Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov: “We didn’t get our team medal, but everyone knows that we won. The main thing is that for our people we’re Olympic champions.”
Interview with Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov. Abour desire to develop pair skating and learn the quadruple elements. Also, the skaters summed up the results of the season, shared their pleasant impressions of the Olympic Games.
source: championat.com dd. 1st April 2022 by Ekaterina Avdonina
You finished this competitive season at the Channel One Cup. Share your impressions of this event.
Aleksandr Galliamov: We really liked it – we have participated for the second time. The event has a very interesting format. This is a holiday, a show that cleares the air for the entire team.
This season, Russian pairs had a tense competition for the Olympic team event. When did you realize that you were selected?
Anastasia Mishina: We did not know whether we would participate in the team event until the last moment, because the decision was made right before going on the ice: in one day, even less. That is, everyone prepared, and the federation watched and made a decision during the competitions.
It turns out that someone from the federation was present at the training, who assessed the readiness of the pairs?
Anastasia Mishina: In general, at all major competitions there are several members from the federation, coaches: they control, look at athletes’ shape.
Alexei Yagudin expressed the opinion that the team event negates the importance of the individual competitions. Do you agree with this?
Anastasia Mishina: I would not say that, because both team event and individual competitions are quite difficult and serious competitions. And athletes not only from Russia, but also from other countries give their best. I think that this is a full-fledged competitions.
Aleksandr Galliamov: I can add that in the individual competitions everything depends only on you, but in the team event, even if you performed well and you are very happy for your performance, everything can change – your teammates performances are also important. Therefore, there is also a feature here.
Do you think it is necessary to swap individual and team events?
Aleksandr Galliamov: The team event is also very important. This is also an Olympic medal. The team event is used to test the ice, to feel the atmosphere of the Olympic Games, to understand what will happen in the individual competitions. And in terms of preparing for the Olympics … Everyone gives all the best to perform their programs, even in a short period of time.
When did you find out that you would skate two programs in the team event? How did you react?
Aleksandr Galliamov: The federation told us in training just a couple of days before the short program. We did not know who would perform and how many times, no one was told. And when they announced their decision to us, Nastya and I were glad that we had such an honor – to represent our team in the team event.
Did you worry that you won’t have enough strength?
Aleksandr Galliamov: We understood that we would have a long enough break to recover from the team event and set ourselves up in to the individual competitions.
In a free program in a team event, you had an unusual fall on a lift. How did you react to this mistake?
Anastasia Mishina: Falling is an integral part of our sport, and in principle any sport, so nothing terrible happened. Moreover, the fall was absolutely ok, no one was hurt. Got off with small bruises.
Aleksandr Galliamov: Not the toughest one (laughs).
It looked scary…
Aleksandr Galliamov: Yes, there are some falls that look terrible, everyone thinks: “He must be in a lot of pain.” But from a young age, athletes fall and try hard not to focus on pain, get up and continue to skate the program. This is what strong athletes do.
Is it true that the first thing skaters are taught is how to fall correctly?
Aleksandr Galliamov: No, they don’t teach exactly how to fall correctly. It comes from an athlete, some kind of self-preservation instinct. They teach how to jump correctly, and not how to fall correctly, because you still need to stand on the elements, it doesn’t matter if it’s jumps, spins, twists, lifts. They learn how to make an element correctly so that there are no mistakes. In pair skating, it happens that if a partner lifts a girl and she’s in a dangerous and unusual position, then this self-preservation instinct works to avoid falling painfully.
For you, falling from a lift is an not a typical mistake. Can you explain how it happened? Was it a loss of concentration or the early get ups in Beijing?
Anastasia Mishina: Getting up early is hard, and this often happens at competitions, because there are many disciplines, there are four of them, and everyone trains on the same rink, so training starts early in the morning, and competitions sometimes last until eleven. It’s usual, it’s hard, but we have to get used to it, so it’s probably not worth blaming our fall on something.
Aleksandr Galliamov: Nastya and I really had to get up very early. Many athletes get up early on purpose, but the way we got up for the free program was unusual for most skaters. Especially if you look at the free program, how many skaters also fell absolutely unexpectedly from the elements, which it is hard to fall. At all other competitions, athletes did not make such mistakes. And we had to set ourselves up to skate this program and close the gestalt, so that we could cheer for the rest of our team with peace of mind.
Mark Kondratiuk said that after winning the team event, he felt nothing: neither joy nor sadness. And what were your feelings?
Anastasia Mishina: We had a little more time than Mark after the team event, because he started in two days, and we still had ten. It felt like the individual competitions were like the next competitions, so we had time to rejoice after the team event that our team won, and even had a chance to rest. And then we started working again.
How did you spend your free time in Beijing to distract from the competitions?
Aleksandr Galliamov: We had a fairly long gap, which was two weeks, and some athletes went to watch other sports, but Nastya and I did not, so as not to be distracted and not to emotionally burn out. We were sitting in the Olympic village: we could read a book, watch TV shows, play on the computer with the rest of the guys. We had a play area: table tennis, games with virtual reality glasses. We also constantly exchanged badges, which now leaves very pleasant memories of the last Olympics.
How do you like the food in Beijing? Some athletes and journalists complained about its quality.
Aleksandr Galliamov: Yes, the food was quite unusual. Some dishes I tried for the first time. Some were delicious and some were not. But when we came home, immediately ate our favorite dishes. Still, we spent a lot of time at the Games, almost a month, and therefore we missed everything that is in Russia.
Anastasia Mishina: I can say that there was a very good organization. This also applies to nutrition. Our canteen was open 24 hours a day, we could come at any time. For athletes, this is very convenient, because when we left for training at 5 in the morning, we could come in and take something with us.
Nastya, after winning the team event, you gave an interview to BBC, which quickly went viral. How did you react to this? Was such a hype after your phrase surprising?
Anastasia Mishina: A day after this interview, I received a lot of messages, and most of them were positive, with congratulations on a successful performance in the team event, with some jokes, so I was not upset. I was even pleased to get so many congratulations from the fans. There was a very fast English speech, which I did not even have time to hear, since we communicated with the team.
Aleksandr Galliamov: I won’t say that I know English perfectly, but still there is a British accent and an American one, and in most schools they teach exactly the British version, and it’s unusual for us to hear the American one.
Till the last moment there was hope that there would be an awarding ceremony. Were you sad to leave Beijing without a gold medal?
Aleksandr Galliamov: We were presented with an Olympic diploma.
Anastasia Mishina: The fact that we did not receive a medal is, of course, important, but by the end of the Olympic Games it was forgotten a little, and only the fact that we won remained in my head. And that feeling is the most important.
Aleksandr Galliamov: Anyway, everyone knows that we took first place, that we won. The main thing is that for our people we are Olympic champions. It is very nice that all of our [fans] are happy.
Your costumes in team and individual competitions were different. Are the silver ones more lucky for you? Or did you and the coaching staff have some special idea in this regard?
Anastasia Mishina: It was planned. That is, not that we wanted to skate in blue costumes, then we failed a lift and switched to silver ones. No, that’s how we planned it. But it so happened that someone says that our silver costumes are lucky.
Aleksandr Galliamov: Nastya is completely right. We planned to perform in these costumes at earlier competitions as well. Even tried to skate in training at competitions. But when new suits are sewn for us, they need to test them. And we did not try these costumes right away – there were some inconveniences. Therefore, we decided to postpone the premiere for the Olympic Games.
In the individual competitions, you deliver great skates, but took only third place. Was there any disappointment because of this? Were you prepared for such an outcome?
Anastasia Mishina: There was no disappointment, we gave our maximum, and this is the most important thing for an athlete and a coach. We have done everything we have been preparing for. We perfectly understood that we had very strong competitiors and there could be any outcome. Of course, we were upset that it was not a gold medal. Well, let’s work on (laughs).
If you had won an individual competitions at the Olympics, then at a fairly young age you would have collected all the major titles in figure skating. Have you ever thought about it? Do you think it could have affected your motivation?
Aleksandr Galliamov: It’s incredibly difficult even to think about it. In pair skating, it is very difficult to win the Olympic Games from the very first time. You need to gain experience, improve skating, the quality of the elements. In the future, we will improve our skills in order to qualify for the next Olympic Games. What happened in Beijing positively encouraged us. Many said: “Just a bronze”, but for us this is a whole Olympic medal that will help us improve.
Do you have a goal to collect as many titles as possible? Or are you skating for something else?
Anastasia Mishina: If we talk about high goals, then this is the promotion of world figure skating. Promotion of pair skating, because the girls now jumped forward. The first ten girls in Russia, counting juniors, jump quads. And pair skating is a little behind the women’s in development, because it is still far from the quadruple elements. They just started to appear. They were, but then disappeared due to low base value. I think that pair skating should also be promoted.
Before Beijing, it was impractical to put new elements into the programs, but now a new Olympic cycle is beginning. Will you learn a quadruple twist or a quadruple throw?
Aleksandr Galliamov: So that pair skating does not stand still, many athletes will improve and learn new elements, this is logical. At the same time, pair skating should become more spectacular. We ourselves do not want to stand still: we slowly began to learn something new after the Olympics. To please the fans and to make the programs more complicated.
Do you think solo quadruple jumps will ever come to pair skating?
Aleksandr Galliamov: In the near future… Rather, just in the future, but not in the near future. Because in pair skating, the emphasis is not only on jumps, but also on the program as a whole, which should consist of other elements. It is necessary not only to make elements, but also to preserve the concept of the program.
The first Games have passed for you, the dream has come true. What are your next career goals?
Anastasia Mishina: First of all, to learn something new. That is, not to skate everything the same, but still learn some kind of complex element. So far, we can’t say that we will do it, but as a goal, we need to learn some kind of quad: twist, throw, whatever will turn out. This is the goal for the first four years.
This year you wowed the public with a gala program about a rock star and his fan. Who choreographed it and whose idea was it?
Aleksandr Galliamov: It was a choreographer we had worked with before. This was our second program. The first is Master and Margarita, with which we won both the Junior Grand Prix final and the Junior World Championships, and took third place in the Grand Prix final. This is Sergei Alexandrovich Komolov. This is a wonderful choreographer who already knows us. Everything is calculated in his head in advance: how to work on the choreography, what emotion to show, so that the program becomes really interesting and the fans like it. He is a master of his craft, we are very grateful to him. It’s amazing to work with him. We are glad that we got such an incendiary cheerful program.
Is it convenient to travel with a guitar to competitions? Nathan Chen also does not part with a musical instrument, but he mostly plays it. Sasha, do you play a guitar?
Aleksandr Galliamov: At first it was inconvenient to transport it – after all, it is a large item. And then I somehow got used to it, and even everyone else from the federation began to say: “So, if Sasha has a guitar with him, then everything will be fine, a great atmosphere is provided.” But it is not possible to play due to the fact that this is an electric guitar and an additional acoustic system is needed for it.
And now a small blitz poll. Name three things that you always take to competitions with you.
Anastasia Mishina: For a skater, the most important things are skates and costumes; girls can not do without cosmetics and hairspray.
Aleksandr Galliamov: Skates, costumes – yes, but to fly to the competitions, you need a passport. It happens that someone arrives at the station, at the airport and forgets his passport. And so … Personally, I can take a large suitcase, or I can take little one. I don’t have any required items. I can take a laptop to play. It was very useful at the Olympics.
What superpower would you choose for yourself?
Anastasia Mishina: Mind reading.
Aleksandr Galliamov: The ability to fly. When I was still in single skating, I really liked to jump and thought that it would be cool to fly all the time.
If not figure skating, then what sport?
Anastasia Mishina: I don’t know how well I could do it, but I like snowboarding, ski jumping. It looks very impressive (smiles).
Aleksandr Galliamov: Many people know that I love football very much. I often play. When I was six years old, my parents and I came to the south, there was a football field. I understood absolutely nothing – I just took the ball, ran straight ahead to the goal, not paying attention to what was happening around me. Now I also play, for example, before warm-ups.
Related topics: Anastasiia Mishina Alexander Galliamov
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