Interview of Alexei Mishin from "Patinage magazine" by Tatiana Flade.|
What do you think about the application of the new judging system?
It is very surprising that a small group of people created a system, part of which, I won't say which part, works in real competitions. There are one or two things I want to point out. The first, the positive one, is that the athletes are stiving to perfect each element more difficult. The second, the negative, is that the result presented to the athletes and judges is a certain number of points, like a plate of mashed potatoes. Ans it's not clear how it is made up. There are different cultures and accordingly people like different works of art (have a different taste). Therefore it's too bad that the new system doesn't reflect the position of the judges: The french judge give the Englishman so many points, the english judge gives the american so many points. This different view of the different cultures is disturbing me a bit. The new system now - and this is the only thing I remenber right now- doesn't show the opinion of the judges. They themselves don't see it. In soccer it's clear, red card, goodbye. Or in gymnastics, you see the marks. And I don't think this will make figure skating very popular. And there is another point. The great Russian poet Pushkin said in "Mozart and Salieri" that it's very hard to measure harmony by means of algebra. There is one component, the quality of the athlete that is by no means including in these five program components. For exemple, the charm, the magic of the athlete. I think the magic that for exemple Belusova/Protopopov had, Toller Cranston, Lesha Yagudin, Zhenya Plushenko... they all possess this magic.
Do you think that this new system will influence the old sytem that will be used at the European and World championships?
Yes. I wanted to say this. The new system, into which a lot of work has been put, will influence the old system.
Where do you see the major development in Men's single skating for the next Olympic Games?
If you mean from the coaches' point of view, there is one aspect which remains in the shadow. The fact is that I have been working on the theory of jumps for almost all my life. When I was still a student (at university), I wrote several books, and I created a system of exercises. With the help of these exercises, I prepared Tataurov, Urmanov, Yagudin, Plushenko and other athletes. And I had a big advantage. I had a team of men that was able to compete against a world team. That's not just one method, it's a whole system of exercises. And now, other coaches have started to use this system. Some of them I taught, and some others stole it from me through my former students.
Coco Channel said, the day they stop copying you, you aren't worth anything anymore.
One american coach who has already been working with my system, told me-she right away started to have good students- "This is your royalty". I think this system is very different from the classical american system or the european system of learning jumps. My books were secretly translated many years ago, 15 years ago, in East Germany, in Germany, in Japan, in China. I think that there will be a progress in multiple jumps although the new system doesn't really encourage this progress.
Do you think there will be a quintuple jump in the next few years?
That is a very interesting question, thank you. A quintuple jump is a revolutionary change. When we look at other sports, you can see that new developments have produced a high jump in the results. A quintuple jump also needs a total new method, which one, I won't say this at this time.
Without saying any names, what is in your opinion a great Olympic program? What would you put into an abslute gold medal?
Analysis of the results of the Olympic Games makes clear that there are no revolutions in an Olympic year. They happen in between. I think it will be what we view today as very good and difficult technical elements and very clean, good performance. It will be the figure skating of today. I don't think there will be a revolution since Torino. I have one question. There are some skaters today who are very expressives, and I think their style make it easier to collect many points in the program components. That's about the men. Concerning the ladies, I think the skating goes toward yesterday. Midori Ito many years ago did a tripe axel and a triple loop-triple loop combination, so I don't see among the serious contenders that anybody is even thinking about that. Now I see that the leading athletes want to do everyting clean, elegant, using their arms and positions, and they do it well. And in pair skating, I see the yellow wave coming over figure skating, but I think it's positive. They bring some fresh air. I'm not specialized in dance, but if somebody ask me to do a new system, I would be in an impasse. I can't even think about how to do it. The goal of danse is to bring joy. And how can you measure joy in numbers? That I don't understand. Singles and pairs, you still can talk about, yes.
Ice dancing is now in sclerosis.
Not in sclerosis but in a state of a stroke.
All the great champions you had, what did they have in common, psychologicaly?
That's also a very good quastion. What do thay have in common? These champions are like raw diamonds. Thet are unique, ans they are all different.
Those, who are real champions, not just because the other fell.
I know what to answer, and it won't be a standard answer. They unite muscles and brain as well. Many skaters have beautiful muscles, but they don't have the right connection to the brain. This is my opinion. We see how the muscles reflect the mind. You can't say that they need to be strong or beautiful. Plushenko isn't beautiful, Urmanov isn't strong, Yagudin isn't elegant. But they have this connection and they are able to conquer the audience.