Russia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and the United States... these are all countries that have played host to one young skater's unreal talent. 22 year old Misha Ge from Uzbekistan cannot only lay down one killer triple axel and speak three different languages - his dynamic, exciting and larger than life choreography has turned heads around the world. He can dance... he can MOVE... he can perform for an audience in a way that few skaters in this world have dared to do and he definitely has something special and very unique that makes you stop and take notice. It has paid off too! In his third trip to the Four Continents and World Figure Skating Championships, Ge finished 11th and 16th respectively (his best finish at Worlds yet), earning his country a men's entry at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia that he seems destined to fill. Misha was kind enough to take the time from his busy schedule to talk skating, dance and share his wonderful opinions on what's going on in the sport right now:
Q: With your result at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships, you earned your country a spot at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. What are your ultimate goals when it comes to competitive skating and this season?
A: I'm very happy and proud to earn a spot for Uzbekistan and for our country's figure skating team. I was first of winter sports athlete from Uzbekistan who get 2014 Sochi Olympic qualification. For me, always have goal: "Do best what I can" and "improve a little every time". For me, to be part of Olympics is a great opportunity and I'm very happy to be part of it. So this season, goal is to do my best and improve since last season.
Q: Have you developed new competitive programs for this season? How has training been going and what can you tell us about your new programs?
A: We do have work on different concepts and genres and it will different compare last year. Programs done as always by young choreographer Misha Ge with his choreographer help Larisa Ge (my Mom). Last year one of my programs was funny and this year it will be complete opposite with of one of the programs "serious and sadness" . We do have some creative ideas for season, but its in progress and under the secret for now.
Q: What about jumping? How are things going in that regard?
A: I came to China for few months for ice shows, TV activities, entertainment practice and to visit grandparents. I'm here training in good condition with some of Chinese national team athletes and coaches. The working of difficulties is on triple axel and quads right now. I will do my best to work on it and improve but we will do "one step at the time" little by little to go up.
Q: You were born in Russia and have lived in China (and also represented China in competition), Hong Kong and Taiwan, represent Uzbekistan and train in the U.S. How have different cultures most influenced your life and skating?
A: Its very different. Every country have they own unique style, cultures, habits, people, life and so many, many other things. It's not easy to live and train in so many different and very opposite countries with different everything. But its a great experience to learn best things from each country and combine them all together and make MGStyle.
Q: With the Olympics being held in Russia and the blatant homophobia and lack of gay rights being demonstrated by the Russian government, there are many concerns about athletes facing discrimination at the Sochi games. What are your thoughts when it comes to this?
A: I cannot judge who's right who's wrong about rules but I will say that no matter of your sexual orientation and especially on the sport events for athletes and especially world biggest Olympic Games everyone should be equal, and if judge someone by their sexual orientation on the worlds sports spirit event I think it's not right.
Q: Your creativity, musicality and dancing skills are in a class of their own! Where did you first learn to dance and what is your favourite style of dance, on and off the ice?
A: MGStyle! You know I dance since I am little. Still remember when I was little my Mom and Dad play good rhythm music and I start moving to it. I guess there is where I start to dance. What kind of music I like to dance? Everything! As long as music make my body move, I'm ready to dance!
Q: What skaters do you most enjoy watching and draw inspiration from artistically?
A: If put them all together, I guess will be huge list. But few of my favorites is: Alexei Yagudin, Evgeni Plushenko, Jeffrey Buttle, Johnny Weir, Kurt Browning, Emanuel Sandhu and Daisuke Takahashi.
Q: If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 people and 3 things would you most like to be stranded with?
A: Well, 3 person: I hope God can be with me. And my Mom and Dad. 3 things: Bible, music (for dance) and ice rink!
Q: What is the nicest compliment and/or gift you've ever received from one of your fans?
A: Compliments... they are too many and I want thanks to my fans for that. Gifts them are many too. I'm not on that level like top star skating stars yet but some of my fans are very sweet with their gifts. Few times I get jewelry of silver, gold, items of some luxury brands and many other things. Thanks my fans for all kind of their sweet gifts!
Q: How can ISU eligible skating evolve and change to become more contemporary, entertaining and relevant to a younger generation?
A: You know, it's a very hard question. During these years, I been travel a lot and been on many competition and heard many things and ideas about changes and improvements for system from skaters, coaches, judges and fans. It's hard to say which particular part should be changed but I think here few things i want to say. Figure skating is a sport but is also one of the sport which is also is an art. It is an incredibly beautiful and artistic sport of all kinds. The creative and artistic figure skating was use to be (if you take a look on videos from 1970-2000s)... Stadiums was full packed, audience was so much to enjoy it, programs was not that difficult but was so enjoy to watch no matter if you know about skating or you don't. Anyone can got so much enjoyment and inspiration of it - style, moves, programs are so creative and so many other things you can said about that time. Now time, we do have new system and it's good. It's good that it push as to work on all around skills in our programs. But same time there many things are holding us to make this sport incredibly beautiful, unique and futuristic. For last years we start having less and less audience on the competitions. We start having less spots and countries on big events. We start having less sponsors and TV broadcasting of figure skating. We start having less prize money but skating training itself get more and more expensive. We start have less ice shows around the world. But skating itself because new all-round system get more expensive because now you can't only have one coach you need 2, 3 - maybe 5 - people to work with you. Аnd now, we start to have less and less people in the world doing skating because few reason I just write above. Most of us skaters during programs are thinking all about how to get most of points on our performances, impress judges and make things that judges like to get more points but don't care about audience anymore. Because new system make everyone calculating every element and points, everyone start doing same things. If we start make it more creative or more new and unique we start losing points, because it might be easier - newer and enjoyable moves but not on the list of the rules. At the end, audience are saying "when we come to watch skating, everyone is the same. You cannot see difference like use to be, before in old times everyone was so different and unique in their own way". Then, let's find ways to keep it all around system but with new ideas to make it more popular and make more audience, and then audience will bring more popularity to this sport. There is many many things we can keep saying and discussing, but what I want to said that. I wish we all together can bring some more ideas for improvement to bring back popularity of figure skating and make it even then before it was. Try find creative ideas, rules and opportunities for more countries and new generations of skaters to get involved to this beautiful sport. Find ways to make skating popular so we can have more audience, more TV, entertainment companies and sponsors that will want to work with us and will help us to increase popularity of figure skating.
That's what I think and trust me - not only me. After many years of skating and travel and compete around the world I heard so many, many people thinking same way I just said. Sorry to everyone, but I hope you had understand my idea. Not hate please. I said all of this #4ImproveFutureSk8. Love you all. Thank you!
Q: If you could change something about the world, what would it be?
A: I hope people in this world will be more nicer, and do more good things to everyone.
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