Interview Alexei Mishin
Russian Nationals 2013
Q: How do you evaluate the performance of your students at Russian Nationals?
A: I am very happy that I together with my team, my wife Tatiana, Oleg Tataurov, Svetlana Veretennikova, choreographer Tania Radionova, we brought to Russian Nationals eight athletes. All of them showed their abilities and their potential. This makes me really happy. The second thing that pleased me was how Zhenia Plushenko mastered his first competition of the season. Not everything was the way we would have liked it to be, but considering the difficult situation and the back injury, I think the result he showed should be seen positively. Not less I am happy with Lisa Tuktamysheva who, in spite of a difficult time of life for her, came out as a fighter. She fell sick before the free skating but she showed a result that allowed her to become Russian Champion. If I have to give my overall impression of the championship, (I want to say that) all media pointed out that Zhenia is now a ten-time National Champion. This is a first in history (of Russian Figure Skating). There are people that open the door into the unkown, for example Juri Vlassov, a weight lifter, became the first to lift 500 kilogram. The German athlete Armin Hary was the first to run the 100 metres in ten seconds. Bob Beamon jumped 8.90 meters. So, Zhenia wants to compete in his fourth Olympic Games. There are no other ten-time National Champions in Russian Figure Skating either.
There are some coaches who make a lot of noise and wave around, but I am not one of them. I am working quietly. There is talk about competition, but I don't compete with anybody, because I am an unique coach. Not just because I invented a lot of things that many coaches are copying now. They copy my exercises. I thought of these rotations (imitating rotations on the ice), even back in 1973 when I wrote my dissertation. What I started with Urmanov, Jagudin, all this was based on the concept of the biomechanical execution of jumps that I thought of. I don't feel jealousy towards other coaches when the achieve high results, because all my skaters have been raised by me. I don't jump on a running train. All the kids that you've seen (at Nationals), Alexander Petrov for example, who was ranked 8th in the free skating, I train personally. I don't know many coaches who would have taken ten, eleven year old Plushenko and coach him for 18, 19 years. The same was with Jagudin, Urmanov, Gachinski. With Lisa Tuktamysheva we have been working now for seven years, we had to teach her and her coach.
Q: Lisa has shown a very strong character this season by performing well in spite of all difficulties. How did she grow up in this sense?
A: I agree completely with you and I have nothing to answer because your question contains the answer. For example, last year she missed two elements in the short program, also in the Grand Prix Final, but now she is maturing.
Q: How can Zhenia Plushenko each time pull himself together and perform the way he does in spite of injury problems?
A: It is also my credit that Zhenia skates well and correctly executes the jumps, because I taught him the right technique. If his technique wouldn't have been right, he could not have returned. Those, who don't have the right technique need to pull everything together in order to perform wella and then they leave. But it is not my credit that Zhenia is able to pull himself together so heroically, this is thanks to his mother and father who gave him this talent of a fighter.
Q: What about Artur Gachinski?
A: Artur is fighting to sort out his head and he still can't do it. To me came Alla Kapranova, the choreographer. and said I have watched all the skaters and the only one who can compete with the Japanese is Artur Gachinski, if he lands his jumps. All the others... and Alexei Urmanov gave the same opinion. Artur Gachinski skated poorly, but he still has this class. You know, there are pedigree dogs and mongrels. The mongrels ran around and yap, but the Great Dane is walking by and you can see that he is a pedigree dog. But yes, you need to do your jumps.
Q: How do you evaluate world figure skating right now?
A: I look at the development of world figure skating in the following way: Each process in nature is fluctuating. We remember for example when there was the great school of British ice dance, there were Towler/Ford and others, we remember the Austrians (Emmerich) Danzer and (Wolfgang) Schwarz, then we remember Peggy Fleming. At each point of the development of world figure skating one category dominated and was the face of figure skating. When there were Belusova/ Protopopov, they probably were the moral leaders of figure skating. Then there was Browning, Torvill/Dean and now men's singles is the leader in world figure skating, the star cluster. Now the Japanese men are leading, but to say this will last forever, is not right, because I think the Chinese skaters can come up and become leaders. I think there are a lot of good kids in Russia as well. I appreciate the input of the Japanese men and I have high respect for them. As for the Japanese girls I don't see anything fearsome in them now.
Q: Thank you very much for the interview.