The skating philosophy of Alexei
doesn't matter who you were, it only matters whom you become."
Alexei Mishin, one of the best
figure skating coaches in the world, is still a work in progress.
He began his skating career as a young boy at the end of a rope
attached to trucks that would pass by on a frozen street, pulling
him and his friends. His had, who also skated, had bought him a
pair of skates as a gift. Mishin would later claim he learned inside
and outside edges while skating behind the trucks. "We also
used to do some kind of waves there that were considered very cool,"
Mishin told a Russian reporter.
|The legendary Alexei Mishin
Mishin learned the value of falling early. Once
he fell down while skating behind a truck. The driver stopped, got
out, took Mishin's skates and drove away.
Half a century later, he has helped maintain Russias
dominance in figure skating through studying, competing and coaching.
Mishin's parents encouraged him to skate. However,
Mishin was reluctantly accepted as a figure skating student during
a winter session in Leningrad and was told that he would have to
leave by spring. Almost 50 years later, Mishin has proved to be
as good as gold to Russia because many of his skaters frequently
claim the gold medals under his tutelage.
Mishin not only studied the mechanics of skating
but the Russian history of the sport. He began to learn the teachings
of Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin, the first Russian Olympic Champion
in 1908, and absorbed everything he could from his coaches and mentors.
Just as he sought to work under the great coaches of the sport,
now skaters from all over the world come to Mishin to learn from
Mishins story is one of passion for his sport,
students and his country. As a 24-year-old he was paired with Tamara
Moskvina, then 23 and already a Russian National Champion singles
skater. Mishin and Moskvina would win two national championships,
earn a silver medal at the World Championships, place fourth in
the Olympics and earn a silver and bronze medal at the European
They left the sport in 1970 at their peak to coach.
Mishin would work his way up by first coaching the
junior ladies to success at national and international competitions.
But it would be with the men that Mishin would gain his fame and
forever be linked with the greatest skaters in the sport.
Evgeni Plushenko, Alexei Yagudin and Alexei Urmanov,
all either multiple world champions or Olympic gold medalists, are
his prodigies. Mishin doesn't believe in superstitions, but the
night of the free skate at the Olympics in Lillehammer, he had a
feeling Urmanov would deliver a gold medal performance. But he didn't
take a camera with him to capture the glorious moment of his first
Olympia gold medalist. "I was afraid to glance ahead,"
Mishin said. "You can never be sure about a victory. It always
catches you off guard."
|Evgeni gets some pointers from his coach,
"My secret of success is that I learned much,"
Mishin would tell a Russian reporter. "I believe that the success
from Tamara Moskvina and also from me that we learned much and study
a lot. We are both scientists. We did not only skate and began to
work as coaches but we studied a lot. We have analyzed and studied.
I believe that the scientific approach to the process of coaching
is the reason of the success."
It was Plushenko's talent at a young age that fascinated
When Plushenko was 11, he showed extraordinary skills
by mastering all his triple jumps. Plushenkos mother brought
her son to Mishin in St. Petersburg. She stayed for a short time
and after a brief time left Plushenko to stay with Mishin. A year
later Plushenkos mother moved back to St. Petersburg to be
with her son.
Mishin paid for their apartment and supported Evgeni
with food and money. "He is a very good coach and a very nice
person," Plushenko said of Mishin. "Without him, I dont
know, I would be nothing."
Plushenkos trust in Mishin has been rewarded
many times over with his gold medal performances. Mishin has challenged
Evgeni to perform his programs with the skill and passion Mishin
has lived for the sport. "Evgeni is not afraid of anybody,"
Mishin has said.
And Mishin, who did his dissertation on skating
jumps, sees Plushenko as having the talent to become one of Russias
best male skaters. "Evgeni can compete for another eight or
nine years," Mishin said. "I would like to think Evgeni
is not only a World Champion but also an outstanding figure skater.
Not all World Champions are going into the figure skating history
but he should be one who goes into figure skating history."
The skating philosophy of Alexei Nikolaevich
"It doesnt matter who you were, it only matters whom
you have become."
"Olympics are very special and can not be compared with
anything else. When you are saying Olympic Games, you can
feel it. Do you feel it? Say World Championship, Europeans
you cant feel anything like that."
"Only with time I realized that a strong skater isnt
the one with strong points, but one without weaknesses."
"The desired result should be your main task. In sport
there is only one such result victory."
Qualities it takes to win the Olympics
"The deepest knowledge, highest skills, warrior spirits
and happiness. Only god can bring happiness."
On Japan junior skater Miki Ando becoming the first female to
land a quad.
"Without a sparrow in hands, they are striving to catch
a crane in the sky (old saying). They (Japanese) dont have
average achievements to hold onto."
Did you know?
Evgeni gave Alexei Mishin a puppy on his anniversary. The dogs
name is Eva.
in educational science. Dissertation on "Techniques and
methods of teaching multiple revolution jumps in figure skating."
sons, Nikolai and Andrei
with Tamara Moskvina. World Championships (1969) 2nd; Olympics
(1968) 4th; European Championships (1969) 2nd and (1970) 3rd;
Russian National Championships (1969) 1st and (1970) 1st.
Plushenko, Alexei Urmanov, Alexei Yagudin, Elena Sokolova.
amateur radio operator, fishing, gardening
only dream about rest."