Hi all! We're Masha and Maxim. In the first edition, we'll talk about how season preparation in America. The summer was full of events and emotions.
Maria Mukhortova: We spent three weeks in Chicago. We lived with an American family that had two children, a boy and a girl of about 13. I am an only child myself, and I was always curious what it would be like to have a brother or a sister. How do they communicate? Are they friends? Those kids were inseparable, they're together always and everywhere; they even skate together, slowly learning pair skating. They are very friendly and fun. We'd play ping pong and watch movies with them.
The house also had three dogs. Maxim loves dogs and would often play with them. Me, though, I've always feared dogs, and here there were three! I guess they felt it, because every morning when I got down from my room into the hall, the dogs would await me by the staircase, encircle me, and start growling, not letting me pass. With time, we got used to each other, and I even petted them. In short, we were hosted well, but we didn't spend much time at home, just mornings and nights.
Maxim Trankov: Our day would start at seven in the morning. By eight we'd leave home because we had to be at the practice by 9:15, and the commute took about an hour. Masha and I rented a red Pontiac, and on our first day we got lost. It's hard when you don't know the way, and we drove on the same toll road three times. Someone, every time we'd end back on it, and the GPS navigator I used wasn't much help. Later, though, I memorized the way, and we'd get to the rink with no problems.
The first 45 minutes of hour practices were devoted to general conditioning. In a word, we'd run around the lake. Boy, how we hated it!
Maria: The lake was very large, about two kilometers. Every morning, we had to circle it twice, doing lifts in the process no less! In addition, it was hot and humid... It was very tough.
Maxim: Yeah, it really was tough. Then, we'd go to the rink, and then to the choreography class. Then there would be a two hour break, and then it would be the same thing all over again - general conditioning, ice, choreography. We'd only be free by seven in the evening. Luckily, the rink had Wi-Fi.
I took my notebook with me, and chat on the net with my family and friends. On the ice, Masha and I spent a lot of time working on the twist lift to make it to level three, though we haven't accomplished this yet. Our programs this season are completely new, and they have enough new elements - lifts we haven't done before, and a new side-by-side spin in the short program. Most elements in the short program are new, and we have rather interesting footwork in the free, though we had to work hard on that.
Maria: One of our days off, we went with our coach Oleg Vasiliev to Cirque du Soleil performance. It was something! We had great seats, and I was enraptured the whole first act - the way the show is put together, the costumes, the music... Second act featured comedy, and during one of the numbers a artist dressed as a dog came out. He entertained the audience by going into the first rows. Suddenly, he came to our seats, lifted a leg like a dog, and "marked the territory"! Obviously, he did that with water. Maxim somehow managed to get away, but I was wet from head to tow. My hairdo, my dress - it was all ruined, as was my mood.
Max and Oleg Kimovich had a nice laugh, but I was too upset - it's not too nice to sit through the whole program in a wet dress. Then, though, when the show was over, I was taken to a room where I got to dry my dress and pull myself together; after that, they invited us to go behind the scene to see Cirque du Soleil from inside. It was very interesting to see how they worked with lights and music, and to see the backdrops. Then, the guy who performed in the dog costume came up. Turns out he's Russian! I chose me on purpose when he guessed we were also from Russia. He said that Russians just can't miss each other. It was very interesting, and we just did not want to leave the circus tent.
Maxim: The last two days, we helped Oleg Kimovich with his seminar in what's called Adult Skaters. Those are not professional athletes, but those who do it for themselves. They're adult, too! It's rather popular in America, and they even have their competitions. Last year we already worked at such a seminar, but nevertheless it's always interesting because you always find out much new, and acquire new experience.
I think I am successful in teaching some things at those practices. Those people - "adult" - inspire much respect. They try to do difficult lifts and other complicated elements. They put up with great physical stress. Yet they do it consciously even though they could just lounge on a sofa in front of the TV.
Maria: I also think this experience is very helpful for us. You see others' mistakes, you show them how to correct it, and you thus filter it through yourself. I worked with a pair where both partners were rather weak on their own, but tried skating in a pair nonetheless. As a result, just two days later they were already doing a lift at the chest level, a simplified death spiral, a single twist lift, and a single throw. Everyone was shocked! I, too, was surprised, I didn't expect it to work so well. On the other hand, coaching work is very difficult, both physically and emotionally. It's hard to pass everything you need to on to the athlete. So far, I'm not so sure I want to coach later on.
After the seminar, we finally returned to Peter - we missed our home, and our family and friends a lot.