Alexei Mishin: If you aren’t good enough for single skating, then you go to pairs

Posted on 2017-06-29 • No comments yet


Continuation of the interview with Alexei Mishin. Part 2 about pairs and ice dance.

Recently, we often hear from coaches that it is difficult to find partners for pair skating and dancing. Do you have any thoughts about this?

– Now we can see a deficit of partners in both pair skating and ice dance. In this regard, I recall the aphorism of my research advisor – the three time champion of the USSR in pair skating, a professor, Alexander Borisovich Gandelsman, who, unfortunately, is no longer with us. So he said that single skating is the root system of all figure skating. It seems to me that this point of view is relevant even now. It seems to me that in the situation that has arisen, it is necessary to think about the meaning of this phrase and increase the share of single skating in the total mass of people engaged in our sport. With great certainty I can say that in such countries as USA, Canada, Japan, Korea and others, the ratio of those who are engaged in single skating and pair skating as well as ice dance significantly tends towards single skating.

I managed to be a witness, if not to say a participant, of the formation of modern trends in pair skating. How did the selection of athletes for pair skating went before? If you are not good enough for single skating, then you go to pairs. If you are not good enough for pairs then you go to ice dance. If it didn’t work out there, you become a coach. If as a coach you did not succeseed then you start to judge. And if in all these hypostases it did not work out, then where else to go? Of course it’s a joke. But seriously, in those days when we were skating together with Tamara Moskvina and going out for warm-ups or training, we were the best singles. Our technical arsenal greatly exceeded our rivals. When the famous French coach madame Vodekran saw what we were doing on the ice, she exclaimed: “This is single skating! They jump and jump!”

And now, years later, there’s nothing to do without jumps. Now pair skaters do a triple lutz, 3-3 combinations, and in the future pair skating will become more complicated. So now, to make a pair, you need to take two good singles and a season later you will have a duet. You don’t have to prepare pair skaters in childhood. Boys are still weak, girls are growing rapidly, there are a lot of unpredictable things in their physical development. By the way, the latest events in ice dance also confirm my idea that even there duets will be made of two strong singles.

Of course, Ludmila Belousova – Oleg Protopopov brought the artistic beginning to figure skating. But speaking of our pair with Tamara, we can say that we were also an iconic figures. We were one of the first pairs formed of two good singles. We were the pioneers of this trend. And look: today we gave two our singles Sasha Boykova and Dmitry Kozlovsky to pair skating and there is a rapid increase! Therefore there should be more good singles. And then, I am sure, thanks to the best selection of partners, we will have better situation in pairs and ice dance. I talked with the leaders of our federation on this topic and got an understanding.

by Olga Ermolina for


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