Jasmina Kadyrova/Valeri Kolesov: “We caught the wave”
Jasmina Kadyrova/Valeri Kolesov at a practice session.
Jasmina Kadyrova and Valeri Kolesov teamed up last February and train in the school of Tamara Moskvina under the tutelage of the coaching legend and Artur Minchuk.
*Why do we report on Russian skaters and publish interviews with them in spite of the terrible war (which is even not allowed to be called war in Russia) in Ukraine? We believe that these horrible events are not the fault of the Russian people and we feel that the civil society in Russia should be strengthened and not excluded.*
How did you team up?
Valeri: At the end of last season, Jasmina and I broke up with our previous partners, and she and I started looking for new partners because we wanted to continue our career in the sport. We ended up trying to skate together.
What was the reason for breaking up with your former partners, because you had spent all your years in pairs skating with them?
Valeri: Ksiusha and I had a good junior career. We competed in all major events and more than once. We were medalists at the World Junior Championships, Russian Junior Championships, and Junior Grand Prix Series. But at some point it became apparent that we had reached our maximum, and although we took steps to change something, and left to train with other coaches in Sochi, it got us nowhere. The results, unfortunately, did not improve. We realized that we would not be able to move up to the senior level, although we performed at several senior competitions, but in fact we still were juniors. Ksiusha and I had a talk and split up on good terms. We thanked each other for everything we had overcome and achieved. We really have come a very long and difficult way in juniors. And I am very grateful to Ksiusha for everything.
Jasmina: We also parted with Vania kindly. Vania is the man I had my first pair skating experience with. He taught me everything, all the elements. Our time together, although it wasn't as long as Valera's with Ksenia's, was full of memorable moments. All training sessions were positive. But there came a moment when we stopped to develop. Moreover, objective circumstances came into play - I grew, and I became too tall for him. It became obvious that something had to change. Vania and I thanked each other and parted calmly and well.
How difficult is it to part with your skating partners, especially when they are the first and the only ones you skated with?
Jasmina: This is a sport. And when you realize that a change is necessary, you have to think it over and discuss it calmly. You should not make a tragedy out of it, because this is life, we are all human and we all have our own goals, everyone wants to develop and move on. In such a situation you should not confuse professional and personal moments. In sports, it happens, partners break up, but it does not mean that they stop being friends. Even if they break up, they don't stop communicating.
Valeri: I agree.
Jasmina Kadyrova/Valeri Kolesov practice in St. Petersburg.
How did your first training together go?
Valeri: At the first training session I was not in good shape - I had an injury, so I was recovering. Gradually I got in shape, then Yasia and I began to try elements. Obviously, we were not good at the beginning, but we gradually worked it all out and now we are working on it. We have been training since the end of February. I even remember the date - February 23. I came to the rink and Yasia congratulated me on the Defender of the Fatherland Day, gave me a present. It was nice - the first training and immediately a gift!
Jasmina: That is how we met. (laughs). We somehow found a common language immediately, we may say, caught the wave...
Valeri: But all the same at first we had to get adapted to each other. By nature we are both emotional, but we quickly realized that we should not transfer these emotions on each other. On the contrary, it's better to channel them.
Jasmina: Into work, into run throughs and things like that. Things have been going really smoothly with Valera and me lately. We have, as I said, caught a wave. Before that we had some misunderstandings: one said one thing, the other said another, although he meant the same thing.
Valeri: Before we paired up, we skated with only one partner, so some habits kicked in. It was a little unclear why the old partner did something this way, and now the new partner does the same element differently. Me and Ksiusha Akhantieva skated together for six years.
Jasmina: And I've been with Vania for almost three years.
Valeri: But we are no little kids and we understand why we teamed up.
Jasmina: It's unprofessional to quarrel and be offended. Misunderstandings, if any, did not come up because of our characters, but in working moments, as it happens with everyone. The main thing in such situations is not to get personal, and in our group it is forbidden to do that.
Jasmina Kadyrova/Valeri Kolesov discuss with coaches Tamara Moskvina and Artur Minchuk
Valera, you are from St. Petersburg, but Tamara Moskvina’s club is a new school for you. What are your first impressions?
Valeri: In fact, I'm happy to skate in this school, because we have very high level professionals working here. The results of our teams are proof of this. Of course, it's a different level. You can't slack off. You simply don’t get the chance to do that. Before leaving for Sochi, I was training in St. Petersburg, in the Velikovs' group, but I knew that Tamara Nikolaevna has very strong athletes. I really wanted to train here. And I am glad that I am back in my hometown. It helps me a lot.
Jasmina: All the work in our group is built in such a way that you go out on the ice and from the beginning to the end of the session you do something all the time. You can't do an element and then take a break - you work all the time. As Tamara Nikolaevna says she doesn't force anyone to do anything, because if a someone wants to work, he just does it. Without anything. That's why when you come to the group you understand that it's another level - it's not just a desire to skate, it's not for fun, not a hobby, but it is your work. It's a professional job. And you go out on the ice and realize that you have to work hard yourself.
There are strong couples on the ice with you with Anastasia Mishina/Sasha Galliamov, Sasha Boikova/ Dima Kozlovski...
Jasmina: That motivates us, pushes us to improve, because when you see that someone is doing better, there is an understandable desire to catch up and improve.
Valeri: When we first started and I wasn't quite in shape, it was a little strange, especially when the other guys took to the ice a week later. They came back from the Olympics and they were so confident. And I immediately thought I had to skate well, too.
How is your season preparation going?
Valeri: We have already mounted our programs. We have mastered the elements, we are improving our technique a little, and we are preparing for the season. Both of our programs were choreographed by Nikolai Moroshkin, but Artur Minchuk and Tamara Nikolaevna made adjustments.
Jasmina: So all of our coaches were involved in building the programs.
Valeri: At the training camp in Sochi, we worked a lot, every day with ballet dancers of Boris Eifman’s company, with Albert Galichanin and Elena Kuzmina. We worked on the nuances of the programs, on bringing across the character of the music...
Jasmina Kadyrova/Valeri Kolesov at a practice session.
What can you tell us about your new programs?
Valeri: We won't tell yet what music we have, we'll show them at the test skates in St. Petersburg. For the short program we took a classical theme, and the free program is to modern music with a love story. It is a story about how hard it is to lose a loved one. But at the end there is happiness that, despite everything, we are still together!
Jasmina: To retell the story in a few words, it's about "we will live and love forever."
Valeri: Although probably everyone will see something different in this story.
Jasmina: Tamara Nikolaevna suggested the music for the short program, and we chose the music for the free program together.
Valeri: You could say the music for the short program is already a classic, because many skaters skated to it. But we want to try ourselves in these characters, because Yasia and I are very emotional people, and to depict different emotions is not so difficult for us. And still we work a lot on the choreography which is important for senior-level skating. We want it to be our highlight as well. We want to show pairs skating specifically.
Jasmina: Real figure skating, not just the elements.
Valeri: We are working on everything. Our jumps are going well - triple loop with hands above the head, triple Salchow... We can potentially do more.
Jasmina: We practice everything. For now we are going to focus on these jumps in our programs. We will probably make them harder later.
Jasmina, you did a side by side triple flip with Vania.
Jasmina: That's why I say we'll see about the jumps as the season progresses.
What are your goals for your debut season?
Valeri: To show our maximum, but first we have to know it, because training is one thing, competing is another, and we have to do clean run-throughs to understand what we are capable of.
How does the current situation in the world affect you? Or does it not affect you much as you are a new couple that has to start competing at domestic events anyway?
Jasmina: While it does not concern us much, we still would like to have international competitions, because it's another level, and we could earn international rating.
Valeri: Due to the fact that Russian skaters are not participating in international events, there are certain restrictions, there is no complete freedom, but this does not affect our desire and motivation to continue. Recently we were at an event in Igora, near St. Petersburg, with a lot of spectators. And when people come to watch and support the athletes - it really encourages and gives strength and motivation to continue and improve. It's good that our federation has planned a lot of competitions.
Jasmina: The Federation does everything possible so that our skaters have the opportunity to compete and perform.
Valeri: I think that in the upcoming season the Russian events - our Grand Prix - will be organized on a larger scale, will be held in larger cities, and the stands will be filled with spectators.
Jasmina: You have to look on the bright side. Yes, we will not be able to participate in international competitions, but our fans will be able to see their idols more often. In the past years our top athletes traveled to the Grand Prix, and now many of them will compete in our events, and the spectators will see them not on TV, but live.
Obviously, you are focused on figure skating right now, but what are your hobbies, what do you do off the ice?
Jasmina: I study in school, I read a lot -- classics, fantasy, I like detectives, novels. Sometimes I read psychology books about development of personality. It is interesting for me. I like to draw, with pencils and colours.
Valeri: I'm studying at Lesgaft, faculty of sports management. We will have an internship at one of the sports organizations. Let's see how it works in practice.
In my free time I really like going to the pool, swimming. It is healthy. Recently I also became interested in psychology. At the training camp in Sochi I took a sports psychologist course.
Jasmina: And after each lesson he came and told what had happened there. He "experimented" on me. (laughs).
Valeri: But it is really important for athletes to know the basics of sports psychology. After all, in training we do everything, but we need to know how to show your best in competition.
Jasmina: And I would also like to add that I love dancing. In my free time I turn on music and start to think of some characters and dance. After such a "workout" I have a feeling of freedom, relief, emotional and physical reboot. In the future I want to become a choreographer and coach, so I try to improvise and dance to different music.
Valeri: In May we worked with dancers from the "Todes" ensemble, and Yasia danced very well.
Why not ice dance then, but pair skating?
Jasmina: I wanted to do pairs skating right away, because I thought ice dance would be boring without jumps, throws and the other elements. Pairs skating is more interesting for me. And when I go out on the ice, no matter how many times it happens, I always have a blast.
So you’re not scared at all?
Jasmina: The main thing is to trust your partner, then nothing will happen.
Valeri: If you trust your partner a hundred percent, everything will be fine.
The Russian version of this interview has been published at the website of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia
Русскую версию интервью вы можете прочитать на сайте ФФКР.
Jasmina Kadyrova/Valeri Kolesov after their practice session.