Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Monko `Emotions get on the way of the elements' for sport-express.ru The 2011 junior world champions Monko/Khaliavin are the only Russian ice dancers who participate the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf. They had a good start of the season winning the trophy in Perm, and came to Oberstdorf as a medal contenders. EV: Right after the first test skates many mentioned how successful your new programmes are. Do you feel it? KM: Yes, When the programme is good you have fun skating it. You do the elements and enjoy it. I don't even get tired - every move is easy and flowing. EV: The finnstep is not the most obvious dance. Do you have any memories related? KM: When it became one of the compulsory we were still skating in Riabinina's group. Zlobina/Sitnikov were skating in the same group and i remember how they were learning the finnstep. It's harsh. So many jumps and various things that can go wrong. When we started learning it things didn't go easy. I was quite upset not being able to do the first twizzle. It was so uncomfortable doing it. But then we got used to it and understood it's not that bad. Now I like the finnstep better than the polka. It's more fun EV: Last season your coach Alexandr Zhulin was quite taken aback by your unsuccessful debut under him in Oberstdorf and even assumed that was the reason the whole season went wrong. What happened? KM: I don't know. I think Kirill and I just didn't get over the season before that. Kirill was ill a lot we didn't participate any competitions, I was out of shape, so when we first switched to Zhulin's group it was hard I was afraid to participate the test skates, nevermind the competitions. Now it's completely different. We participated the Russian Cup in Perm, checked out the programmes, ourselves, so guess we put the last season behind us. EV: When you started working with Zhulin did you get a feeling you are working hard, put so much effort yet nothing works? MK: Yes. The coach said so himself. Mentally we were stuck in some mythical ceiling and we were not able to get through it. In a way that what it was. EV: When had it changed? KM: At the end of the season - after the team trophy. It was a coinsidence we participated it. There were so many known skaters and Kirill and I had a feeling we had to do eveyrthing we could to show what we are capable of. Even if we can't really EV: So you did the impossible MK: It was the pressure really. I figured a while ago we work better under the pressure. When we first learned we would be the ones to go to Japan it was scary, I even tried to resist - I didn't really want to go and make a joke out of ourselves. EV: You competed with Ilinyh/KAtsalapov on the junior level, but in 2011 Elena and Nikita switched to the seniors while you remained in juniors. Do you regret it? KM: No, I think it was the right decision. There were enough great teams on the senior level back then and we realized we will not be able to fight for the top spots. Staying in juniors we knew our goals are high and we were able to fulfill them - we won the junior worlds that season EV: Did you envy Ilinyh? KM: No. I never envy anyone really. Someone skates well? Kudos to them! When Lena and Nikita placed high in the Nationals I approached and congradulated them. So the only thing left to do is just to work work and work. Just as I do now. EV: What is the main thing in your current FD? KM: The small things and the emotions that we work so much on with our choreographer Sergey Petukhov. Our FD is build from several small parts, which give the programme it's character. EV: I.e. working on those parts is harder than wokring on the elements? KM: Not harder, but is hard indeed. IT's like skating the parts of the programme. On one hand it the parst work fine, on the other once you try skating the whole programme the mistakes start to pop out. If you don't work on the emotions every day it disappears as fast as when not working on the technical elements. In other words you can't skate without the `face' and the emotions during the practices and then just go out there at the competition and do it. Once you start putting too much energy into the emotions the technique is gone. The emotions to get on the way. EV: Does any of your competitors stand our? KM: I tend to think we are our main competitors. I think its' the right approach. The main goal of every skater on any competition is to do their job. Then to look at the others. EV: Let me explain why I ask you: the other Russian pair who were supposed to participate the Nebelhorn Trophy are Riazanova/Tkachenko. I thought the fight for the 3rd spot will begin then and there. KM: Katia and Ilya were substitute to begin with. I.e. they were not really going to Oberstdorf at the first place. But even if they came - there would be nothing to be afraid of. EV: You don't anticipate competition with that pair? KM: We thought about it, but it's not that the situation will change. I mean Kirill and I have to skate in a way that we will not be sorry for missing something. So we will not feel we waster the summer and the autumn. Where will we be placed is a different matter. EV: What do you feel when you hear your Olympics are not the current ones? KM: I hope it's right and there are olympics ahead of us, perhaps more than one. But it doesn't take off the will to fight this year for the spot. I would love to participate this year. EV: And if it doesn't happen? KM: I don't want to think about it really. But my life will not be over. EV: Do you get a feeling life goes by while you are being an athlete? KM: No. I study in the uni, I plan to gain a 2nd education - probably in management. I want to do something after the sport. Perhaps open a cafe or a restaurant. Of course I get that feeling that life goes by from time to time. Think that my childhood was full of practices and not toys. But then I ask myself `so what? Have they seen and experienced in life as much as I had?'. I understand my life is much more full. With people and things. EV: Who out of the current competitors in ice dance stands out? KM: I like Tessa and Scott the most. They have some kind of connection that exists all the time. You look at one of them and understand you can't imagine them without the other. I like the way they glide, how one element comes out from the previous. Even Maril and Charlie dont't have that., even though both pairs have been skating together for a very long time. EV: Kirill is not your first partner, right? KM: No, but I'm his first partner. Though we've known each other for ages EV: How confident are you on the ice? KM: Very, More than that, he takes all my mood swings. EV: A known Canadian coach Gauthier said he always begs his pairs not to fall in love with each other. Is it possible not to fall for your partner? KM: I find it hard to answer. We've been skating for so long together and I think of Kirill as of my brother. At the same time of course he is the best guy in the world, and, obviously, the best partner. Perhaps it's in the future? Who knows?