Ice show in celebration of Alexei Nikolayevich Mishinâ€™s 70th birthday
By Vicky Azhoychik
Photos © Natasha Ponarina
On the 8th of March one of the most famous people in the figure skating world, an honoured Russian coach, professor Alexei Nikolayevich Mishin celebrated his 70th birthday on the ice at Ubileiny Sport Palace in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
His valuable contribution to figure skating is enormous, and it was he who trained heroes of previous Olympic games, such as Alexei Yagudin (before he moved to team Tatiana Tarasova), Alexei Urmanov and, of course, Evgeni Plushenko.
Mishin continues to be an outstanding coach. In the past he was a well-known figure skater and skated in pairs with Tamara Moskvina. Together they won the USSR title and were the medallists at the European and World championships.
Therefore it is not surprising that this gentleman who gave all his life to figure skating decided to celebrate such a significant event on the ice.
The whole ice arena was filled with people coming to congratulate Mishin. Many of his pupils of all ages, from children to men who stopped skating decades ago came to celebrate with him.
By the way, it is no secret that Alexei Nikolayevich prefers to develop champions from childhood by on his own. His wife Tatiana Mishina, also a former figure skater, helps him to train little athletes.
The evening show was opened by an 8 year old pupil of Mishinâ€™s.
Then Alexei Urmanov proved with his skating that he is still in good shape.
Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, a young rising star who recently took the silver medal at World Junior Championships, performed her short program of this season which is called â€śHaremâ€ť.
Katarina Gerboldt and Alexander Enbert performed a beautiful and lyrical program to the live singing of Russian opera diva Larisa Lusta. This season Katarina, who had been trained by Mishin as a single skater for many years, now skates in pairs with Alexander. They have already achieved success after only several months of their union.
A warm audience greeted Stephane Lambiel and Johnny Weir.
Alexei Nikolayevich helped Stephane to improve his jumps and tonight Lambiel performed â€śLa Traviataâ€ť and his famous special spins.
Johnny skated excellently, to an emotional program â€śHeartbrokenâ€ť.
After it he congratulated Alexei Nikolayevich and also spoke in Russian:
â€śThank you for your champions. You are my hero.â€ť
In the second part of show, skaters performed to the live singing of the winner of Eurovision contest Dima Bilan. Among them was Artur Gachinski who will be the only Russian male free skater at the forthcoming World Championships [now cancelled in Japan].
To perfect this great evening was the appearance of perhaps the most famous Mishin pupil, Evgeni Plushenko.
Unfortunately, he felt a little unwell but he managed to skate and perform positive emotions to his coach and the audience.
Also in the show were Konstantin Menshov, Alena Leonova, Ksenia Makarova, Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov.
After the end of the show there was a storm of applause that lasted about ten minutes. It was amazing night in warm, friendly atmosphere with a sea of flowers, kind words and smiles. I and all who attended this incredible event were deeply touched with it.