Alexei Mishin: The combination of Russian technique and American choreography gave the Japanese high results
Interview with Alexei Mishin.
by Elena Danilevich for aif.ru
Alexei Nikolaevich, last week it was reported that Elizaveta Tuktamysheva was hospitalized with pneumonia. How does she feel? It turns out that she will miss the Russian Nationals, but this is a selection for the European and World Championships.
– Liza was diagnosed with pneumonia, now she is in hospital near Novogorsk. Doctors say she will stay there at least for two weeks. I don’t know where she caught such a strong cold. You understand that she will have to miss Russian Nationals. The decision to withdraw for objective reasons was taken by the Federation on the initiative of the coaching staff. Now she feels much better, her temperature and state of health are normal. As for the future, let’s not make plans and predict, let’s just wish Liza a speedy recovery.
At the Grand Prix Final in Vancouver, Tuktamysheva won the “bronze”, your other skater – 16-year-old Sofia Samodurova took 5th place. Do you think they coped with the tasks?
– I think they coped. In the conditions of tough competition, the girls managed to show their best qualities, skated the program without falls. Liza’s technical score is almost equal to the result of Rika Kihira and even higher than points of Alina Zagitova, whom I love and respect very much. Of course, there were mistakes, but it only adds experience. In my opinion, Liza and Sofia were satisfied with the result, which also means a lot.
In Vancouver among top-6 skaters there were as many Japanese women as there were Russians, three. Experts say that behind the success of the Japanese athletes there is our school, they just took all the best of Russian women’s skating. So, we ourselves armed our rivals?
– We should look at the question more broadly. For a long time, Soviet figure skating dominated in the world. Athletes from many countries borrowed everything that was created by our system of physical education. Some of my books, for example, have been translated into Italian, German, English.
So, the Japanese, like others, actively used our work. However, it did not happen without American choreographers and Canadian artists, whom Japanese figure skaters invite to work with them. The combination of Russian technique and American choreographers gave the high results that we wee now.
As for Kihira, she is a very talented girl. There are no special secrets in her techniques, but she jumps perfectly, rotates fast in the air. We can only congratulate her with a new world record.
Let’s go back to Tuktamysheva. Both fans and many skaters say that Liza is underscored by the judges. And what will her coach say?
– Now the rules for assessing the skills of skaters are subject to revision. If we take the outstanding programs of the past, which were performed by the Torvill – Dean, Belousova – Protopopov, Pakhomova – Gorshkov, they were like small theatre performances where every movement, every look was verified. Yagudin’s Winter, Plushenko’s Nijinsky belong to the same masterpieces. But according to modern requirements they do not correspond to the trends of figure skating in terms of composition, interpretation. Accordingly, they would be rated not as high as they deserve.
The choreography, the expressiveness of the program – these concepts are very multidimensional. They imply a much greater aesthetic effect on the viewer than just a transition from element to element. Important things, but they went in the background, which makes me regret. Figure skating is a sport where art plays a major role. Athlete’s movement activity can not be the main criterion for the appreciation of all components like it’s happening today. In this regard, Zagitova’s programs, polished and thoroughly thought out, at the last competitions were not always appreciated as they deserved. Of course, it’s a shame, when Liza’s well-executed lutz gets the same extra points from some judges, like the “invisible to the naked eye” jump of her competitor…
I think the International Skating Union and its judges should pay attention to this problem. The search for adequate application of the rules in judging the PCS is the task of today.
Almost everyone discussed Liza’s gala program where she took off her jacket. When you gave the permission to the “striptease”, did you expect that it would cause such a sensation?
– No, it came as a surprise to us. The program was made by the choreographer of our group Tatiana Prokofieva, and I was the initiator of the “undressing”. I read different things about the effect that it caused. I was surprised by reviews, which were probably caused by female envy. I can say one thing, who wants to – watch and admire.
Do not you think that so much anger, as we see now among figure skating fans, doesn’t exist even in football? For example, when Maxim Maxim Trankov decided to support Zhenya Medvedeva, Alina Zagitova’s fans wished him to “get sick with cancer” in social networks. How to explain this?
– That are raging the dark sides of human life. Not once I saw how good relations turn into some kind of frenzy. The same happens in pairs, single skating, and ice dance. There is nothing good about it. As for the situation with Zagitova and Medvedeva, in my memory this is the third case of such a painful attention. The first – when Ulanov left Rodnina and began to skate with Smirnova. A similar thing happened when Yagudin and Plushenko competed in Salt Lake City. Their rivalry has overgrown with so many rumors, far from reality … And now everything is aggravated by the Internet, instantly spreading information and being a platform for self-expression for someone. As a result, the already tense situation has acquired especially unpleasant shades.
There are coaches who believe that the personal life of their skates is not their business, and there’re those who care whom their students date, what they do at their leisure. What category are you in?
– I take an intermediate position. You can’t rudely interfere with the skaters’ personal life. I believe that a “coach – athlete” is a tandem of independent people, equal partners. And I never welcomed such things as they were in hockey, where players were separated from their families, locked up at the training base. I never thought about keeping track of my guys. Another thing is that they should not be allowed to do stupid things. So, I do not accept alcohol and smoking. So during banquets which I attend, even my former students do not allow themselves to drink or smoke.