Simonenko's interview with Aliev


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Andrey Simonenko's interview with Dmitrii Aliev for

Aliev came to an interview playing with a keychain of a Bing Dwen Dwen - the mascot of the Olympics Dmitrii did not make to
DA: It's from my friend Anastasia Gubanova who participated the Olympics. I asked her to bring me a souvenir and she gave me this Bing Dwen Dwen. I understand it's a limited edition - the big ones could be purchased but the small one was given. Now it's on my keychain.

AS: And it doesn't give you some negative emotions? You set a goal to make it to these Olympics and it didn't work out.
DA: No, only positive emotions. When I was watching the Olympics I was rooting for my friends - Anastasia, Mark Kondratyuk. I was sending them all the possible positive thoughts to help. Mark, by the way, also brought me a souvenir - a medal with the arena, not the figure skating one, but the hockey.

AS: So you did not remove the TV from the room during the Olympics?
DA: Frankly, I have. First when the team event only began I just watched Mark and Nathan Chen. Then in the personal event I watched Mark and the top group. And then I let it go and watched all our ladies, dance and pairs - almost all of them,

AS: Without thinking `oh, I wish I were there'?
DA: No, I was calm. I realized I was not ready for the Olympics. Perhaps it gave more motivation, but all and all that was the state. Now, however, I feel differently. Ithink if there was a moment in February when I was in the same shape I am now and I was left home I would be upset. But anyway after this season I can only say it's my own fault I did not go to Beijing.

AS: I remember you saying in September during the test skate `I need to go through THAT'. You mean the medical test. Was that the beginning of the whole thing?
DA: It was a snowflake that became an avalanche. Yes, it influenced my mood a lot. Twice a year the athletes have to undergo the physical check to be allowed to practice. I was not given the permit. I ran into certain problems that I dwelled into.

AS: During the season you never explained what it was and the fans began coming up with the whole conspiracy theories. Can you reveal the problem now?
DA: For a long time I did ski. And I have a very rare pulse. In St. Petersburg after the medical check up the doctors said I had to go to Moscow. There I went through a test when within 10-15 minutes my pulse had to go up to 180 beats per minute. After 20 minutes I could hardly reach 170. The Moscow doctors checked me out and said: you are not only not ill but mega healthy and your heart is just fine. There is a difference but it does not influence doing sports. All the skiers have such a pulse especially those from the north (Aliev was born in Ukhta)

AS: I read the biathlete's Martin Furkad's pulse when calm is 30.
DA: Mine is 28. Well may be like 30, 35. I never cared about that, but the doctors got a wind of it and started saying things. Of course I dwelled into that. And it grew. If I may say so -the heart condition was just a small droplet. There were other injuries. Even now there are moments when I struggle. I'd rather not talk about that.

AS: Yet the season began and you had some decent skates during the fall.
DA: Taking the shape I was in I was skating more or less ok. I was trying to focus during the competitions. But I felt that I lost the connection and could not fight. I kept dwelling into that. I started working with a shrink, doing some therapies, but the feeling I was in a deep hole that I can't get out from did not go away.

AS: The shrink didn't help?
DA: If anything think it became only worse - I began thinking my head was not ok as well...

AS: What then?
DA: Once I recalled how I was working in the 2017/18 season. I began it with a foot injury, couldn't skate for a long time and at some point it became clear if I don't get into the usual process I can forget about the Olympics. I was still a teenager prone to extreme at the age of 18, my first senior season. Truly it was almost impossible to make it to the Olympic team but that was the goal I set for myself. I told Rukavitsin: let's pretend I don't have an injury and work as usual. Should I feel the pain I can't stand I'll let you know. In the end I made it to the Olympics.
Here during the practices I offered the same. I said: let's work as if I didn't have any problems. Though I did. Now I recall that moment. You know that feeling? As if you are spreading your attention on the butterflies flying around the lamp and can't focus on anything else. Not on your life, not on figure skating. I had to waste a lot of time taking my focus away from that butterfly.

AS: Was it what the shrink was working on?
DA: Yes. I respect everyone's work but realized for as long as you don't want it yourself and can't find a way to break through you will not progress. Unfortunately the Nationals and the Russian cup finals proved that season was wasted. I was down. I came to the practices and skated just for the sake of skating. But then I tried to let the past go. I changed the boots, recovered the 4S which I haven't done for a while. Then I found the new energy. I now participate the shows and landed a 4S and a 4T in the spotlight. I understand these jumps are not gone. I'm coming back.
If I sum up the season it was a failure because I couldn't move that heap of problems in a way it would dissolve. The other people didn't know how to help me.

AS: But did you keep trying or realized at some point it was not your year and not your Olympics?
DA: It was a rollercoaster. I would fight and then I would drop it. Before the Nationals I lacked about 5 days to be in the top shape that would allow me to show what I can do. I gathered the shape, I was in the process, I began focusing but... Rukavitsin also said we lacked one week. I needed to be in a state when, so to say, you take a breath and swim 400m under the water. I would take a breath and then doubt it would be enough.
I didn't even want to attend the Russian cup Finals. I was finishing my season. Guess that's where it was done.

AS: But your SP there was really good.
DA: I thought so too. The marks were not high but at least I felt something. There was a hope to be on the podium but after the LP things became bad.

AS: I recall now 2 stories about the mental pits. Karpov told how before the main game at the Worlds against Krchnoi instead of practicing he went to a different city to watch basketball. The rhythmic gymnastics coach of Margarita Mamun said before the victorious Olympics in Rio when she realized Mamun was depressed she brought Mamun's fiance the swimmer Suhorukova. That's the time when they should be in a strict regime. Perhaps you lacked that mental release during the season during it's highest moment? Just an option to forget about figure skating and reload?
DA: I guess I should had asked for 3-4 days off back then. To go away, disconnect, go to a sauna, do snowboard, whatever. I did it after the Russian cup final. It was after everything was over really, but still: I came to the rink with the new boots and landed the 3A at once. Scratched my head thinking it's wrong. Attempted a 4T - the same! Landed it. And understood: this mini vacation did not ruin anything. The other way around, I started doing the combos of 4 different jumps even though during the season I couldn't even remotely do it. I haven't tried these combos for 3 years. And suddenly I was doing them so easily.
It happens that I take a day off during the season. It's enough to let my body rest, but not my head. Now I can say for sure: should I listen to myself the next season and understand that I'm done and need a rest I'll come to the coach and say: let me go, let me go fishing or something even if it's a week before a competition. I'm a zig zag person, not a straight line person, a lot of things reload me. Today I want to try fishing, tomorrow it's car racing, the day after tomorrow it will be songs writing and fire watching. But it brings me back. For example a couple of days ago I went trampoline jumping. I know it's dangerous. But I know I can do a back flip. I went there, did some back flips and had fun. It took my mind off the things.

AS: Why couldn't you during the season?
DA: I didn't have enough courage to come to the coach and tell him I want to rest. The coach perhaps did not feel I needed it. Of course it's my fault for loading it all on myself and carrying it through the season. But I could release some of that weight off my shoulders.

AS: You've been working with Rukavitsin for 9 years. You should be able to understand each other from half a word by now?
DA: I think Rukavitsin understands me even without the words. I can step on the ice, take the blade guards off and he'll know which state I'm in. Of course it doesn't always work but he understands me just as well as I understand him. Yes, we have our disagreements and talks like everyone does. But it's not only a coach, he is my person.
Of course he guides me, corrects me, but for a while he just gives me a man to man advice: just go and do that jump already! Or like a guy to a guy: fight! Because I know I need to land my jumps. Even our choreographer Olga Glinka sometimes tells him `don't overexplain so Dima will not create a wrong puzzle in his head'

AS: The fans love speculating during the off season who should this or that skater switch to.
DA: I don't plan changing anything. I never understood that chase after the nice and comfortable. Of course like anyone else I sometimes have doubts whether the things I do are right, but I trust my coach.

AS: The situation in the world is tough now. There might be no international competitions in the near future. How do you motivate yourself?
DA: With the fun! Let me tell you a story: I was going through Moscow on the way from the show. Mark offered me to stay for a couple of days and take some walks. I did that. I went to visit him on the TSKA rink, spoke to Sokolovskaya - his coach. She told me a lot of important human things, which included an advice: for as long as you can - skate! have fun! Sport is the communication, it unites. Yeah, the season was bad, but you can be in a deep pit or on the podium. That's life.
Hence my mood now is such: if I'm told to skate at the Russian cups - I will. If we will be allowed participating the international competitions - I will. The most important for me is to catch the wave, go out there and skate. If something doesn't work - to correct it. And the best feeling is when you come home in the evening and tell yourself: today I did a lot of the things I wanted to do. I got the positive energy. That what motivates me.

AS: Is it a process of improving yourself?
DA: I hope so. It's a cool process: you take the control into your hands. When something is wrong you fix it.

AS: Are there thoughts of the next Olympics, or is it too far away?
DA: Right now there are thoughts what to have for lunch. Of course it's too far away. And what happens now is complicated. I found myself thinking when I was a skier and a skater we would watch the Olympics on the TV. The whole families. The ski races, the figure skating, the other stuff. I recall skipping the school to watch some competitions. It was a celebration, the fireworks, I so wanted to make it to the Olympics myself to feel it all. I now watch the young kids who read about all that happens and I feel for them. It think it must be very hard for them, they may never feel what the Olympics are.
But we are adults. Yes, we are not allowed to the international competitions, which hurts, but we can deal with it. It's much harder for the kids. Because it's when you are a kid your Olympic dream is born and it motivates you later. `Mom, have you seen that girl Alina Zagitova? I want to be just like her!' `Mom, have you seen that boy Dima Aliev? I want to skate to the `Masquerade' just like him'. This is what these kids might lack and it upsets me. But I believe, no, I'm sure figure skating will always be popular in our country.


Well-Known Member
Mark seems like he is such a good friend and has such positive energy. I'm so glad that Dima was able to watch the Olympics and extend positive thoughts towards his friends instead of wallowing in misery. I'm also happy that Mark's coach is getting so many new students. I think she is a positive coach and there needs to be more of that in Russian skating.


Well-Known Member
Mark seems like he is such a good friend and has such positive energy. I'm so glad that Dima was able to watch the Olympics and extend positive thoughts towards his friends instead of wallowing in misery. I'm also happy that Mark's coach is getting so many new students. I think she is a positive coach and there needs to be more of that in Russian skating.
He does.

I also thought that Aliev's response here seems very healthy:
AS: Are there thoughts of the next Olympics, or is it too far away?
DA: Right now there are thoughts what to have for lunch.

Thank you for the translation, @TAHbKA

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