Alexei Yagudin

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Alexei Yagudin
Alexei Yagudin during an exhibition gala in 2002.
Personal information
Full name Alexei Konstantinovich Yagudin
Country represented  Russia
Born (1980-03-18) 18 March 1980 (age 41)
Leningrad, Soviet Union
Residence Saint Petersburg, Russia
Height 175 cm (5.74 ft)
Former coach Tatiana Tarasova
Alexei Mishin
Former choreographer Tatiana Tarasova
Nikolai Morozov
Retired 2003

Alexei Konstantinovich Yagudin (Russian: About this sound Алексей Константинович Ягудин​ ; 18 March 1980) is a former Russian figure skater. His major achievements in his six years of eligible sports career include being the 2002 Olympic Champion, a four-time World Champion (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002), a three-time European Champion (1998, 1999, 2002), a two-time Grand Prix Final Champion (1998-1999, 2001-2002), a World Junior Champion (1996) and a two-time World Professional Champion (1998, 2002).

Career overview

Early career

Alexey Yagudin was introduced to skating at age four by his mother, Zoya, who saw the activity as a way to improve his health.[1][2] He learned all his double jumps before age ten, the five triple jumps before age twelve, and the triple Axel jump before he turned thirteen.[3] His first coach was Alexander Mayorov, and then he was introduced to the famous Russian coach Alexei Mishin when Mayorov moved to Sweden in 1992. Yagudin trained in Mishin's group from 1992 to 1998. He began competing at the international level in 1994, and won the World Junior Championships in 1996. The famous rivalry with fellow Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko began when they trained in Mishin's group, and intensified after Yagudin left.[4]

Senior career

In 1997, Yagudin competed in the World Championships for the first time and won a bronze medal.

In 1998, Yagudin led a Russian sweep of the medals at the European Championships with Evgeni Plushenko in second and Alexander Abt in third. Later that year, he competed at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics despite a severe case of pneumonia, and finished in 5th place.[1] A month later, he won the World Championships. He became the first Russian single skater from the post-Soviet era to win the World title. He was the second-youngest male World Champion at the age of 18 years and 15 days, 6 days older than Donald McPherson in 1963.[5][6] About two months after the event, Yagudin left Mishin and joined Tatiana Tarasova,[7] who would coach him until his retirement in 2003.

In the 1998-1999 season, Yagudin won eleven out of the thirteen competitions in which he participated, which included the defeat of Kurt Browning in the World Professional Championships, and winning the Grand Prix Final. He claimed his second consecutive European title over both Plushenko and former Olympic champion Alexei Urmanov. At the World Championships he successfully defended his World title against Plushenko. It was his second consecutive World title.

Yagudin struggled at the beginning of the 1999-2000 season. He was forced to withdraw from the Grand Prix Final due to a knee injury, and then lost to Plushenko at the Russian Nationals and European Championships. He recovered and won the World Championships, his third consecutive World title.

Yagudin's 2000-2001 season was marred by injuries and inconsistency. He lost to Plushenko at the Grand Prix Final, Russian Nationals, and the European Championships. A foot injury sustained shortly before the World Championships led to a disastrous performance in the qualifying round. He stood in fifth place in his group before the short program. He staged a comeback with a stunning performance of his short program The Revolutionary Etude, winning a standing ovation and compliments of 'It was all about heart and guts'.[8] He went on to win the silver medal.

Yagudin started the 2001-2002 Olympic season with a third-place finish at the Goodwill Games in September.[9] He altered his training regimen as a result, and then enjoyed the best season in his career. He defeated Plushenko at the Grand Prix Final and regained his European title. At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Yagudin won the men's event, receiving first-place votes from every judge throughout the competition. He received four 6.0 scores for his long program. Yagudin's perfect marks are the most for an Olympic performance since Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean's free dance in 1984. and set a record for a men's skater in the Olympics.[10][11] Yagudin went on to win his fourth World title after the Olympics, and earned received six perfect 6.0s for his short program and another two for his free skate at the competition. He became the first singles skater to receive six perfect marks for the short program, including the first ever perfect mark for required elements.[2] This record cannot be equaled or broken because the International Skating Union introduced its new scoring system after the 2003 season.

Alexei was diagnosed with a congenital hip disorder after the Olympic season. He was advised by doctors to stay off the ice for several months. Yagudin chose not to follow this advice and competed at 2002 Skate America. He won the short program, but had to withdraw due to his injury before the free skate. Yagudin later announced his retirement from competitive skating. His final performance as an eligible skater came during a farewell gala at Skate Canada with a performance of a new program, Memorial, and his short program from the previous season, Racing.

He was awarded with the Order of Merit for the Fatherland of the Russian Federation in 2003.

He never won the Russian National Championships despite his many other achievements, mainly because of his rival.

Professional career

Yagudin then turned professional in 2003, touring with Stars on Ice and Ice Symphony in Russia.

In 2004, Yagudin toured with Stars on Ice for the second year in a row. He also worked with the French figure skater Brian Joubert as a consultant coach. In November he won two professional competitions with two new programs, The Feeling Begins (music by Peter Gabriel) and Moon Over Bourbon Street (music by Sting). The next year, he continued with the Stars on Ice tour and his Passion program was choreographed with a difficult acrobatic routine that took place seven meters up in the air. Since returning to his hometown of Saint Petersburg in 2005, Yagudin has skated in various Russian ice shows and took part in the Russian TV show Stars on Ice, later renamed Ice Age.[12]

In 2006, after a full Olympic cycle since Salt Lake City, Yagudin performed his famous Winter program on tour and a new program Sway (music by Pussycat Dolls). In fall he took part in the Russian TV show Stars on Ice having a former gymnast, Oksana Pushkina, as his partner.

In 2007, Yagudin first toured in the U.S. with the Stars on Ice, and then toured in Russia. He skated a comic number Blues for Klook and a flamenco number Legenda. In July 2007, Yagudin underwent surgery to have a titanium hip joint implanted.[13] In August, Yagudin announced that he intended to return to eligible sports after more than four years of competing as a professional skater. His former coach Tatiana Tarasova and former choreographer Nikolai Morozov agreed to coach him should he return.[14] However, Yagudin suffered another injury while on tour in November 2007. Afterward he stated that returning to competitive skating would be too difficult under the circumstances.[15] He later realized that a return to eligible skating would not be feasible, and continued his professional career, taking part in the Russian TV show again, which was renamed Ice Age. This time he was paired with a pop singer Victoria Dayneko with whom he also recorded a song Needle.[16]

In 2008, Yagudin finished the Ice Age tour and then made his debut on the stage in a theater play where he played a Russian President. His career as an actor continued with getting one of the main roles in a Russian TV series about figure skating My Hot Ice.[17] In fall he participated in the second season of Ice Age partnered with actress Valeria Lanskaya.

In 2009, Yagudin performed regularly on the Ice Age tour. He also adventured into a popular TV show Good evening, Moscow! as a host.[18] In fall he participated the third season of Ice Age, still paired with Valeria Lanskaya.

In 2010, Yagudin completed his third Ice Age tour. In June he skated in the Supermatch: Medalist on Ice show in Korea, performing Sway and Winter. On September 4, he participated in the Artistry on Ice show in Beijing. During the show, the wedding ceremony of the famous Chinese pair skaters Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, the 2010 Olympic champions was held. As one of the invited guests he gave his blessing to the couple and performed Winter and Sway afterward. It was his first visit to China.

In 2011, Yagudin told an interviewer that due to the hip replacement surgery he had undergone, he is no longer able to do all his triple jumps. He continues to perform his popular Winter program in shows around the world.[19]

Personal life

Alexei Yagudin was born in Leningrad, (now Saint Petersburg), Russia. His parents divorced when he was young and he grew up as the only child of a single mother.[3]

Yagudin moved to the United States in 1999 to train with Tatiana Tarasova. Later that year the Champions on Ice tour dismissed him because of his alleged excessive drinking.[20][21] He lived in the United States for almost seven years.

Yagudin underwent hip surgery after touring with Stars on Ice. He assisted Tarasova with coaching over summer and early fall until his arrest for Driving While Intoxicated in September.[22]

He published his autobiography, Alexei Yagudin: Overcome, in Japan in 2005.[23] It was published in Russia in 2007 under the title, НаPRолом, with extra chapters and photos added to cover his recent life.[24]

On June 2, 2008, Yagudin's car was stolen with one of his World Championships gold medals in it. The medal and car were never located.[25]

His fiancée, Olympic pair skating champion Tatiana Totmianina gave birth to his first child, a daughter named Elizaveta ("Liza"), on November 20, 2009.[26][27] They also have a Yorkshire Terrier named Varia.[27]

Yagudin stated that he and Totmianina do not want Liza to become a competitive skater, and hope she will concentrate on studying and music as she grows up.[19]

On May 20, 2015, it was announced that Totmianina was pregnant with the couple's second child. [28] On October 2, 2015, the couple's second daughter, Michèle, was born.[29]

In 2011, Yagudin joined a Russian campaign to promote healthy lifestyles. He took part in free physical trainings held in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Kazan and Novosibirsk. He stated, "I would like to achieve through this campaign at least the understanding of people that 30 or 40 minutes of their day can improve their health now and in the future."[30]

Honours and awards


Season Short program Free skating Exhibition
by Safri Duo
The Man in the Iron Mask
by Nick Glennie-Smith
Born to Be Wild
by Steppenwolf
by Michael Nyman
by Bond
The Man in the Iron Mask
by Nick Glennie-Smith
(from Ancient Lands)
by Ronan Hardiman

The Man in the Iron Mask
by Nick Glennie-Smith
The Revolutionary Etude
by Frédéric Chopin
by Hans Zimmer
by Hans Zimmer
Stand by Me
by Ben E. King
My Baby You
by Marc Anthony
We Are the Champions
by Queen
1999–2000 Nutrocker
by Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Broken Arrow
by Hans Zimmer
by Giacomo Puccini
Come Fly with Me
by Barry Manilow
September Morn
by Neil Diamond
1998–1999 Circus
(from The Revisionist's Tale)
by Alfred Schnittke
Lawrence of Arabia
by Maurice Jarre
Here Comes the Big Parade
by Harry Connick, Jr.
The Prince of Rose
1997–1998 Ziganotchka
(Russian Gypsy Music)
Troika, or Snowstorm
by Georgy Sviridov
Play it Again Sachmo
by Louis Armstrong
Mack the Knife
(from The Threepenny Opera)
by Kurt Weill
1996–1997 Ruslan and Lyudmila
by Mikhail Glinka
by Georges Bizet
One Banana
(African Music)
1995–1996 The Nutcracker
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Gaîté Parisienne
by Jacques Offenbach
1994–1995 Toccata and Fugue in D minor
by Johann Sebastian Bach
Hussar medley
1993–1994 Concierto de Aranjuez
by Joaquín Rodrigo
Performed by Paco de Lucía

Competitive highlights

Major events

Event 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–00 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03
Olympics 5th 1st
Worlds 3rd 1st 1st 1st 2nd 1st
Europeans 6th 5th 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 1st
GP (CS) Final 5th 4th 1st 2nd 1st
GP Cup of Russia 2nd 1st
GP Lalique 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
GP Nations/Spark. 3rd 1st
GP Skate America 3rd 1st 1st 2nd WD
GP Skate Canada 1st 1st 1st
Goodwill Games 8th 3rd
Prague Skate 3rd
International: Junior
Junior Worlds 4th 1st
Russian Champ. 5th 5th 4th 3rd 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd
GP = Grand Prix (Champions Series 1995–1997); WD = Withdrew

All events

Amateur status, senior-level

Amateur status, senior-level
Events Location QR SP FS Total
2002–2003 season
Campbell's International Figure Skating Classic Daytona, USA 1
Sears Canadian Open Red Deer, Canada 1
Hallmark Skater's Championship
World Professional Championship
Columbus, USA 1
Top Jump France 1
2002 Skate America Spokane, USA 1 WD
Crest Whitestrips International Figure Skating Challenge Auburn Hills, USA 5
2001–2002 season
2002 World Championships Nagano, Japan 1 1 1 1
2002 Winter Olympics Salt Lake City, USA 1 1 1
2002 European Championships Lausanne, Switzerland 1 1 1 1
2001–02 Grand Prix Final Kitchener, Canada 2
2001 Trophée Lalique Paris, France 1 1 1
2001 Skate Canada International Saskatoon, Canada 1 1 1
Masters of Figure Skating San Diego, USA 1
2001 Goodwill Games Brisbane, Australia 3 3 3
2000–2001 season
2001 World Championships Vancouver, Canada 5 2 2 2
2001 European Championships Bratislava, Slovakia 1 1 1 2
2000–01 Grand Prix Final Tokyo, Japan 1
2000 Russian Championships Moscow, Russia 3 2 2
2000 Trophée Lalique Paris, France 1 1 1
2000 Skate Canada International Mississauga, Canada 1 1 1
2000 Skate America Colorado Springs, USA 1 2 2
Masters of Figure Skating Boise, USA 2
Canadian Open Hamilton, Canada 1
Japan Open Tokyo, Japan 1
Hershey's Kisses Figure Skating Challenge Detroit, USA 1
1999–2000 season
2000 World Championships Nice, France 1 1 1 1
2000 European Championships Vienna, Austria 1 1 2 2
2000 Russian Championships Moscow, Russia 2 2 2
1999 Trophée Lalique Paris, France 1 1 1
1999 Skate Canada International St. John, Canada 1 1 1
1999 Skate America Colorado Springs, USA 1 1 1
Masters of Figure Skating Green Bay, USA 2
Japan Open Tokyo, Japan 1
Grand Slam Super Teams of Skating Kitchener, Canada 2
Keri Lotion Classic Orlando, USA 1
1998–1999 season
1999 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 1 2 1 1
1999 European Championships Prague, Czech Republic 3 2 1 1
1998–99 Grand Prix Final St. Petersburg, Russia 1 1 1
1999 Russian Championships Moscow, Russia 2
1998 Trophée Lalique Paris, France 2 1 1
1998 Sparkassen Cup on Ice Gelsenkirchen, Germany 1 1 1
1998 Skate America Detroit, USA 1 1 1
Japan Open Tokyo, Japan 2
World Professional Championships Washington D.C., USA 1
World Team Challenge Milwaukee, USA 1
Challenge of Champions Sunrise, USA 1
Hershey's Kisses Challenge Binghamton, USA 1
1997–1998 season
1998 World Championships Minneapolis, USA 2 1 2 1
1998 Winter Olympics Nagano, Japan 4 5 5
1998 European Championships Milan, Italy 1 1 1
1997–98 Champions Series Final Munich, Germany 6 4 4
1998 Russian Championships Moscow, Russia 1 3 2
1997 Cup of Russia St. Petersburg, Russia 1 1 1
1997 Trophée Lalique Paris, France 2 1 1
Skate Israel Metulla, Israel 1
1997 Finlandia Trophy Helsinki, Finland 1 1 1
1996–1997 season
1997 World Championships Lausanne, Switzerland 6 5 3 3
1997 European Championships Paris, France 5 4 5
1996–97 Champions Series Final Hamilton, Canada 6 5 5
1997 Russian Championships Moscow, Russia 3
1996 Cup of Russia St.Petersburg, Russia 2 2 2
1996 Nations Cup Gelsenkirchen, Germany 2 3 3
1996 Skate America Springfield, USA 6 3 3

Amateur status, junior-level

Amateur status, junior-level
Events Location QR SP FS Total
1995–1996 season
1996 World Junior Championships Brisbane, Australia 1 1 1 1
1996 European Championships Sofia, Bulgaria 2 5 5 6
Centennial on Ice St. Petersburg, Russia 2
1996 Russian Championships Samara, Russia 4
1995 Blue Swords Chenmitz, Germany 1
1994–1995 season
1995 Russian Championships Moscow, Russia 5
1994 Nations Cup Gelsenkirchen, Germany 8
1994 Goodwill Games St. Petersburg, Russia 8 8 8
1993–1994 season
1994 World Junior Championships Colorado Springs, USA 4
1994 Russian Championships St. Petersburg, Russia 5

Professional status

Professional status
Events Location Placement
2006–2007 season
Ice Wars Hoffman Estates, USA 1
2007 Japan Open Tokyo, Japan 5
2005–2006 season
Ice Wars Peoria, USA 2
World Team Challenge London, Ontario, Canada 2
2006 Japan Open Saitama, Japan 6
2004–2005 season
Ice Wars Charlton, USA 1
World Team Challenge Winnipeg, Canada 1
2003–2004 season
World Team Challenge Vancouver, Canada 3


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  4. Russian triangle not likely to be friends soon
  5. All World Championships Medalists: Information and Details
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  8. Video: Yagudin at the 2001 World Championships, Short Program
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  17. Russian TV Series: My Hot Ice
  18. Good Evening, Moscow! (Добрый вечер, Москва!)
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  24. Alexei Yagudin Autobiography: НаPRолом
  25. Yagudin's Car Stolen
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External links