the start of the season, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva managed to surprise everyone. Did she manage to surprise you?
– She didn’t surprise me. She delighted me.
Does all this hype around Tuktamysheva bother you?
– Generally, the hype outside the athlete is not dangerous. It is dangerous when the hype starts inside the athlete.
What about Elizaveta?
– So far I hardly notice the hype in her.
If you notice something like this, what is your wake up call for an athlete?
– If the athletes allow themselves such things (although in my practice it was rare cases inspired from the outside), I say: Listen-to-me. I also add something else that can not be published in your respected online newspaper.
Don’t you regret that agreed to that Liza’s gala program with undressing?
– I didn’t regret. I was the initiator of this “down with the jacket”. After all Liza shows the clip of Britney Spears, and she have to be in the trend of the clip. But if we judge Liza’s performance in comparison with what Britney Spears does in that video, Liza’s program will seem to be an example of a virginal attitude to her beauty. Just review this clip again.
But Tuktamysheva said that the idea of this program was suggested by her boyfriend, and you were skeptical.
– Her friend advised her the music. Tatiana Prokofieva choreographed the program. And the idea of dismantling a hoodie belongs to me.
About her chances of winning the Grand Prix finals, Elizaveta joked, saying that she would get gold only if she robbed a jewelry store in Vancouver.
– I think this is the most successful answer from all that she wrote on the Internet.
Do you encourage such a sound assessment of capabilities? But what about the desire to be always the first?
– Her wording is close to me, and, perhaps, I would answer this question in the similar way. Because asking an athlete what place he plans to take in conditions of complete uncertainty of victory is an example of tactless journalism.
There is another your skater in the Finals – 16-year-old Sofia Samodurova. What do you think about her prospects?
– You see, I try to positively influence the flavor of our journalism, but my efforts are not entirely successful. The girl skates well. She’s on the rise. Let’s wish her a good future.
The absence of Medvedeva in the Grand Prix finals is a tragedy?
– For her, this is a failure. But the world of figure skating won’t remember it soon. I remember how, a year before winning the World Championships, Zhenya Plushenko didn’t participate in the previous World Championships. This nonparticipation has been forgotten. So is here. Only further successful performances of Medvedeva will be remembered. Or unsuccessful.
What is the problem of Kolyada, whose performances have constant falls?
– I think that even his permanent coach Valentina Chebotareva will not answer your question. There is simply no answer to your question.
Have you had such problems in your coaching practice?
– Such pronounced – no. In my practice there wasn’t such a high level of skills with such an amount of failures.
Are you afraid of the level of hysteria around figure skating that has been lately?
– Figure skating now takes an example from some programs on TV, where they find out who cheated first, who second, who slept with whom, discuss the results of paternity tests. Change of a coach and other aspects of an athlete’s personal life shouldn’t attract so much attention. When Lena Sokolova came to me from coach Kudryavtsev, the president of the Russian skating federation Piseyev said: “There were divorces, there are and there will be. There were transfers and there will be.” Let’s concentrate and see who began to skate better, who worse, what changes have happened. Everything else doesn’t need to get such attention. In my memory, the situation with Zagitova and Medvedeva is the second such case with a such painful attention. The first is when Ulanov left Rodnina and began to skate with Smirnova. Then there even were reports with peeping through the keyhole, how they behave, what they do there. But over the years this has become history. I think this time it will be the same.
Tutberidze herself said that at the Olympics, Medvedeva asked her why Zagitova couldn’t been held in juniors for another year. And many then stood up for Medvedeva, saying that she, like no one else, deserved Olympic gold. From coach point of view, was Tutberidze right with Zagitova?
– I wasn’t at the Olympics and not aware of those events, so I can’t comment.
Ok. Hypothetical situation. You have a top athlete who has won everything over the past two years, and now she is going to the main award in her life, and another insanely talented girl is growing nearby, but she’s a little younger. Would you hold back a younger one?
– All actions that artificially hold back one athlete in the interests of another are immoral. Did I express it clearly?
More than. Figure skating fans began to behave more aggressively than football fans. For example, Trankov recently stated that no one rooted for Zagitova at the Olympics, everyone rooted for Medvedeva. After that, he got a lot of comments with wishes of painful death to him and his relatives. Why do we have such aggression in such a beautiful sport?
– I don’t know.
Maybe it was always like this, we just didn’t notice what kind of people cheer for figure skating?
– There was a similar unhealthy interest around Plushenko and Yagudin before the Olympics in Nagano, but still it didn’t reach this level.
It is clear that you don’t like everything that is happening around figure skating. Even compare with a bad tv show. But because of this, people talk about your sport, they write about it, the broadcasts of the competitions show huge ratings, the fees of the athletes are growing. Is it that bad?
– Just recently we have discussed PR with coaches – how important it is that the name of an athlete is often mentioned in the press, on television, on the Internet. I gave this example. There was a period when the most-mentioned athlete was Andrei Lutai, my student. Back then he got to an American jail for stealing a car. According to the judge, he stole a car, drove without a license, violated traffic rules, drove without insurance, refused to pass an alcohol test and called the policeman a traditional Russian swear word. He was shown on Channel One, Channel two, I was interviewed a lot. But I think that PR should be based on moments that demonstrate the skills of an athlete.
by Artem Kuzmin for fontanka.ru