Mikhail Kolyada: If an athlete has a name, he gets a head start over lesser-known rivals
Translation of Interview with Mikhail Kolyada, published in “UTair” airlines in-flight magazine.
Who was the example for you at the beginning of your career and now?
– I can’t answer the first question because I simply don’t remember. Now my role model is Javier Fernandez.
At what point have you realized that figure skating is not just a routine but a matter of life?
– Recently, 6-7 years ago, when I maybe grown up. I understood that a lot of effort has been made, so I can’t give up. There were all sorts of thoughts: hard, I got tired of it, it’s time to quit …. But something kept me from doing so. Coaches and parents talked with me a lot about this.
How many times have you tried to quit figure skating?
– Many times, in fact. More than three. Grab my things, said goodbye to everyone. Most likely it was some kind of youthful confusion. I wanted to try myself in something new, for example, in football. But then I remembered how much effort has been invested in figure skating. Maybe I felt sorry for parents and coaches who gave me so much.
Last time this happened to me in 13-14 years. It was a difficult period. Then I got a grip on myself, or rather changed a school. I looked at the situation from a different point of view and began to catch up. Because all my peers at the rink stepped forward very far and I was in the lagging. I told myself: that’s not good, it is necessary to correct the situation.
Are you the only one of your first group who remained in sport?
– There were about 15 people, it’s quite a lot. Of the remainder, apart from myself, I can name only Alexandra Stepanova. As for the rest someone does show, someone quitted.
I remember Evgeni Plushenko complained that he’s jealous pair skaters because their morning practices starts two hours later. Was it easy for you to deal with lack of sleep in childhood?
– I’m a morning person so it was easier for me. Of course, I remember trainings at 6.30 am. Thanks to my parents who have found strength to bring their child to trainings every morning (and then also go work). Now I put myself in their shoes and think: what a horror. Such regime is harder for parents than for children.
Many skaters say that they had no childhood, only ice rink and school. What about you?
– I had childhood. Very interesting, eventful with both pleasant and unpleasant. Especially in summer, when I was 6-8 years old. Then the pre-season training started only in August. When I was nine years old, we began to go to the training camps in June, and the freedom was over. And before that it was a full childhood. I visited grandmother. We boys were climbing on the garages, making a slingshot, fighting with sticks. I was falling from the trees. There was a lot of things (Laughs).
Have you been doing your homework at the buffet table in “Jubileenyi” at the Academy of figure skating between practices?
– Recently I have done when I was writing school practice at the University of Lesgaft. However, not at the buffet, but in my locker room, on laps. But still I try to do homework at home, because here are a lot of distractions, and I’m restless person and constantly get distracted.
How old were you when got your first scholarship or prize money for performance in figure skating?
– In 2011 for the Spartakiada of Russian pupils, I got 30 000 rub. (950 USD according to exchange rate in 2011 – ed.). First I shared with the coaches, frankly I don’t remember what I bought for myself.
Speaking of the training process, do you have favorite and least favorite elements?
– Rather pleasant and unpleasant. Unpleasant is loop. Pleasant are lutz and toe.
And how pleasant or frightening is to learn a quadruple lutz?
– At first, really scary. Lots of adrenaline and new sensations. … But just two or three attempts at all becoming commonplace. This is not the first quad I learned, there were toe loop and Salchow. Two or three attempts and I have some understanding how to feel in the air. Of course, Lutz gives incomparably greater load on the knee and back. This is a difficult jump. Few will dare to perform it in the next few years.
What do you love about figure skating and what the most difficult to accept?
– I love it as such, but I can not accept the fact that we are very subjectively judged. If an athlete has a name, he gets a head start over lesser-known rivals. If no big-name skater performs the same set of elements or even a little better, he gets a little lower scores.
How often other coaches tried to entice you from your permanent coach Valentina Chebotareva?
– Repeatedly. But mostly it passed by me. All the blows fell on Valentina Mikhailovna. It started 6-7 years ago, when I began to show decent results. But my parents decided that we would not look on the side, coach is like a second mother for me. Now, the attitude to me is a little calmer. Maybe they got it that I will not leave. Moreover real and honest people don’t do like this.
Fans perceive you today as almost the last hope of Russian single skating. Do you feel such an attitude to yourself?
– (Sighs) Of course, I feel, and sometimes it puts pressure. But still I try just to do my job and move forward. Because if to distract, then I won’t have enough neither emotional not physical forces for achievement of the main goal.
Interview by Alexei Dudin
posted in Mikhail Kolyada’s offical group in VK.