J. Barry Mittan, the Electronic Photojournalist

New Russian Pair Seek International Recognition by J. Barry Mittan (1999)

Russia's latest pairs sensation is the young team of Tatiana Totmianina (18) and Maxim Marinin (22). Although they have been skating together only three years, the pair finished fifth at their first Europeans and seventh at the1r first Worlds. This season, they finished seventh at Skate America in Colorado Springs, after having problems with the high altitude, but rebounded to take the bronze medals at Trophee Lalique and the Cup of Russia. "We liked Colorado, but we didn't have time to adjust to both the time difference and the altitude," Maxim explained. "They told us the third and fourth days were the hardest and that's when we had to compete."

The couple has modest goals for this season, hoping to stay in the top five at Europeans and move up to the top five at Worlds. "Our job is to skate well and skate clean," Tatiana stated. "Then the results will come. Last year the judges didn't know us." "For the future, we can't see far ahead, but we want to sjate in the Olympics in 2002," Maxim added. "After that, the longer the better, as long as we can do it. We don't know what we will accomplish, but we hope to skate professionally. But even when man is thinking of it, God sometimes does otherwise."

To ensure a future after skating, Maxim is studying at a sports institute so he can coach. Tatiana is enrolled at the School of Olympic Sports, which provides a general education with classes adapted to her practice schedule. Although he is from Perm and she is from Volgograd, the dup trains in St. Petersburg with coach Natalia Pavlova and choreographer Svetlana Korol. "Our practice conditions at Yubileny are good," Tatiana said. "We have two hours on ice and two hours off ice every day but Sunday." Although she looks like a ballerina, Tatiana didn't take ballet as a child, although her mother encouraged her to try it for a week. "I didn't have time for both," Tatiana stated.

Both skaters began at four. Tatiana started skating with her mother, a recreational skater, while Maxim began when his parents saw an advertisement for a school that was taking children for skating classes. "I didn't have a professional coach, just a sports teacher, so I didn't have the best training," he said. "When I traveled to competitions, the other boys were doing triples and I was doing doubles. When I got the triples, I was still behind. Then I lost to Evgeni Plushenko in the Olympic Hope competition and I knew I had no chance. Since I was tall, a coach from St. Petersburg asked me to move there and do pairs. I skated with different girls starting in 1993, but they didn't work out. Then I met Tatiana at the 1995 Russian Nationals." Mrs. Pavlova was looking for girls and I knew I had no chance in ladies," Tatiana continued. "Maxim had no partner so we started together. It was difficult to adapt. It still is. But I was never afraid." "The hardest part for me was the death spiral," said the waifish girl who gets so very low to the ice.

Pavlova selects the music for the pair's programs. They are using Eastern-themed music from Peter Gabriel's "Caravan" and Pink Floyd for the technical and Rachmaninoff's "Variations on a Theme of Paganini" for the long. "I like to skate to classical music because it suits us," Tatiana said. "We have long lines and it looks good." Off ice, she listens to modern pop music including the Backstreet Boys, Hands Up and Russian pop artists. Maxim enjoys Western pop groups like Sting, Metallica and Pink Floyd.

The skaters have a lot to do with skating and schoolwork, including studying English. But Tatiana likes to read romance novels like "Gone with the Wind" to relax, while Maxim said he just walks around to unwind. They both enjoyed visiting the United States, especially Tatiana, who spent several months in New York and Pennsylvania as an exchange student when she was ten and eleven. For holidays, they both enjoy traveling to someplace warm, near the sea. All they collect are the stuffed animals, all of which Tatiana keeps in her home, especially the rabbits, which are her favorites.

Order the Art of Figure Skating Calendar

Back to the Skater Directory
Buying or Using Skater Photographs

Copyright © 1996-2001. J. Barry Mittan All rights reserved.