When news broke in the fall of 2021 that Artur Dmitriev, Jr. – the eldest son of two-time Olympic pairs champion Artur Dmitriev – was changing countries and planning to represent the United States, everyone was taken by surprise. .
Dmitriev Jr. had represented his Russian homeland for almost a decade, but at the end of 2018 he suddenly disappeared from the skating radar. Behind the scenes, he was struggling with injuries and health issues that started “a long time ago, before Sochi in 2014. I broke my leg and had a very serious ligament injury in my foot. I had to undergo a long operation and rehabilitation. After 2018, I decided to take a break,” he explained.
“The first reason was that my body was tired and inside I felt like I needed rest. I worked with doctors and physiotherapists to try and get back the power I had before. The second reason is that I was changing federation. I’m actually grateful for this period because I was able to regain the power of my body and I feel much younger than I did three years ago. So overall I think it worked very well for me.
Almost three years after his last international outing for Russia, Dmitriev switched federations to represent the United States, a country he had lived in for seven years as a child. “When my father retired in 1998, my parents moved to the United States. He performed in shows and my mother worked as a choreographer with Sasha Cohen and Sarah Hughes. We have lived here long enough to obtain citizenship. I don’t have any legal issues,” the 29-year-old said.
“I haven’t trained with my father since 2018 and now I work with my wife (Ekaterina Ukolova, a former Russian figure skater whom he married in August 2020). In Russia I was not considered an athlete promising. I received an offer from the American federation and I thought it was a good option.
In his first event on US soil in September, Dmitriev finished third and qualified for the 2022 US Championships.
Three months later, he played his first national championships in Nashville, placing 12and in a field of 14 in the short program. First to free skate, Dmitriev made a bold move by opting for a quad Axel as his first jump pass. The attempt failed and received a demotion after landing two feet.
“I did better in training,” he said of jumping. “I landed on it four or five years ago but couldn’t keep fit for competition. So after three years without ice and competition, I came back and tried again. I hope to have one of my own soon, I think I’m the first to do it in competition, I don’t know anyone else before me.
Training the quad Axel takes preparation and time, said Dmitriev Jr. “I usually take 15 minutes to work on it and when I’m ready I jump it. Then I take time and when I feel like I can, I start again.
When asked how he started mastering the quad Axel, the St. Petersburg native said he first attempted two triple Axels in a row. “Then I was like, umm…can I do three in a row? I did three in a row and then four in a row, he explained. “And then I thought, ‘what if I choose the Axel quad?’ Can I do this? Let’s try. That’s why I’m trying to do this. It’s like another level psychologically. It’s not one foot, two feet, it’s in the head.
He admitted he had seen Yuzuru Hanyu’s Axel quad attempt the Japan Championships and had “done a good job”.
Citing his age, Dmitriev Jr. said he limits his workouts and listens to his body. “I can take a random day off if my body tells me to stop. I could even do an hour (of training) a day and that would be fine.
In mid-September he started training for the qualifying event and started working on his programs – and his jumps. The following month he was still only doing triples and had not attempted any quads. “Little by little I’m getting back in shape and I hope everything will be fine. I have to work a lot. I have to do gym, a lot of stretching, so I think it takes me about six months to get back to my full fitness. “, did he declare.
Although he focuses on mastering four revolutions, the Axel is not his favorite jump. “I love all the little parts of every jump. They’re all different. With the quad Axel — we started when my dad trained me when I was little. We did two jumps: a loop and a single Axel and he taught me the double Axel. But I love every jump.
“I intend to return to my duties. How it will go, we will see. I am absolutely serious.