With the annual test stakes of the Russian national senior team set to begin Saturday, Sept. 7 in Moscow, two-time national champion Mikhail Kolyada has a surprise in store for fans and judges.

After announcing he would skate to “Wind of Change” by Scorpions earlier this year, he has opted for a new short program to “Diga Diga Doo” by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

“After the test skates in St. Petersburg I realized that something was not quite right. The program was good, but my heart was not in it,” Kolyada explained. “Moreover, for the third season I am skating to something lyrical in the short program and I wanted something more energetic.”

The past two seasons, the two-time European bronze medalist has skated to musical selections of Mozart and Muse. Kolyada and his choreographer Olga Kliushnichenko found the new music and built the program in a very short time.

Kolyada will probably use the original short program as an exhibition piece.

His plans to include a quad toe-triple toe combination, a triple Axel and a triple Lutz in his short program performance on Saturday. “We’ll make the program harder — this is not yet the final version. There will be two quads,” Kolyada said, adding that he is not sure yet whether he wants to go for the quad Salchow or the quad Lutz. He was landing both in practice sessions at the training camp before the test skates.

The 24-year-old has no concerns that the new Swing short program is too similar in style to his Charlie Chaplin free skate. “It is not the same style because the characters are different. Obviously, there was Chaplin and here it is just a guy that fell in love, is enjoying life and loves to dance,“ Kolyada explained. He brought that concept across very well when doing a clean run-through of the program in one of the practice sessions.

The annual Russian test skates is a much-anticipated event around the globe. The performances of the national team will be broadcast live on television and live streamed within Russia (or via VPN). Tickets to attend the test skates are sold out.

National team members include reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova, 2018 Olympic silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva and World ice dance silver medalists Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov who will all debut their new short programs on Saturday and their long programs on Sunday.

However, two prominent teams are missing from the event: Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin and World pairs bronze medalists Natalia Zabiiako and Alexander Enbert. Stepanova and Enbert are unable to perform due to illness.

IFS European editor Tatjana Flade will file a full report on the test skates next week.


Sat. Sept. 7: SHORT PROGRAMS (Free VPN)


Rhythm Dance – 3:00 p.m. 
Men′s Short – 4:00 p.m.
Pairs Short – 4:45 p.m.
Ladies Short – 17:40 p.m.

Sun. Sept. 8: FREE SKATES (Free VPN)

Free Dance – 3:00 p.m. 
Men′s Free – 4:00 p.m.
Pairs Free – 4:45 p.m.
Ladies Free – 17:40 p.m.