Turning professional: new views on sport

Q: Alexei, after the exhibitions you said that you are not, actually, saying "good bye" to your fans but "see you soon." Does it mean that we will see you in amateur competitions?

-It's really sad that pro events are not shown in Russia. Actually, I have already participated in two of them and I can't do the amateur competition  anymore. 

Q: How did it go?

- If you mean the results, it went really well: I won my first pro event in America. As for the skating itself, it wasn't bad but it wasn't as good as I wanted .it to be. I didn't have programs that would suit pro competition. They should be different.

Q: How do the pro events differ from eligible ones? 

-  They are different in everything. For example, more then 30 skaters participate in Europeans and Worlds but there are only 4 or 5 in a pro competition. Pro events are shorter and they have their own rules that are less restirctive.  Right now I know exactly what I need to compete in pro.

Q: Do the magic, for example?

- Now there are so many tournaments in figure skating that never existed before. It means more competitions, more programs, more music. It also means that skaters should be more creative, find some unexpected effects. I believe, the magic is one of them. 

Q: Who is going to work with you on the new programs?

-We'll keep up our working relations with Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin in any case. As for my programs, I'll continue working with the same choreographers: Edvald Arnoldovich Smirnov, Evgeny Dmitrievich Serezhnikov, Masha Bolshakova. They are remarkable masters and it's easy to work with them. 

Q: Edvald Smirnov has recently choreographed a new show. Didn't he invite you in it? Would you be interested to try it "on the parquet"?

- No, he didn't so far. They will probably call me when they see me walking on the ice.

Q: Does the fact you turned pro mean that you are already satisfy your desire to win everything and everywhere?

-I still want to win but now it's different. I probably won't be upset if I skate well but don't win. It's less responsibility. There is, though, one especially prestigious event, World pro, that I have not yet participated in. I am going to skate there in the middle of December and then we'll see what it is. 

Q: Don't you have any plans to organize any shows in Russia?

- I would love to delight our audience with many exhibitions. We can see how huge the interest is nowhere else the GP event gathers that many people. Let's hope that we'll do it someday. Right now my time doesn't let me to take such responsibilities. You have either be a producer or to skate. 

Q: Whom are you going to root for at Worlds?

- Our whole team. All of them are just great, all of them fight and win, even though, it's getting more and more complicated every year. I don't want to single out anyone, so I won't offend others.

Filipp Sosnovsky, Izvestia, November '99