Photo by Justine Chiu

With the start of the 2nd ISU Grand Prix event in Mississauga, Ontario less than a week away, I thought it would be fun to catch up with 2011 Junior World Men’s champion Andrei Rogozine who is slated for his senior GP debut at Skate Canada.

The first thing I noticed was Andrei’s energy and openness and quick smile when we sat down to chat after a practice session at his suburban Toronto home training base, the Richmond Training Centrre.

His start in skating came after seeing Olympic Champion Alexei Yagudin on television where he was intrigued by the champion’s huge jumps, his power and his interesting and creative programs. Andrei found his way to the rink where he has been coached by one of his two coaches, Inga Zusev from the very beginning. Andrei says that he has skated at lots of different clubs along the way and has also picked up Alexei Berezintsev as an additional coach.This season’s choreographers are Shae-Lynn Bourne, who created his ‘modern classical’ short program and Carol Lane and Juris Razgulaevs who choreographed his free program to Spanish music. Andrei’s self perpective is: “I am sometimes lazy but I work really hard.” He describes the gift that skating  has offered him: “It helps me become motivated and determined to achieve a certain task. I take this really seriously.” He is a young man very focused on skating but it isn’t all serious: “Fun for me is jumping and I also like competing. I love the fact that I am getting to travel the world.” This is no doubt one of the advantages of being a good competitive skater. Andrei is excited to not only be competing at Skate Canada this season but he will also be competing at the Rostelecom Cup of Russia.  This event will have particular significance for the 18 yr old as it will be the first time he will go back to Russia, where he was born, since leaving the country as a five year old.  His goals for the season are to finish in the top 5 at both Grand Prix events and to be one of the two Canadian men heading to Senior Worlds in Nice, France in March 2012.

As part of his training, he heads to the gym and additionally does some running. He has also been known to do back to back run throughs of his programs where sometimes the focus is not so much the jumps but rather the training.

Keeping on top of his game is essential obviously in preparation for competition: “It’s certainly nerve wracking to compete, but it’s what I am trained to do. I am always nervous before my first jump but then I concentrate on skating the best that I can.”

Closer to home, Andrei is focusing on finishing his last semester of high school online and says that he is a biology/science guy as far as his favourite subjects are concerned. He is very much like any other Canadian kid who enjoys video games and goofing around with his golden retriever Axel. With great pride, he fills me in on the move to Newmarket from Richmond Hill that he and his Mom are making to a new house whose downpayment was partly made with  prize money Andrei earned from competing..

As for the future, Andrei makes no predictions but would love to be at the olympics in Sochi in 2014 and in Korea in 2018, where he won his junior world title.

Andrei says he is concentrating on “now” and as far as being in the senior ranks,

“now” is almost here.


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