Alexei was born on March 18, 1980, when St. Petersburg still was Leningrad
and before Gorbachov, Perestrojka and Glasnost changed The Soviet Union
One day when Alexei was about four years old, his mother, Zoya passed
by a poster near the famous Yubilejniy Ice Rink, remembering the wise
words from the doctor about preventing illness from children, Zoya assigned
her son to attend skating lessons. Alexei shortly showed signs of talent.
Years went by and many hours each day of practice gave results, Alexei
Mishin opened his eyes for the young prodigy and invited him to join forces.
As Alexei grew, his potential only became more visible, at the age of
14 he placed fourth in the world junior championship, two years later
he won it. And Alexei had only begun to scent the sweet taste of victory.
The following season he entered the Senior skating scene, winning all
of his ISU Champions Series (now The ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating)
assignments, placing fourth in the Final and made his first ever major
win by taking home the gold in the European Championship, which made him
a candidate for the gold in the greatest competition of them all, the
Olympics! But then disaster struck, Alexei became ill. Alexei wanted to
go ahead anyway, and entered the free skate with a temperature of 40°C!
In the end he couldn't compete at the same level as he usually did, but
he fought hard and well and in the end, managed to finish 5th! Just a
few weeks later, he would show the world that he was not to be forgotten!
While celebrating his 18th birthday, he would capture his first gold medal
in the world championship.
A few weeks after climbing down from the podium, Alexei decided to leave
Alexei Mishin, even with his outstanding results, he had to share attention
with a new student of Mishin; Evgeni Plushenko. In the end of the day,
Alexei felt that he wasn't given the attention he needed and deserved
from his coach. As the new world champion he could easily choose any coach
in the world, and he was not going to settle for just anyone. His choice
fell upon Tatiana Tarasova, a world famous coach who had coached many
champions in the past, ...and she was Russian.
Finally he rang her up asking if she would coach him. Tarasova was thrilled
over the idea, but remained calm and asked him if he had told Mishin,
something he hadn't done yet. Tarasova told Alexei that she would gladly
coach him but if she was to do that he had to at least tell Mishin that
he was leaving. She asked him also to reflect upon the action he was about
to take, and how it could affect his career. The following day Alexei
called her up. Since Tarasova was located in the USA, Alexei had to leave
his homeland behind, along with his mother Zoya and his grandmother, who
had raised him.
While Mishin had given Alexei a wonderful technical base, Alexei did not
have that extra artistic expression, and Tarasova decided to use whatever
artistry he already had and find some more. The short program and long
program of the following season was going to show that with her guidance
Alexei was going to become a complete figure skater. The short program
was to circus music that made Alexei dig deep and find his inner clown,
pretending to juggle and throwing pai, something that charmed both the
judges and the crowd, and perhaps caught the commentators and critics
somewhat off guard.
Except for the Russian National Championship, Alexei won everything on
his way through the 98/99 season. (Much thanks to his circus routine but
mostly because of his wonderful free program to the music of Lawrence
of Arabia.) By the end of the season he could add another WCH gold to
his collection. Yet another gold during the 99/00, but he lost his euros
gold to his old rival Plushenko, and made a switch of free program just
before worlds from Broken arrow to Tosca and recaptured the gold.
The 2000/2001 season Alexei was all set to take back the euros title and
add another gold from worlds to his collection, but injuries and a whole
series of misfortunes came in his way and Alexei would have to watch both
the euros and worlds title go to Plushenko.
Off to the Olympics! The 2001/2002 season came, and after a change in
diet and 18 lbs lost Alexei had a rough landing at the Goodwill Games
where he had a close encounter with the boards. But when the ISU GP series
started, he was back on track and won everything in his way. Giving him
a golden opportunity at the Olympic gold medal. The world had its eyes
on him when he finally climbed the top of the Olympic podium, and euphoria
The story doesn't end there, just a short while after he climbed down
the podium he won his fourth gold medal at the world championship...
.... The story continues........