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TAHbKA
08-27-2012, 10:04 AM
Alexei Mishin: The high temperature in my group is hard to keep up with (http://www.sport-express.ru/newspaper/2012-08-27/15_1/?view=page) Vaitsekhovskaya's interview with Mishin for sport-express.ru



During the unofficial test skates which took place last week in Novogorsk I hear one of the coaches saying: the trouble of Russian men single skating is the fact not many skaters understand why are they in the sport, what are their goals and how to get there. `All and all there are just two such skaters in Russia now - Pluschenko and Gachinski', summed he up.

Those two were the most spoken about in Novogorsk. The Turino Olympic Champion Evgeni Pluschenko was present on the rink, but didn't participate test skates, just like another Mishin's pupil - Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

Mishin was not eager to give an interview: `Am not ready to answer questions about my skaters. It's too early yet'

EV: How do you motivate your skaters? Do they come hungry for success or is it a `sport education'?
AM: Indeed all those skating in my group are raised with a certain goal ahead of them. It's a hard to answer question without being mean to the others.

EV: And still, what is the secret behind your skaters being more ready to compete than the others?
EM: I try to explain them from the very beginning what do they do and what is it for. When I just started choreographing programmes myself - in Yuri Ovchinnikov's time (the Europeans 1975 bronze medalist) we decided to use Bach's music. We went to the musical museum so Yuri would get a better idea how to express himself. I did the same when choreographed Pluschenko's `Nizhinski' programme. We went to the museum, saw the costumes which Leon Bakst made for Nizhinski, we read a book his sister wrote about him. So Evgeni found out who was Diagilev, what were Russian seasons in Paris.... we integrated other musical pieces which we learned equally well: parts of `Favn's Afternoon Rest', `Scheherezada'....
With Arthur Gachinski we work the same way for the `Highlander' programme. We aim not only to perform all the edges and brackets, but so he can project, say, the mountain air.

EV: That's the artistic side. What about the elements?
AM: That is easier: for a while now in our group the mood is such that those who are not set to work hard for high goals drop out. The new skaters join the group all the time, but there are those who leave as well. Some switch coaches, some retire from the skating because they can't deal

EV: Can't deal with what?
AM: I'd call it a high degree of creativeness that became part of the group. It's not easy to be in such an atmosphere all the time. People don't always realize why do they feel uncomfortable. They start to project their negative feelings on the others, try to find the reason in lack of attention or their rivals. And yet it's not about who Gachinski or Pluschenko intimidate. It either makes you stronger or burns you. Actually I don't really want to talk about it. Sounds as if I were praising myself. It's too early anyway. But for instance, I reckon Gachinski's programmes are successful this year, but in order to bring them to the high level and put everything together - sport and art, jumps and spins a lot of work is needed. So to say don't praise yourself while not in the battle yet.

EV: Your last season ended not so well for you - I mean Gachinski's skate in the Worlds in Nice, where he became 18th. Did it take you long to get him out from his shell after?
AM: I'd say we are still in the process

EV: Have you spoken to him about the situation, tried to find the reasons, explain it to your pupil?
AM: Let it remain my coaching secret. Not because it's something to hide, just it's a kind of an information that should not become public.

EV: Thank you for the answer. What do you expect from this season? Not from your pupils, but from male single skating in general
AM: Let me rephrase. I was once asked : you've been coaching for so many years, how do you remain on such a high level? Indeed I have been coaching for almost 45 years now. And I always enjoyed the process. I'd like to stress it's the most important thing. To work and enjoy that work. If a result of that work is a medal - great. This is how I live now - not chasing the medals my skaters can get on this or that competition, but my own joy of working with them.
Perhaps some might consider such an answer too general, but it's the truth. Of course I could go on and on discussing what do I expect Gachinski or other skaters to do.

EV: A year ago when talking about Pluschenko's comeback you said you can't artificially remove the old skaters, they should be `eaten alive' by the young ones. This year the Vancouver Olympic Champion Evan Lysacek plans to come back. Is it a good thing for the figure skating?
AM: Sure

EV: Do you believe in his comeback?
AM: Not only believe, I know that he skates and skates well. You see.... When in 1994 Katarina Witt came back it was a bit wasted for a twice Olympic Champion, but everyone were very interested to see her skate. Such comebacks were a sensation back then - it didn't happen that such a skater retired and came back. In my point of view it's like an artificial kidney or an open heart surgery in medicine. Or a flight to the space.... When such great athletes, who won everything there was to win come back to compete they are pushing the limits of human ability. So do their achievements. How can you remain indifferent, say, to Yuri Vlasov? Or Valerii Brumel, who came back to high jumping after a terrible leg injury?
As a professional I don't care which spins will Lysacek perform, whether he'll land a quad or a 3A. The fact of his comeback is what interests me.

EV: After the worlds in Nice the single skating rules were slightly changed. What do you think about it?
AM: Am not completely satisfied with the old rules nor with the new. I don't want to elucidate, I treat it in a `got married, stick together now' way

EV: Nevertheless, if you were offered to change the men single skating rules what would you begin with?
AM: I can't really answer that. I'd make several changes. Now, for example, the skaters are asked to perform `blocks' of complicated turns. And perform them fast. Yet the speed would mean the edges won't be deep. In my point of view the edges should be deep in figure skating - in entering and dismounting, in gliding. It is even decided by the edge shape - not flat. Yet in our case the speed demand dismisses the quality.
There are many other such contradictions. For example, my skaters were among the not many who can perform a unique jumping combination: 3A/change/3A. Under the current rule such a combination would cost less than two separate 3A since it would be multiplied by 0.8, while it should have been multiplied by 1.5 really.

EV: Does anything improve thanks to the new rules?
AM: Sure. The steps became more complicated, the spins longer. We just have to get rid of the really ugly positions, that are no given positive marks.

EV: We once discussed it. In particular the essence of the spin being the speed and not traveling around, rather than the edges and positions changes
AM: Well take Stephane Lambiel: while the rules allowed him to spin the way he learned he was the king of the spins. Once he started following the rules he was no longer unique.

EV: Various choreographers worked with your skaters this year: Lambiel, Camerlengo, Myamoto....
AM: I think the importance of that is exaggerated. Last year everyone were saying it was thanks to working with Lambiel my skaters improved so much. They worked with Lambiel for just five days. He spent the same amount of time with the guys this year. As far as I'm concerned you can't talk about one side's investment: the choreographers gain no less from working with the skaters than the skaters from working with them.

EV: Myamoto was interviewed by the Japanese media a couple of days ago and said he was amazed by the freedom you as a coach gave him. Does it ever happen a choreographer starts working and suddenly you realize his point of view is the opposite of how you see figure skating?
AM: Yes. It happened this year - we invited someone to do one of the programmes, but we will not skate it. Of course I will not name the names, but believe me it was a great professional. It just didn't work.

EV: Have you decided already which competitions except for the Grand Prix will your skaters participate?
AM: I can't answer that yet

Ziggy
08-27-2012, 10:21 AM
Thanks for the translation! :respec:


EV: Nevertheless, if you were offered to change the men single skating rules what would you begin with?
AM: I can't really answer that. I'd make several changes. Now, for example, the skaters are asked to perform `blocks' of complicated turns. And perform them fast. Yet the speed would mean the edges won't be deep. In my point of view the edges should be deep in figure skating - in entering and dismounting, in gliding. It is even decided by the edge shape - not flat. Yet in our case the speed demand dismisses the quality.

This is a very good point. I definitely wouldn't like to see the return to the "glorious days" of everybody doing three-turns and toe-steps as their "step sequences". But today difficulty trumps quality. It would be incredible to be able to have both.

I think that the technical panel should not count the turns in the step sequences if they aren't performed on clear and pronounced edges.


There are many other such contradictions. For example, my skaters were among the not many who can perform a unique jumping combination: 3A/change/3A. Under the current rule such a combination would cost less than two separate 3A since it would be multiplied by 0.8, while it should have been multiplied by 1.5 really.

Another good point.

Ideally you'd have some dynamic factoring system. The harder the first jump and the harder the second jump in combination/sequence the higher the bonus. Or something like that.


AM: Yes. It happened this year - we invited someone to do one of the programmes, but we will not skate it. Of course I will not name the names, but believe me it was a great professional. It just didn't work.

Yep, sometimes it just doesn't work. It just isn't the right person even if they are a very good coach/choreographer. I wonder who that was. :watch:

TAHbKA
08-27-2012, 11:36 AM
Dunno, I totally miss the point of the interview. Seems that Vaitsekhovskaya was trying to get at least something that would make sense from Mishin and he kept answering the questions he was not asked mainly ignoring the questions he was....

As for the choreography and not using it - that happens every year in his group - at the beginning of the season the programmes are not horrendous and kind of allright, as the season progresses the programmes become the usual variations on the theme of Mishin.

hanca
08-27-2012, 04:03 PM
I think he might be talking about Liza's programs. She had two sets of program made by two different choreographers and there was a discussion that she wasn't sure yet which ones she will use. I suppose that is the gentle way to let the choreographer know that they don't like their job.

The point of interview ...it felt like if he didn't actually want to be interviewed. I heard that Liza is injured, so he may have tried to avoid the interview so that he doesn't have to answer the questions about her injury.

reut
08-27-2012, 05:26 PM
The point of interview ...it felt like if he didn't actually want to be interviewed.

Yeah, I had the same feeling. Well, she starts this with "Mishin was not eager to give an interview".

On the other hand it sounded much more "normal", polite, civilized than he usually is in his interviews. :)

Ziggy
08-27-2012, 06:03 PM
I think he might be talking about Liza's programs. She had two sets of program made by two different choreographers and there was a discussion that she wasn't sure yet which ones she will use. I suppose that is the gentle way to let the choreographer know that they don't like their job.

The point of interview ...it felt like if he didn't actually want to be interviewed. I heard that Liza is injured, so he may have tried to avoid the interview so that he doesn't have to answer the questions about her injury.

Plushenko was given two (or three?) sets of programs too, wasn't he?

reut
08-27-2012, 06:03 PM
AM: Well take Stephane Lambiel: while the rules allowed him to spin the way he learned he was the king of the spins. Once he started following the rules he was no longer unique.

Well, he is wrong. Lambiel's spins were unique (meaning: "being without a like or equal") both before and after COP. He has some combination spins nobody ever could copy.

Actually it is a rather common opinion I read in many places and heard from different people, that "one of the biggest losses from the introduction of the new system were Lambiel's spins". I never focused on his spins especially (neither did he according to what he said), but I have few favourites in his programs of last years, which are amazingly, exquisitely beautiful (like this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oX2qt_fXLc#t=221s) оr this one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwnqYkMRSyg#t=233s), for example). True, that I mostly followed his skating after COP, but I did watch his earlier performances. And I truly didn't notice some huge difference. Can someone who agrees with this statement bring example of his spins of 6.0 era which were totally ruined by the new system?

I heard the opinion that change of edge slowed him down (though for me they still look super fast), but in season 2009/10, for example, he could get level 4 without changing edges. I do know (and he mentioned it too) that with the very current rules spins look too similar, because there are not too many options to improvise. But still, to claim that since 2005 we "lost" the beauty of his spins is too much, I think.


AM: I think the importance of that is exaggerated. Last year everyone were saying it was thanks to working with Lambiel my skaters improved so much.

Funny enough Mishin was the first one to mention Lambiel's work with his students and trying to gain as much as possible from this "PR-action".

caseyedwards
08-27-2012, 06:28 PM
It would be good if certain difficult combinations got more value. Because a quad triple and triple all get the same base points as a quad and triple triple would. GOE goes up with higher point values I think but that does not encourage skaters so much.

To avoid being 18th in the world again Gachinski does have to work on his jumps again. Falling and doubling on all quad attempts in Nice was a big problem. Imagine him going to London and doing worse? If it is not Plushenko it will probably be him and it's a good thing his 3A tends to be consistent because he might have not even made the LP in Nice if there hadn't been a 3A.

hanca
08-27-2012, 06:38 PM
It would be good if certain difficult combinations got more value. Because a quad triple and triple all get the same base points as a quad and triple triple would. GOE goes up with higher point values I think but that does not encourage skaters so much.

To avoid being 18th in the world again Gachinski does have to work on his jumps again. Falling and doubling on all quad attempts in Nice was a big problem. Imagine him going to London and doing worse? If it is not Plushenko it will probably be him and it's a good thing his 3A tends to be consistent because he might have not even made the LP in Nice if there hadn't been a 3A.

I think the situation with Gachinsky at worlds were just due to nerves and pressure from the high expectations. I don't think jumps as such are an issue because he did not have jump problems at Europeans (just two months before the Worlds). To be fair, a lot of elite skaters have at least one competition in their career where they place very low. I remember seeing Carolina Kostner, Tomas Verner, Savchenko-Szolkovy, Kiira Korpi, Alisa Czisny...

peibeck
08-27-2012, 07:43 PM
Mishin could run for office they way he carefully avoided answering some of those questions. :lol:

I love hearing that he still loves coming and working with his skaters after 40+ years though.

caseyedwards
08-27-2012, 08:13 PM
I think the situation with Gachinsky at worlds were just due to nerves and pressure from the high expectations. I don't think jumps as such are an issue because he did not have jump problems at Europeans (just two months before the Worlds). To be fair, a lot of elite skaters have at least one competition in their career where they place very low. I remember seeing Carolina Kostner, Tomas Verner, Savchenko-Szolkovy, Kiira Korpi, Alisa Czisny...

If he goes to worlds in London any pressure would likely to be tremendously greater than in it was in 2012 in Nice. Europeans 2012 was the exception to the rule in that season when it came to doing quads. He fell on almost all of them in every competition except Euros. If it is a technical problem it is less damaging than a controlling nerves problem.

orbitz
08-27-2012, 10:33 PM
Well, he is wrong. Lambiel's spins were unique (meaning: "being without a like or equal") both before and after COP. He has some combination spins nobody ever could copy.


Which combination spins were that? Everyone was doing the same/ similar pancake type of spin as Lambiel under the new IJS. Sometimes Stephane's spins were faster or he hit prettier position in the back inside sitspin than others, but overall I didn't think Lambiel's spins were that special anymore. Stephane did include the headless backspin in his combo, but it always travelled so much that I didn't think it added anything.

reut
08-27-2012, 10:46 PM
Which combination spins were that? Everyone was doing the same/ similar pancake type of spin as Lambiel under the new IJS. Sometimes Stephane's spins were faster or he hit prettier position in the back inside sitspin than others, but overall I didn't think Lambiel's spins were that special anymore. Stephane did include the headless backspin in his combo, but it always travelled so much that I didn't think it added anything.

Check the examples I gave and bring examples of someone else doing these exact spins. Not same type in general, but, yes, same "prettier position".

Also, Mishin's statement had two parts, the first one is that some time ago they were unique. So, once again, if you say "were not special anymore", what "more special" Lambiel did before 2005? People just didn't invest that much in spins in general while Lambiel did? Well, then it only proves that COP is better. But once again, Mishin says: "While the rules allowed him to spin the way he learned he was the king of the spins. Once he started following the rules he was no longer unique." And I don't see where exactly he stopped being unique and what exactly the new system ruined.

yaya124
08-28-2012, 09:04 AM
Check the examples I gave and bring examples of someone else doing these exact spins. Not same type in general, but, yes, same "prettier position".

Also, Mishin's statement had two parts, the first one is that some time ago they were unique. So, once again, if you say "were not special anymore", what "more special" Lambiel did before 2005? People just didn't invest that much in spins in general while Lambiel did? Well, then it only proves that COP is better. But once again, Mishin says: "While the rules allowed him to spin the way he learned he was the king of the spins. Once he started following the rules he was no longer unique." And I don't see where exactly he stopped being unique and what exactly the new system ruined.

Just guessing, probably Mishin means when the rules does not specify in great detail how you can earn points out of different positions, Lambiel's spin was based on his own instinct and creativity. After the rules start to specify things, everybody starts to make the spins like Lambiel did (not necessarily as beautiful as Lambiel's), and probably Lambiel also needed to adjust his spin in turns and positions a little bit. Since a lot of skaters do the similar spins now, the unique feeling of Lambiel's spins disappears. OK nevertheless, Lambiel is still the king of spins.

senorita
08-29-2012, 01:04 AM
Plushenko was given two (or three?) sets of programs too, wasn't he?

No, just Camerlengo sp and Miyamoto Lp.

I m pretty sure Mishin speaks about Liza's set of programs with Dickson (thats no secret) and I m not sure about Arthur's sp. His Lp is Dickson's unless he changed it.