Alexei Mishin: “Sometimes I hear: ‘Everything is fine, we will win all the same!’ and so on. I can’t place myself in this group of people with rose-colored glasses.”
Interview with Alexei Mishin. About preparation for the season, test skates in St.Petersburg. new programs of his skaters and motivation.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 15th September 2022 by Dmitri Kuznetsov
Alexei Mishin is 81. And he does not think of stopping his coaching career. The correspondent of “SE” visited the country house of one of the most successful coaches of Russian figure skating and realized that his energy would last for as many seasons as not all athletes have. Moreover, he himself cooks on fire, invites neighbors and friends, and those who see him for the first time come up just to shake hands and get to know each other.
Aleksei Nikolaevich, the test skates of the Russian national team is in a week and a half, the skates in St. Petersburg passed. How would you rate the start of the season for your group?
Alexei Mishin: I would divide it into two areas – what was new in artistic terms and what was implemented in practice. When the season is already over, we evaluate it by the result. At the start, it is too early to sum up, and the task is to bring what is planned to the ideal that was planned.
From this point of view, Mikhail Kolyada’s performance is indicative. His “Nutcracker” confidently clicked his teeth and looked great. While Tango in the Madhouse is brilliantly conceived, but people didn’t seem to see it because of the weak content. I hope that this program will be so new and original that to some extent it will become more unexpected and stronger than The White Raven.
Liza Tuktamysheva is a special skater. She, as it seems to me, have a balance between what was conceived and what was done. The new short program is a step forward, a step away from stagnation. I do not want to pay much attention to small, but fair remarks about the content. Yes, she did a triple lutz without a toe loop, but her leg ached on a toe loop. And it still hurts. Therefore, she made just a lutz.
Generally speaking, both her artistic vision of the world and programs, and her technical readiness are currently at a high level, they deserve attention. Friends sent me a slow replay of her triple axel in the free program – it was wonderful. High, powerful, with excellent exit. Summing up, I will say – if she did everything one hundred percent, it would be joyful, but dangerous. The question would arise: what will happen at the end of December, in January?
Gleb Lutfullin. He cannot boast of the great attention of journalists to his person. But at the end of the test skates I would not hesitate to praise him and say that compared to other athletes who have already won titles, he was one of the strongest and looked decent.
I’m not talking about Zhenya Semenenko here. And if I say, I’m doing it with sadness. It is very unfortunate that first he had one serious injury at the show, now in Courchevel he also unsuccessfully fell on his knee. But these two events characterize him as a person. Injuries happen from fatigue, from fear, but in his case …
Alexei Mishin: There is a concept of “breaking barriers.” This injury was from desire. He wanted to show how his gala program, already recognized in the community of our sport, looks like. It’s a shame, he was in great shape.
In the first part of the show, he skated a free program and made a quadruple loop, we have a video. Made this jump exactly how it should look. And he had such an uplifting spirit that he asked me to skate his “Korean” program in the second part, although I suggested that he skated a gala program to Albinoni’s “Adagio”. But he had a passionate desire to show his new program, where, I believe, Zhenya himself was the key choreographer. Without belittling the role of Ilia Averbukh, Tatiana Prokofieva.
Would it be better if he stopped after falling from the triple axel?
Alexei Mishin: I got the feeling that he began to skate somehow strange. I looked at his skating after the fall, and there was an assumption – something with his head. Possibly concussion. Speaking in boxing terms, Zhenya was in a groggy state. It turned out that there was no concussion, there was just a strong blow on a knee during the fall. And after the performance, he said, putting his foot on board: “I put my foot on, it was already gone.” I ask: “Then why didn’t you stop after the injury?” And he replied: “I don’t want people to see me being carried off the ice on a stretcher anymore!” This phrase speaks volumes. Zhenya is a person.
Returning to Liza, she was once a “girl from Glazov”, and now this is her 16th season at the highest level …
Alexei Mishin: (Thoughtfully.) I must say that Liza is now one of the brightest phenomena in our city. Most recently, Liza was included in the top of the most influential women in St. Petersburg. I would raise her image even higher: she is currently the personification of femininity, culture and intelligence in St. Petersburg.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Oleg Protopopov, where he praised Liza’s performance at the test skates: “Dear Alexei! Congratulations to Liza on a great achievement! We have always believed in the reality of this!” I respect Oleg’s opinion very much. Because he is among those personalities who have turned modern ideas about the artistic vision of our sport.
Isn’t Liza’s short program to Freedom stronger than the new one?
Alexei Mishin: We’ll see. Let’s assume that we have a gun with two barrels. Which one hits harder, that one we’ll use. It’s just that Liza is the kind of person I try to be too, I guess – she goes forward all the time. There is a program – let’s do another one. Therefore, she has been with us for so long and has been in the top for so long.
What about her “Loneliness” program?
Alexei Mishin: First of all, that “Loneliness” was not created alone. Ilia Averbukh specially prepared this program a couple of years ago for a show dedicated to the work of composer Igor Krutoy. And he created this program as a gala number for the evening. Ilia’s offer to skate to Krutoy again turned out to be … cool! I think it’s a hit. Now this program corresponds to her spiritual maturity, Liza has a more philosophical attitude. The program turned out to be unusual, deeply lyrical.
How can we keep athletes, fans and, in principle, the community of our sport in the new conditions?
Alexei Mishin: Sometimes I hear: “It’s okay! Everything is fine, we will win all the same! and so on. I can’t place myself in this group of people with rose-colored glasses. I think we are in a very difficult situation. And in order to get out of it with dignity, we have to do a lot.
Don’t you have a mood sometimes – well, that’s all, is it time to finish and go fishing at the country house? And someone will pick up your banner.
Alexei Mishin: Now we have a very good team. I feel strength in myself, because my wife Tatiana is standing next to me, who took up the training of young figure skaters, a new generation. And Vlad Sezganov, and Sofia Samodurova, and Kirill Alioshin, who help her. And Egor Cheloshkin, who is in charge of physical training. And our choreographers Tatiana Prokofieva, Elizaveta Navislavskaya, who works at the Boris Eifman Dance Academy. We still have a lot to do.
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