Leaving the rink last friday after the final of the Men's competition, the newly-found triumphator of the Men's competition who ended up fourth at his debut at Worlds has found himself in an unusual but pleasing reality - right near the bus which brought the athletes back to the hotel, he was almost literally attacked by a bunch of girls: "Aaaah! Misha! I was rooting for you so much! You are so awesome! You are the most awesome out there anyway! Is it possible to take a picture with you? Oh, Mama, this must be one of the best moments ever!"
A minute later, we were already on the bus with Kolyada and for the first time I didn't regret that the busdrive from the rink to the hotel took such a long time.
Vaitsekhovskaya: "What do you remember from your last performance?"
Kolyada: "Not that much, really. I remember the first half of the program pretty well, even the details. But the second half...after I had nailed the last axel, I only had one thing on my mind: 'I have to finish this. Somehow, but I have to.
Fortunately, I was already done with all the jumps at that moment. The only things that were left was footwork and spins which I absolutely did on autopilot - my consciousness completely went off. I skated and didn't even understand anymore where I was and what was going on."
V: "Have you ever experienced this in the past or was it an entirely new feeling for you?"
K: "I can't say that it was entirely new for me. I have already experienced it earlier that my head is sort of blocking any unnecessary thoughts and feelings when I get very tired and that my body starts working automatically. But I can definitely say that this last start - it has been the most difficult one I had to endure this season. Yeah, and probably also in my life."
V: "Did you have some premonition or something that everything will turn out in a normal way?"
K: "I'd rather say yes than no. The morning practice went very well, as I had expected. I even wanted the competition to start as soon as possible. Some little insecurity was felt of course, but it didn't mean too much. There was no fear at all, actually."
V: "And during the warm-up of the final group?"
K: "The same goes for the warm-up. I was angry there. I purposely made myself feel angry: I had realized already that it helps me skate when I'm angry."
V: "Did you anger yourself with any special tricks?"
K: "Well, yes. But I won't say how, that's a secret."
V: "Did you imagine in advance how the first World Championships are going to be?"
K: "Well, how to say it - imagined? I arrived, looked around, watched my rivals at pracice and off ice. My task was to observe everything at first and then to understand how to behave."
V: "Then please share your thoughts. Did you allow yourself to think that, under certain combinations of circumstances, you would be able to fight for such a high placement, even a medal?"
K: "No. I firmly knew that there would be no medal. After everything had worked out in the short program for me and my coach where I placed sixth all I thought about was skating the free program as well as the short. I, of course, understood that Javier Fernandez, Yuzuru Hanyu and Patrick Chan are in an entirely different league, absolutely out of reach for me. That I, no matter how awesomely I would have skated my program, under no circumstances, would be able to be placed above these athletes. I also didn't see any chances to even fight with Boyang Jin and Shoma Uno. After all, I had seen how they skated at Four Continents - I even watched the broadcast of it and was very much impressed by what I had seen. Also how wonderfully another Chinese skated at that competition: Han Yan. To be honest, it was a big surprise for me that he didn't qualify for the free skate in Boston.
But that was most likely just bad luck. All in all, I understood very well which level I am on as well as I understood the others' skating with me in the final group. That is why I didn't even feed any illusions: First and foremost, I focused on the work I had to do myself. Just not to bite my own elbows afterwards in case I didn't do enough somehow."
V: "What are you feeling right now?"
K: "I just can't realize how quickly it all flew by. I waited so long, prepared for such a long time and then - bam! Everything is already over and in the past."
V: "Do you remember your first thought after the skate?"
K: "I was so happy that I managed...wait, no, I didn't feel happiness right in that moment. I just had one thought running through my head: "I did it! I did it! I did it!" I did all I could. For the time being, it is my ceiling - now I have to crash through it."
V: "In which direction?"
K: "Going into the direction of quadruple jumps, of course. I do the salchow in practice and am ready to put it into my program. As far as the quad lutz is concerned, I am working on it."
V: "Every single skater usually has his own relationship story with quadruple jumps."
K: "That is true. The quad jump is a psychological barrier in itself. At the beginning it is downright scary. Come to think of it, I was also scared of doing triples at first. The first quad really gave me a very hard time in the beginning. But then we somehow became friends."
V: "Was that before you broke your foot so terribly?"
K: "Yes. I already had included it into my program and then - injury. The scariest thing was returning to the ice. I knew, of course, that the bone becomes even harder after a fracture and that it can't break again in the same spot - that is something all the "broken ones" discuss during their time of rehabilitation. Moreover, this wasn't my first experience of that kind. Some time earlier I had broken my arm - I slipped on wet stairs in a very unfortunate way after it had rained.
But the case with my foot was much more critical. When it was the time to put on the skates again and go skating I really had to force myself into doing this: I thought that my foot would break the moment I would do my first step. I had to overcome this barrier at every practice, tortured myself for 1,5 months and then it was over. Now, my foot doesn't cause any problems at all - now I even know that this is the most stable spot in my whole body.
By the way, I was sure somehow that in this season I would improve increasingly. That this moment has finally come. And that everything will be just fine."
V: "At what age did you start seeing yourself as a professional athlete?"
K: "Definitely not at the age of five when I started skating. Maybe at the age of 15, yes. At that age I consciously realized that I wanted to make it to the European and World Championships. I wanted to show that I can do stuff and that my coach hasn't wasted her time on me for so many years. Moreover, my mom has always dreamed of me becoming a figure skater."
V: "And there has never been any protest from you against that?"
K: "Well, what kind of protest could there have been when I was at the age of 5? When I was 13, there was something, I wanted to quit the sport altogether. I had the feeling that figure skating denies me a normal human life. That my whole life was just a neverending circle: home - school - ice rink. Day after day without a possibility to step aside. But that period collided with the one that I started completing more and more at practice. And then I enjoyed it: what used to annoy me endlessly finally started being fun. And ever since, everything has been fine. Even when I get really tired I can't say that I am annoyed with practice. I manage somehow."
V: "Do you consider yourself a lucky person in general?"
K: "In some moments - very much. I was very lucky, for instance, when I broke my foot."
V: "That's an interesting thought."
K: "Well, I mean, that I was lucky that it healed so quickly. Neither I nor the doctors did expect it. At first talks were that this whole thing was going to take a very long time: crutches, surgery, walking around for half a year with a metal plate in my foot, rehabilitation would take a long time and that professional sports would be totally out of the question. And in reality, I even walked around with the metallic plate without limping whatsoever. Two days after they had removed the stitches I already came back to the rink for practice. It was the same story with my arm: the bone grew together quickly and we reworked everything quickly as well."
V: "Maybe you were also lucky when Artur Gachinski withdrew from the Grand Prix in Moscow and you got to replace him."
K: "I relate to such things very calmly: they invited me - good. If they hadn't - also nothing to worry or be scared about. So, there would've been other competitions."
V: "You wouldn't even have been upset?"
K: "Generally, I am trying not to be upset because of some nonsense and not to keep unpleasant things in my thoughts. Why should I even?"
V: "And which unpleasant experience from your life do you consider the most serious one?"
K: "That would be something from my early childhood. My dad once forgot me at the kindergarten. He was supposed to pick me up after work there and forgot about it."
K: "My kindergarten teacher had to drive me home. And once again - I was lucky!"
V: "Finish the sentence: 'Figure skating is...'."