Maxim Kovtun: “A high-level athlete should be ready for any situation”

Maxim, one night passed after your victory in the Grand Prix. Perhaps now you can talk about your experience more calmly?

A first start  is a first start. It is necessary in order to find weak points in the programmes and so on. Unfortunately, this year it turned out that we did not have any starts before the Grand Prix. I was softening my skating boots during the whole month, one pair after another. Actually, it’s a real feat for me to  soften the boots. It’s very difficult for me and it takes me long. And this time I had to speed up. We wasted much nerves, time and energy because of this rush.

But anyway, the first start  is already behind us. Maybe it was not the best start for me because I showed 40 percent of what I could. However, we could find all the weak pints, I received new  experience related to the incident, which had taken place.

You said that you did not see the collision and did not know what was happening.

When it happened, I tried to disconnect from what was going on. The coach tried to distract me, but in my thoughts, I still returned  back. It was hard. However, I do not want to attribute everything to force majeure. A high-level athlete should be ready for any situation. So I will get myself  prepared to be ready for anything.

When the warm-up time was shortened, the athletes were taken to the dressing room. What was going on there at the time?

We did not sit in the dressing room, we were walking along the corridors. Walking and walking… It seemed that this expectation will last forever. And before going on the ice time is painted on minutes. Everybody is getting ready and psych up. And suddenly it all got mixed up …

Anyway, this is your first victory at the Grand Prix. What does it mean to you?

To me, this victory means that all the work that has been done, was not in vain. There were many disputes and nerves. We even wanted to withdraw from this Grand Prix.

Really?

Yes. There were moments when it seemed that we were not going anywhere, because there wasn’t enough time to prepare. During the last week and a half we were doing everything with a great effort, but we came prepared. At the training sessions here I did well. We even competed with Yuzuru in the quadruple jumps and we performed them easily.

And when he came out to the start, I became overwhelmed with excitement. I was thinking the wrong things.

The next stage will take place in France and you have already said that you would make adjustments to the program.

Yes, we will place triple axel after the quadruple in the short programme. We will make a lot of changes in the free programme as well. We skated these programmes at the training sessions  mostly with errors. At that stage we did not set  the task of performing everything clean. We just had to skate the programmes on and on. We did not take into consideration the fact that ‘I was dying’ or that I wasn’t doing something, we were just speeding up the preparations.

And at these competitions realized what needed to be changed in the programmes, not to ease them, but to rearrange. Everything should be in place, then it will be easier to handle.

I think that I will perform four quadruple jumps  in my programmes – two in the short programme and two  in the free programme, because last year there were starts, where I skated programmes with two quadruple jumps, easily and cleanly, and scored high points. Perhaps in the future I will return to the three quadruple jumps in the free programme. At the training sessions I landed them constantly. However three quadruple jumps take too much energy. But nevertheless in the future will try to perform three of them.

You said that you will now rearrange the elements… But did you not feel uncomfortable when skating the programme?

I thought that maybe I could skate it this way, but, it turns out, that I was wrong. Maybe I would have skated the programme better in  case of force majeure, but when I went out they were cleaning the ice. I was skating for about ten minutes waiting to be announced. These minutes lasted for a lifetime …

Will you please tell us why you took the music of Ravel’s Bolero this season. It is used by many skaters?

Originally I did not want to take this music.

Why?

I just did not know if I could handle it. It is difficult  in terms of rhythm. You have to move to the beat. You must feel this music. And at first things didn’t work out. I simply did not understand it at all. When Peter was showing, everything seemed easy, but I couldn’t do anything …

Did Peter Chernyshev suggest to choose Bolero?

All coaches suggested it – Yelena Vodorezova, Tatyana Tarasova,  Peter and Irina Tagaeva. They all unanimously declared that  Bolero was exactly what was needed this year.

We took Once in America for the free programme. We began to work on the programme, but  when it was half finished we realized that it was all wrong. I loved this music, but the programme lacked final ending. And then we together with Peter began to listen to music on his player. We listened to everything and anything. We    listened and listened… Suddenly we heard Muse and we decided to try. It turned out unusual. We began to stage the program with great enthusiasm! And then Tatyana Tarasova came. Everybody was worried what she would say. However she liked it. A little later similar opinion was expressed by the judges. I showed raw material to them because the programme was set up the day before their arrival. However, they have approved everything.

And then the work began. We have worked on this programme and added luster to it for a very long time.

You had a very interesting costume in this programme. Please, tell me how it was made.

This unusual pattern on my suit was taken from the cover of the Muse album. It’s like space.

And to me it looked like a church stained glass window.

You see, everybody has different associations. Hence it turned out interesting. Although at first I did not like the costume. But then I looked closer and realized that everything was OK.