« Paradise showed me how to be a part of a team where it’s one for all, all for one. »

This Friday, we propose you to discover the world of Team Paradise with Alena (left on the picture). She has been skating in the team for 10 years (from season 2005-2006 to last summer). Interview.

Jura Synchro : When did your passion of synchro start ? 

Alena Mandzhieva : I’m from Saint-Petersburg and I started my synchro history here, in team Paradise, because in 2005 in Saint-Petersburg there was only Paradise team.

What did you learn with Paradise ? 

Alena Mandzhieva : Paradise showed me how does it feel to be part of the team where it was one for all, all for one. It taught me to be happy with the victories and not to give up after failures, chase a goal despite all difficulties and obstacles.

How is the atmosphere during the practices ? 

Alena Mandzhieva : In practices we have a generally friendly atmosphere, we try to support each other and help in difficult situations, even if they are not always about ice skating. Of course, sometimes we argue on some issues, but this kind of things happens in any work. The team tradition is to celebrate together the beginning and the end of the season, which helps us to create team memories and strengthen relationships within the team.

Could you present us the coach(es) of Team Paradise ? 

Alena Mandzhieva : Irina Yakovleva is a the head coach, she has been the permanent coach from the beginning. Before that, she was a soloist in Leningrad Ice Ballet during 24 years. Alexander Yakovlev is the second coach. He was soloist together with Irina Yakovleva  and when she started to work with the team, he joined her to work. They are Honored Artists of  RSFSR (part of USSR, now- Russia) and they are wife and husband. Elena Chernova is the assistant coach since 2012. She skated in Paradise since 1996 until 2012. Team Paradise also works with the choreographer Sergey Zimin (since 2014), who was a soloist in Eifman Ballet before that, and with a coach for physical preparation. He’s name is Alexander Kapitonov and he has been working with us since 2005.

Could you describe how you were coached in Paradise ?

Alena Mandzhieva : On the ice, during the work process, our coach was very energetic and creative. She always tried to come up with some new steps sequences to improve our skating skills. Sometimes she invited some specialists, who helped us with acting skills and ballroom dancing. She’s always doing a lot to improve our performance and to help us to become the top team in the world.

What’s your most amazing moment with the team ? 

Alena Mandzhieva : I have two the most amazing moments with Team Paradise. First, the moment when we won short program at the World Synchronized Skating Championships 2012 in Gothenburg, Sweden. It was incredible feelings and we were very surprised. The second amazing moment is when we won the bronze medal in at the World Synchronized Skating Championships 2015 in Hamilton, Canada. I remember that we skated very well our free program, but we didn’t expect that we will be on the podium. We dressed and watched the end of competition at the front of the TV near the warm up areas. And when we saw the results of the last team who skated, we can’t believe it ! We screamed and jumped and our coach hurried us to get dressed to be ready for the victory ceremony ! 

Paradise is going well this season, the team has already won several international competitions. What did the team change ? 

Alena Mandzhieva : I think that after the bronze medal in 2015 at the World Synchronized Skating Championships, the girls started to believe in themselves much more. And success inspires. They started to work harder for the main aim : to be the winners.

Do you think that Paradise could be the 2016 World Champions for the first time ? 

Alena Mandzhieva : Yes, of course. During the whole season, we’ve seen their beautiful skating and high scores. I suppose that if they skate with their power, nobody will beat them.

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