Dmitri Aliev: „I
understand that I can shine as well”
Dmitri Aliev (18) won the
bronze medal at the Russian National Championships and has been
selected to compete at the European Figure Skating Championships in
Q: How do you analyze
these Russian Nationals for you?
A: First of all, this
championship was one of the hardest competitions for me, I would even
say that it was the hardest competition of my whole career. It was
the qualification for Europeans and I realized that I have all
chances and that I had to pull myself together morally and get ready
physically. Unfortunately, analyzing my performances I can say that I
am satisfied with the short program, it was a good skate, but I was
not well enough prepared psychologically for the long program. It is
tough when you know you have the chance to get to go to Europeans,
you need to make the National team, then there will be the
qualification for the Olympic Games and it is a very important
season. With all my injuries I knew that it would be hard for me. But
I was able to use this chance and to qualify for Europeans. Then,
closer to the Olympics it will be clear what and how.
Q: How much easier will
it be to compete at the European Championships?
A: I don’t think that it
will be easier. In fact, each competition is such a riddle, anything
could happen. You can be in good shape physically, but not be ready
psychologically and it can be the opposite – you are well prepared
psychologically but you are in bad shape physically. Therefore, you
need to find that line to start from and you need to fight always the
same way at competitions, sharply, consistently and well.
Q: You looked very good
at the test skates, but then you got injured and you saw how Mikhail
Kolyada and Sergei Voronov made the Grand Prix Final and Alexander
Samarin did well, too. Did you have doubts that you can make it at
A: It has been a difficult
time for me and we did not know what kind of decision to take
concerning my injury. It was either being in a cast for a month to
heal the foot, but then, unfortunately, you get out of shape and need
to get back into shape. We decided to skate. Each person probably has
some pain and one day he wakes up and nothing hurts. I had these
moments when my foot was better, then I trained harder. We looked for
the right approach and the right way to prepare, because I wanted to
compete at the senior Grand Prix. I might not have skated the best,
but I got a lot of experience and I enjoyed skating in Japan. When I
travel there, I enjoy what is going on, in the competition and also
off the ice. But the injury, unfortunately … I saw how the others
started the season, how they got better and better and I realized
that Misha (Kolyada) and Seriozha (Voronov) are already at the Grand
Prix Final, they are old hands and I’m just like a grey dot. But I
understand that I can shine as well, that I have difficult elements
and if I am doing them clean then I can compete with these guys.
Q: Please remind us what
exactly your injury was or is.
A: It is still bothering me,
but in these three months I grew used to the pain, so I am working
through the pain and I don’t even notice it in practice anymore. It
is my right ankle, therefore we took out the quad Lutz, because I
couldn’t do it unfortunately, it is too painful. But I am like that
– I still want to do it. We are doing different therapies, treat,
rehabilitate, but at the same time the work, the practices are
continuing, so that there is constantly strain on the foot. It cuts
both ends, in the end it is somewhere in the middle, because it still
didn’t go away. The inflammation is not going away, but I hope that
somehow it will go away eventually.
Q: This season you made
your programs significantly harder. When did you decide about that?
A: We took this decision
already when I at the end of last season started to land the quad
Lutz consistently. I also did the quad Salchow. Now I don’t do it
(the Salchow) unfortunately, because it changes the content and for
now we think about how to make the programs consistent. At the summer
training camp in Latvia we included four quads in the free program
and two quads in the short. In fact, if I was now in the shape that I
was in at the training camp, I would be very happy and I would see
good scores and results.
Q: What do you think your
chances are at the European Championships?
A: To be honest, at this
moment I don’t want to think about any chances, because I am in a
very positive, festive mood before the New Year like probably
everyone and I want to end this year, leave my injury in the old year
and start the new year preparing for the European Championship with
fresh energy, with upswing and courage.
Q: Right now you are the
top skater in your group. How do you deal with that extra
A: (sighs) Now I will answer
quite openly … There was a time when Kostia Menshov and Vladik
Sezganov were skating in the group, but then these guys wrapped up
their careers. I realized that we have a big group, but that there
are less kids that I can try to keep up with at least in practice. In
skating worldwide, the situation is different obviously. At first it
was tough, I even spoke about that with a psychologist, but luckily,
the psychologist said: “You don’t have any problems, you just go
out and enjoy the process of working.” Now I don’t pay attention
to the fact that I am the top skater in the group. We have a strong,
big group that loves to work. You know, I won’t speak for them, but
just for myself. I don’t have great results in this season. Yes,
unfortunately, there is the injury, but I don’t want to blame
everything on that. I think that me and the other guys have their job
to do. And the coach, Evgeni Vladimirovitch (Rukavitsin) is handling
Q: Mikhail Kolyada also
is skating in the Figure Skating Academy. Maybe you are sometimes
training together and how does that help you?
A: You know, those were
interesting practices when Misha and I were able to compete with
other doing jumps in a playful way. For example, that quad Lutz, we
had two tries and we checked who is doing and who is not doing two
out of two. Misha and I get along very well off the ice, we are
friends, we are supporting each other, asking each other how things
are going. These practices are also interesting, because it is the
thrill of competition, there is an extra push, because it is like a
mini competition. That used to happen more often, but now, as Misha
was at the Grand Prix Final and prepared for competitions and I
prepared for other competitions and I had the injury, we didn’t
have these practices. I think it is for me and Misha interesting to
be on the ice together, to feel everything and it is also a kind of
atmosphere for the coaches.
Q: Who is the leader and
the soul of your group?
A: (laughs) I think that’s
me. Obviously, this in our circle, because we have been skating
together in one group for quite long, we all know each other and we
have our special jokes. That means, if I make now a joke, you would
not understand it. We really have a very good, friendly collective, I
think I have been dreaming about such a collective and about training
in such a good group.
Q: How would you react if
another male skater of your level joined the group?
A: That would be
interesting, that’s also competition. But I can say that Anton
Shulepov as well as Makar Ignatov also do quite difficult elements in
practice that sometimes I have to gnaw my elbows.
Q: How does your coach
usually fire you up or calm you down when you get nervous?
A: In fact, that is always
different. As I already said, each competition is a riddle and
anything can go wrong. So for example we got into a fight with him
before the short program. We were there, where they take the
interviews, where the cameras are behind the Kiss & Cry. He took
me there and decided he needs to put me into a flutter and started
attacking me. It was a kind of mini fight to work me up, drive me mad
so that my body would be like a clenched fist, hard like a stone.
Q: What role does Olga
A: Our whole coaching staff
is like my second family and it has been a while like that. We went
through a lot together, they are always on my side, when there are
injuries, when there are highs and lows. They know me like a son
probably and I relate to them as my second parents. Unfortunately, I
don’t get to see my parents, but Olga Germanovna (Glinka) as well
as Evgeni Vladimirovitch (Rukavitsin) and Valentin Nikolaevitch
(Molotov) are taking the role of my family, that is everybody is
giving me something new. Olga Germanovna is a very warm person, she
finds the right approach and she knows what to do when someone wasn’t
well to make him feel better and also when it is better to leave him
Q: What is the best way
for you to relax?
A: That is always different,
but, probably when you realize inside that you are feeling
comfortable, good. That is not just lying around at home. I love
active rest. When I am at home in Ukhta, then I am skiing, I was a
skier after all, or I’m riding the snowmobile. That nature and that
scent … For me the best way to relax is when I feel good inside.
Q: Thank you for the
interview and all the best for the rest of the season.