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Post: Instinct not to be defeated: would you like to figure skating without Mikhail Kolyada?


The performances of one of the leaders of the national team, Mikhail Kolyada, were uneven in the first half of the season – the perfect hire was replaced by mistakes. This instability led to a new wave of harsh criticism of the figure skater among experts, requests to end her career, and accusations of weak character.

RIA Novosti Sport discusses the possible nature of Kolyada’s mistakes, his downfall and his transformation from a cheerful man to a cold skeptic. Also about the fact that society doesn’t know how to save talent and that can cost us dearly.

I’ve seen dogs at animal shelters. Of course they don’t get there happy – at first they take offense for a long time. They do not feed, they beat, they wander and leave to die. Sometimes they are given to dog fights or feeding stations, where they become the object of aggression or show aggression and are rescued from (or have no time to) rescue by animal rights activists.

Everything that happens affects the character seriously – even the most cheerful and tailed dogs become like their own shadow. An interesting fact: for some time the dog still tries to resist and attack, and sometimes completely unaddressed, from the instinct not to be swallowed, and then from inertia. But at some point his strength to fight runs out, and then he lies in a corner, quiet and indifferent to everything.

After that, the landscape can change from a gray fence to a soft sofa – nothing changes for the dog. Because his belief in himself and in something good that could happen to him has been lost. Like Mowgli in front of Shere Khan, you can pat him on the head, poke him with a stick or jump on his nose with a lit torch – he will now be equally indifferent to him. Sticks and torches he’s never seen in his life – no caress will heal after that.

Animals and humans have a lot in common in this sense. If you systematically light a light bulb on a dog before dinner, he will start producing saliva for a lit bulb. If a person is beaten systematically, he will develop a nervous tic when he waves his hand, even if that hand slaps a mosquito instead of on the cheek. If a person is constantly told that he is a camel … You’ll understand.

When Mikhail Kolyada finished the final spin in the free program at the Moscow Stars Grand Prix, and then, with a face whiter than a medical mask, bowed before the audience and awaited the kiss and the side markers, you could read it all. In his eyes Everything means everything, the end. I haven’t seen such smug eyes on skaters in a long time, maybe never before. After the defeat in the team tournament at the 2018 Olympics, Mikhail’s own words “I shot myself with a machine gun” became concrete and absolute.

If you see such emptiness on someone’s face without the pollution of hope – do not cross, see, help. Then I wanted to overcome all obstacles, scatter the officers in the arena and shout to Misha: “Stop! You won’t even get to the end of the season if you keep killing yourself like this!”

Mikhail may have reasons to be upset, but there is no reason to kill himself. After a stylish short program and a near-space score of 102 points, there was a drop from a quad fur coat, a built-in and a pair of fur coats in a cascade in the free program. Only third place in the total of the two programs.

Tasteless, maybe even bad, but not deadly. Sometimes everyone makes mistakes, but only Kolyada is not aggressively forgiven by the public. And it seems that he fell into a trap, where the desire not to fall from a jump at all costs has the opposite effect – Misha falls. And the desire to return the required number of revolutions at all costs also leads to the opposite – it does not twist. And then he’s even more afraid of falling and not being bent, and so on in a vicious circle.

Of course, he really wanted to glide cleanly. Naturally, he didn’t want to fall off the sheepskin – it hurts and causes loss of points. Of course, he only tried to enliven Schnittke’s music as best he could and make it visible to the audience and the judges – all this air flowing between black and white gloves was shaped during Kolyada’s rental. He wanted to please his coach, his wife, his parents, his fans, and finally himself – when he’s had white sparks in his eyes for years, it’s good to see good results.

Nobody wants to look bad and not deal with the case and then wipe themselves out of the avalanche of criticism and swallow the insult that you can’t answer to anyone who sees you as a spineless nothing. Therefore, it is best to lie down in a corner and wait for the procession with sticks and torches to pass and move on to another. Approximately in this situation – morally cornered at last – I saw Mikhail Kolyada at the Grand Prix in Moscow.

You say: why are you exaggerating so much? Why is there a parallel between a grown man doing his job and being paid for it, and stray dogs? What is this speculation about pity? I’ll explain: if you don’t exaggerate, it’s unbelievable. If you don’t swing the pendulum of sensuality, perception, and empathy, the athlete will hang in the middle between a Spartan, a samurai, and a Buddhist monk. And do not deviate from this role, even for a leaf of sakura.

Such combinations are rarely found even in nature – very cool and interesting characters. But now there are others – vulnerable, cunning, shy, thoughtful. And believe it or not, they’re also top-notch athletes, but sometimes they find themselves in difficult situations that are difficult to deal with because of the nature of their psyche.

You can encourage journalists, experts, commentators, and fans to be more restrained for a long time, or at least to approach skaters with the same rulers when measuring their strengths and weaknesses, but it doesn’t help. Why is the Olympic drama drama and even tragedy for one, embarrassing and “out of business” for the other? Why are some people’s mistakes perceived as “it happens but I tried”, while others are perceived as “damn, stop banging your ass on the ice”?

With such unfair expectations and realizing that he was wrong again, Mikhail had only one way to get out of that kiss and the edge – to end his career. I wouldn’t be surprised if they think like that. It’s good that a trusting relationship with the coach helps him find a way out of a dark room where only one skate nail remains from all the furniture.

It is important to understand that Mikhail Kolyada and Alexei Mishin did not experience crises. They have common problems – Misha’s instability, which has grown somewhere from the depths of overgrown fears and past failures. Although the problem is not easy, it can be solved. Kolyada’s participation in the jumping tournament as a team is a good sign in this sense. There is a common joy – Kolyada’s plastic genius and Mishin’s ability to streamline any chaos brings the same dancing angels to the tip of the needle. Here, art mixes with sports, taking the trio to a much more serious height than Axel’s. Not everything can be rated on a scale from -5 to +5 and broken down into four difficulty levels – Kolyada and skating are a clear example of this.

Imagine Mikhail Kolyada ending his career. As his most ardent critics wanted, he openly admitted that he had offended them with his weaknesses for years, finally releasing the ice he had unjustly occupied. Since Kolyada has been considered the personification of all the troubles of men’s singles skating in Russia for the past five years, grace and a shower of gold should come after his departure!

But there will be no such thing. Because surprise, absolutely all skaters do fall and “butterflies” from time to time – and new hopes and old leaders. Crooked ascents, missing turns, lack of stamina or concentration, choreography issues, lack of discipline – everyone has their own unique traits and positive qualities as well as problems.

When Mikhail Kolyada really decides to quit the sport, figure skating will become even poorer for a great artist, so I personally want to postpone this moment for as long as possible. There are no longer such people as Kolyada, not only in Russia, but all over the world. It’s funny that the title of responsible “loser” for single men in this situation falls on someone else’s shoulders. It will always be like this until we stop directing all our athletes to two ideological lines – “Yagudin / Plushenko” and “15-year-old champions”.

The era of the great and invincible Alexei Yagudin and Evgeni Plushenko has passed and will not happen again. Now men of a different character, technique, schedule and motivation are performing. They are not worse and better than Yagudin and Plushenko, they are just different. They have successes, they have failures, but in general it is a sin for us to complain about our team – you can find an object of sympathy for every taste and more than one reason to rejoice in victories.

And when it comes to 15-year-old champions, even 17-year-old champions sometimes can’t compare to their 15-year-old themselves, the rest aside. That is, in principle, no one needs to be compared with them – they are the exception, not the rule. There are difficult periods, and this is a minus. They definitely pass, and that’s a plus.

I myself, I must admit, do not know Mikhail, who for the past few years has come to mixed territory with journalists: monosyllabic answers, as if coldness and even insolence. I saw and knew him completely differently – a cheerful, open and smiling man with a perfectly suspended language and sense of humor. He is ready not only to get his best friend in trouble, but also to help a foreign journalist who came to him for an interview. It’s a pity that bait stations (the root is “bait”) leave such deep scars even on those who seem invincible like the sun.

My literature teacher liked to repeat a line from a poem by the poet Lev Ozerov, with all due respect I only half agree with the poet: “Talent needs help, mediocrity passes by itself.” The part after the comma, I think, from the part before the comma, is to hit the hand with a baseball bat with good intentions. There isn’t enough goodwill in the world already – they need to be protected. No need to oppose talents with abstract mediocrity – this is such an offensive word, a kind of “shame” little sister.

The ability to discern talent, appreciate it and treat it with care – this is what we need. In the case of Mikhail Kolyada, it seems that we are not yet able to cope with this installation.

Source: Ria

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