Vayteskhovskaya's interview with Mishina/Gallyamov


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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Anastasia Mishina/Alexandr Gallyamov

EV: Rently your coach Minchuk said he considers the off season the most interesting time. Do you agree?
AM: I guees, the off season is the time for the new ideas, new programmes, new choreography. It's te time to try new acrobatic elements, some other things. When the season just begins we usually work on the programmes and polish them. It's a routine work and is set to skate clean and consistently improve.
AG: The off season is indeed interesting because it gives a chance to try a lot of new things. And you always look forward for it.

EV: Is it easier to learn the new elements once the season is over?
AM: Yes, and it's not only that you are in your best shape by the end of March and the programes are good. When the season begins learning something new is dangerous - you might get injured, hence you'll have to skip the competition or a whole season.

EV: I agree with what you said but: it's a post Olympic season. I know how draining the Games are and how hard it may be to get yourself back into the training. I assume you had to go through it as well.
AG: And that's exactly why our coaches gave us a longer than usual vacation. We spent a whole month off and realized we shouldn't stop because should we stop the rivals who were behind us during the season might catch up with us. I think it's obvious.

EV: I think you are being chiky. You and Anastasia are the world champions, the Olympic team event champions, the Olympic bronze medalists. And what competition are you talking about when the Russian athletes are banned from the competitions? Why would you mind what the others are doing when you already won everything?
AM: Let me try to explain: after the Olympics I guess everyone has that down that you mentioned because at the Olympics you give all you have. But during the off season I saw our coaches were pulling our group with all they had. They were trying to get us out from that state when you don't want a thing.

EV: What did it really look like? Your coaches are not know for kicking the athlete from the dressing room and saying `go work, you lazy cow'.
AM: Indeed it's not our case. Everything in our group is based on understanding. Both Mosvkina and Minchuk talked to us a lot, were very supportive and asked whether we wanted to continue or retire right now. Both Aleksandr and I prompty decided we wanted to continue.

EV: So no hesitaitons about that?
AM: No. We really had a good rest on the beach, had some time off each other, the coaches and for a whole month forgot about the figure skating.

EV: At the time Zhuk made his athletes run on the sand which his skaters still recall as a nightmare.
AG: We were more lucky: we were running in Sochi for 45 minutes but not on the sand. We had to get back in shape because a month after the Olympics we didn't do too much. It was for the first time in our career.

EV: Have you chaged your boots during the off season?
AG: We do every year. For me it's a long and a nerves wrecking process. Usually it takes me about 3 weeks to break the boots before I can start skaitng freely. This time it went faster. 1.5 weeks were enough.

EV: Are you using the same model?
AG: Yes. The adult skaters rarely change the models - you don't have time to experiment.

EV: I know it will sound funny, but when I, a much older woman decided to start skating the WIFA boots which are no longer produced were great, while the custom made Jacksons I was unable to break.
AG: I spent my first year on WIFA and had to give up Jacksons. I skated on their boots for 2-3 months and had too many troubles, so I ended up switching to Risport Royal Super.

EV: Do you have troubles with your boots and blades because of the sanctions?
AM: For now not. We still have some left. Even if we run out of what we have there are masters who can revive our old boots. They can add metal additions, anyway, they can deal with it. We don't experience any problems at all.

EV: After you became the World champions in Sweden I asked whose skates would you like to re-watch. Back then you said Chen's and Semenenko's. Whose Olympics skates would you like to rewatch?
AM: Frankly, Despite Sui/Han beating us their programmes were awesome.
AG: So was the music and their LP skate.

EV: Did you feel they are unreachable?
AG: When Anastasia and I first started skating together in juniors I remember seeing the Chinese and thinking this pair will probably never beaten. It was unreal.
AM: WE didn't really expect that to happen in Sweden. That victory came as a surprise to us.
AG: we came to that competition not even thinking about beating the Chinese- it was not even an option. We just wanted to show what we can do. And then we were lucky.

EV: There can be 2 situations at the Olympics that you can't understand at once: first that you are a champion. 2nd is when you were ready to win and lost. Which of your skates raised most emotions: winning the team event or the defeat of the pairs? It wasn't the bronze you were aiming at in Beijing after all.
AM: We believed we could win, we wanted it, but it was not the main goal. I.e. we understood even with the clean skates things can go different ways. As for the team event think no one had doubts we would win.
AG: It was indeed taken for granted. Everyone understood what kind of a team we are. After the SP Anastasia and I were second after Sui/Han and despite that we had no doubts.

EV: After the Olympics Moskvina explained me why had she picked the music she did for your LP and I agreed with her reasons. But I recall all the critique you received back in the autumn. Can you tell me what was going on through your heads?
AG: We understood there are music pieces you want to hear in the concerts or in your earphones and then there is music that you go out with and win.

EV: You mean `Time go forward'?
AG: Yes
AM: Moskvina needed some time to convince us it was the right choice. Guess for a couple of months. My point of view on that music have changed when we started competing with it and I saw that our LP doesn't leave anyone indifferent. Some loved it, some hated it, but it was spoken about. For me it guaranteed the progamme will be remembered. And we stopped worrying about the music.

EV: When you won the GP in Russia in November I was shocked by Moskinva's reaction to your LP skate - I don't recall when was Moskvina so happy. Frankly, I didn't understand why.
AM: I did. After the Olympic season it was really hard for us to get back in shape and skate clean. That competition we did it. I.e. Moskvina saw in our skating exactly what she wanted to see. It was her victory. Not just ours, but hers. Personal.

EV: From your skate I especially recall the lift where Alexandr is in a spread eagle. It's so scary!
AG: I don't know. I was taught to be confident in my spread eagle since I was a kid.
AM: I can't evne do it. My spread eagle is bad.

EV: What does it depend on
AG: You have to open not only your feet but your hips.

EV: I.e. off the ice you are bent all over?
AG: Well, yes. It's not only how flexible you are, it's about the knees and the hips being in the correct position. The spread eagle is kind of a kids element, so easy but in order to make it look good you have to work a lot on it since the childhood.

EV: How did you take the idea competing with the best pairs not only during the nationals and the ch. 1 cup but also during each of the Russian GP events?
AM: It didn't matter much. First of all we are competing with ourselves. We are trying to imrpove from one competition to the next, to fix some mistakes, to try new elements. When you focus on that the competition does not influence the skate. Besides, our group works daily on the same ice and there is more than enough competition.

EV: Agree. Think you benefited the most from the huge progress Boikova/Kozlovski did after the Olympics.
AM: True.

EV: Which of the competitions was the most important: the ch.1 Cup and the show it was or the St. Petersburg competition?
AG: If we think of the participants it was half of the Nationals. Hence it was quite serious. As for the ch. 1 Cup the athmosphere was such that we were focusing on different things all the time.
AM: There were so many additional shoots, you had to be in the box and support your team.
AG: So it was quite hard to skate the SP first and then stick around the rink till the end of the competition. When you spend so much time supporting the team and shouting there getting up the next day and focusing on the LP is hard. Besides, we had the opening choreographing on the first day which took a while. Guess every competition has it's hardships.

EV: Seems your coach always tries to show something new and unexpected in the exhibitoin programmes, to show you differently than in the competition. Was that the goal this season?
AM: We were expected to skate to a contemporary music, so we took it for one of the exhibitions. The other one was more classical. Can't say it's extraordinary: we are trying to show the beauty of the figure skating, the relationship. We will have another number different from the first two.

EV: That you are preparing to the show programme?
AG: The idea came right after the St. Petersburg competition and we plan to start working on it.

EV: Do you feel it's harder to progress every year?
AM: Of course. Think it applies not only to the sport but to everything. When you get to a certain level every step forward is an achievement. The higher you are the harder it is.

EV: Were you able to make that step after the games in Beijing?
AG: I think it's a big achievement we were able to do our LP. During the summer it seemed so hard: a different syle, besides skating an LP to a fast music is really hard. And our victory is in making it through and staying alive.

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