Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin: 
"It doesn't matter who you were, it only matters whom you have become."

   I was introduced to figure skating for the first time when my dad bought me skates “Snegurki” as a gift. He was somewhat of a skater himself. I used to fix these skates to my boots, as everyone else did, and would go out along with other guys to skate by hooking up to trucks. Back then, Rouzovskaya street wasn’t cleaned up after the snow falls and we used the icy road as an ice- rink. The trucks used to slow down there before making a turn from Zagorodny Prospekt, so it would give us a chance to catch up to their rear boards with a kind of a hook that we invented. We’d attach a rope to it and that would let two, three, four, five boys at a time to hold to it while making some gigantic steps behind the trucks. Skating behind trucks was the way we started out our figure skating “universities”. We also used to do some kind of  “waves” that were considered very cool. Once, when a truck stopped, I fell down, a driver got out, caught me, taught me a lesson and tore off my skates. He then took them and drove away. 

 I also owe my parents for continuing my skating epic. Once, they were walking along the Nevsky Prospekt and noticed an ice sidewalk in the backyard of Anichkov Palace. Later, this tiny, primitive ice rink had become a place of Renaissance of Leningrad’s figure skating. Belousova/Protopopov and many other famous masters used to skate there. Nina Vasilievna Leplinskaya, one of the favorite students of Nikolay Panin, had been working there. I’m very grateful to this wonderful lady for giving me Panin’s  approach to figure skating from the very beginning. (Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin – First Russian Olympic Champion, 1908).

 Only later on I got to know the history of this wonderful ice rink around a flowerbed, but back then, my mom and dad liked it because there were many parents watching, and if there are many parents around- it’s a good thing. Anyway, my dad brought me there when I was fifteen. The people at the rink didn’t want to sign me up. After watching my skating they said: “He is too old, we don’t take such kids. But OK, only until spring.” That spring, I passed the test for the third level. That’s how skating behind trucks helped me to master inside and outside edge skills in ice skating. 

  My first coach was Leplinskaya. Then I began to train seriously with Maya Petrovna Belenkaya, a former partner of Igor Borisovich Moskvin. Together, they were the USSR champions twice. Then, Moskvin, became my coach. Anyway, Moskvin and Belenkaya were students of Alexander Borisovich Gandelsman.  I could sense his influence through them. Later he became my scientific advisor when I was working on my dissertation “Techniques and methods of teaching multiple revolution jumps in figure skating.” These were the difficult times when I couldn’t travel abroad and I put all my efforts into writing this book. He helped me, not only as my scientific advisor, but also as a friend and even like a father. This was a most enlightened person and a wonderful citizen that influenced the development of figure skating in St. Petersburg.

  When I was coached by Igor Borisovich Moskvin, his wife Tamara, was left without a partner in pairs. I have become their choice. I was the most suitable partner for her. Life proved it so. Our partnership went very smoothly. It was probably the first time in the Soviet Union and maybe even in the World that two successful single skaters started skating together in pairs. Before, only singles without the high potentials would end up trying themselves in pairs’ field. However, we already had all singles’ technical skills, and that’s why we adjusted that fast to skate in pairs.

  We‘ve been trying to prove ourselves in a society through the mastery on ice. Moskvina and I had a successful carrier because we didn’t keep skating until we were barely alive. We left sport being the World silver medalists and the USSR Champions, we left while being on the top of our carrier. Conflicts usually occur to those who are already on the way down. And besides, I don’t like conflicts and try to build my relationships with people on a friendly basis.

 Source: Sport 21