Mikhail Kolyada: “Until the end of the Olympics, for 40 days I never had two negative covid tests.”
Interview with Mikhail Kolyada. About the past season, reasons that prevented him from performing at the main events, plans for the future, participation in the show, cooperation with Alexei Mishin and the support of fans.
source: fsrussia.ru dd. 14th June by Tatjana Flade and Olga Ermolina
The beginning of last season was successful for the silver medalist of the 2018 Olympic Games in team event, medalist of the World and European championships, Mikhail Kolyada. A student of Alexei Mishin successfully started at the stages of the Grand Prix,qualified for Final, which, alas, did not take place in the end. However, after the Russian Nationals, the skater had to miss the European Championships due to an injury and, due to covid, was unable to compete at the Beijing Olympics. Therefore, the preparation and performances at the Channel One Cup, which took place at the same time as the World Championships, where Russian skaters were not allowed, were very important for the athlete.
What was the main shock of the past season for you?
Mikhail Kolyada: Difficult question. Every time it was announced that we would not be able to go to the Grand Prix Final or participate in the World Championships, of course, it was a shame, because all the athletes are preparing, reaching their peak of shape, striving to show their maximum at the main events of the season. And if, for reasons beyond our control, there are situations that were this season, we have to look for an alternative. By the way, about the Channel One Cup, it’s great that it was held. It so happened that I had not performed since December. After a rather long break it was very important for me to go to the Channel One Cup to feel what it was like to perform in public.
As for shocks, I couldn’t go to the European Championships because I got injured in training. Missed the Olympics due to COVID. Of course, it’s a shame. But on the other hand, life does not end there. You still need to move on.
Do you think you had a chance to compete at the Olympics?
Mikhail Kolyada: If not for covid, it would be a completely different picture. Until the end of the Olympics, I never had two negative tests. And I had so many tests! It would seem that I have recovered, the symptoms disappeared, I began to feel the smells slowly, but I got positive test again. I retake – negative. I called Aleksei Nikolaevich, he says that two negative results are needed. I go to had another test and again positive.
For 40 days I had positive tests, although I took them in different laboratories, on different equipment, and still …
Even if I flew to Beijing, this would not guarantee my participation in the Games. Surely, the tests would be positive, because, as it turned out, China has more accurate and sensitive equipment. Well, if they quarantined me, that would be even worse. Then I wouldn’t have been able to perform at the Channel One Cup.
After the illness, I didn’t skate for almost a month, I felt weak for a long time. It was very difficult to skate at the Channel One Cup. Even harder than at the first competitions of the season. Physical strength has suffered greatly. In Saransk, I went on the ice and everything seemed to be from scratch. And in Beijing, I would have to perform at the main event of the four years, and I understood that in any case, after an illness, it was unrealistic to prepare in a short time and skate on maximum.
I didn’t watch the Olympics. I couldn’t watch TV. It was hard: they are there, I am here. Of course, I understood that I could not change the situation, but still …
As soon as the condition returned to normal after covid, you continued to prepare.
Mikhail Kolyada: Because it was important for me to perform at the end of the season. It is clear that we were preparing for the World Championships, because we did not yet know that the Russians would not be allowed. I understood that I needed to catch up. I saw the goal and went to it. When there is a goal, a plan, a specific date of competitions, everything is much simpler, you get involved in work faster.
Suppose they say abstractly, you need to skate something in August, and nothing good will come of it in the end. But when I know for sure, for example, on August 15 there will be an event, I will be ready.
This is how it works everywhere. Accountants submit a quarterly report at a certain time. This is for an example. And athletes all the more need to understand when there will be competitions in order to set themselves up, distribute forces in order to reach their peak shape. I can’t say for others, but it’s easier for me to prepare when everything is planned in advance.
Did you have any doubts about your future career?
Mikhail Kolyada: I thought, as long as health allows and I have desire and motivation, I need to skate, because I will always have time to become a coach, and I need to use what I have now. I have potential and I want to realize it. I believe that I have not reached my maximum.
It’s just that over the years I began to look at competitions, preparing for them, and training differently. Not like when I was 15. And the coaches are very supportive. Federation. Alexander Gorshkov and Alexander Kogan called and said: “Everything will work out, we believe in you, and if you have questions, call us right away.”
The only thing that bothered me a little was the phrase of Alexei Mishin, who repeated in every interview that our cooperation was designed for two years. Perhaps I took his words too literally. At the end of the season, we talked, discussed everything. And I threw this “thing” out of my head.
Were you happy when you talked to Mishin?
Mikhail Kolyada: Of course. What is there to be sad about. It’s good for everyone. (Laughs).
At the Channel One Cup, at the beginning of the short and free program, you jumped a triple lutz. Surely you are considering a quad?
Mikhail Kolyada: Yes. But we won’t be skating the Raven for sure. I will say this: there are plans for a quadruple lutz.
The upcoming season (so far without international events) gives an opportunity to experiment. What do you think?
Mikhail Kolyada: All questions to Alexei Nikolaevich. He decides what we do and what we don’t do. But I agree, in the new season you can try new things. It’s not just possible, but even necessary.
Continuing the theme of the new. Usually women who want to change their lives get a new haircut. Is your new hair color a same thing?
Mikhail Kolyada: No. You are digging too deep. Everything is easier. I wanted to try and I did. This means nothing. I was on vacation and got my hair done. When I was ill with covid I saw an advertisement on the Internet – choose your hair color. I chose an ash blonde, it looked good. And when we went on vacation, we decided: when, if not now? I like it, I’m happy with the result.
We thought, a new image for a new program.
Mikhail Kolyada: I definitely don’t have such thing. I won’t grow a mustache to skate Masquerade. (Laughs).
Have you started working on new programs? Do you want to change both or keep The Nutcracker?
Mikhail Kolyada: Alexei Nikolaevich thinks. But knowing him, perhaps we will create new programs. We started to work on the free program with Ilia Averbukh. I like th music. Both images and interesting music are important for me, which would give a room for creativity.
In general, Ilia is very interesting to work with. Like I said, I like his approach. Ilia does not offer ready-made, does not insist on the obligatory repetition, but goes from what I can. Like decorating the Christmas tree. I can offer some things, and he will say: “Cool, we take it.” It’s such a collaborative creative process.
But in terms of ideas, Ilia is a brilliant person. He can come up with a seemingly small detail that will become a memorable feature of the program. Even in costumes. Like one epaulette in The Nutcracker. He can come up with a story with a sequel that would touch, tell it on the ice – this, of course, is talent and experience. Ilia has been creating programs for the Ice Age for so many years.
More about experiments. What do you think about Ilia Malinin’s quadruple axel? Is it possible to say that other skaters will also do this jump, as it was with quads in women’s single skating?
Mikhail Kolyada: Time will tell. It depends not only on athlete’s abilities. There are many factors that must come into play here. And initially, the triple axel should be high, with good technique and fully rotated. We’ll see.
You perform in shows a lot. Can they compensate at least partially for the lack of competitive practice?
Mikhail Kolyada: This season I actually had a few events, and participation in the show is a good chance to perform in public. After the end of the season, I participated in 6 shows of Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze, in three shows of Zhenya Plushenko, one by Ilia Averbukh and another “In Love with Figure Skating”. Alexei Nikolaevich said it would be useful. And I myself have never been against performances in the show.
Of course, shows are not competitions. But they make you feel the adrenaline, though not as strong as at the competitions, but still during the performances there is an exchange of energy with the audience. In addition, the atmosphere at the show is different. I would say complicated. Because you have to perform on rinks of different sizes, when spectators sit right next to the ice, there are no boards, with dimmed lights … You need to get used to this, try it in practice. And if in the new season the sizes of competitive rinks will be different, then you also need to be prepared for this. That is, the show allows you to try many different options. And for me it’s kind of a workout. I see the show as a kind of training process.
What do you remember most about the show?
Mikhail Kolyada: Crazy audience support. In every town. From Minsk to Tashkent. Full arenas. People met you, asked for autographs, gave a standing ovation! And this crazy energy gave so much strength, although it seemed that at the end of the season everyone was already tired. But every time going on the ice and giving pleasure to the public – it’s great!
You have a training camp in Kislovodsk now, then Sochi?
Mikhail Kolyada: Yes, from June 17 we will go to Sochi. Alexei Nikolaevich does not like to sit in St. Petersburg for a long time.
At the training camp in Kislovodsk Kirill Aleshin, started working in your group for the first time as a permanent skating coach. You always said it was important to you.
Mikhail Kolyada: I’m really interested in gliding, especially with professionals. True, now in Kislovodsk I was breaking into new boots, and so far it was hard to do something like that.
Before the show, when we have general training, I always try to peep some things from the dancers – Nikita (Katsalapov ), Vanya Bukin suggested some nuances to me. I try to take something from everywhere. And everyone will benefit that we have a permanent skating specialist Kirill Aleshin.
What can you say about the mood for the new season?
Mikhail Kolyada: Fighting mood. We already had experience in the pandemic season, when he mainly had competitions in Russia, and I remember that I performed only at a few international ones – Minsk and at the end of the season at the World Championships.
In the upcoming season, the situation with participation in international events is still in question. But our federation has already announced the Russian Grand Prix series. Well done for trying. I’m glad that there will be an assigment, because when all the top skaters compete at one stage and there’s no one at the other, it’s not interesting. Since there will be competitions – it’s already good!
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