Artyom Silchenko. About jumping from the height of a 9-storey house and more.

Tomorrow at the World Aquatics Championships it will be terribly beautiful – medals will be played by men high divers, performing the decisive third and fourth attempts. Guys fly into the water from a height of 27 meters and dive at speeds under 100 km/h.

Russia has its own champion – Artem Silchenko. In 2006, he won the World Professional Championship, organized by the World High Diving Federation. 2013 Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series. And also came up with the most difficult jump in history – from the rack on his hands, with 2.5 turns back, 2.5 screws and a blind entrance into the water.

16th FINA World Championships

He received a registration at the World Aquatics Championships in 2013. At the first championship in Barcelona Artem was left without medals, but won bronze at the home tournament in Kazan 2015 and will definitely compete in Gwangju. Before leaving for South Korea, Silchenko told Sport24:

About a meeting with a Chinese shaman and a healing decoction of
snakes, about working on a cruise liner and training without a tower and
a pool, about how to bring a Ukrainian to Crimea after 2014, and high-diving – to the Olympic Games.


“When I was preparing for the interview, I thought that you could study geography by your travels. The most luxurious place in the world, which was seen in perso
n? – In Thailand a lot of cool places. But perhaps the most interesting thing is in Mexico, cenote. These are natural wells. They’re right in the jungle. The Mayan Indians used them for sacrifices. There’s a depth of about 20 meters – dumped people to be sure. Between them – a whole network of underground tunnels. A big story and still poorly understood. Very atmospheric.

“And the best place for cliff divin
g?” – Perhaps, also Mexican cenotas. We built a tower and jumped from 27 meters. The first half jump is done under the sun, when you see everything, and then you fly into the shadows and almost fly into the abyss. In general, the place is cool, very unusual.

16th FINA World Championships

– 27 meters is the roof of a nine-storey house. How do you get up t
here before you jump? For example, jumped in Copenhagen from the opera house – quietly went into the elevator, climbed on the roof, and that’s it. Energy consumption is minimal. And in the same Thailand for 15 minutes it takes only to climb the tower. First you climb up along the rock on some bamboo ladder, 50 meters, then go to the side, again on some bamboo sticks, another 100 meters, then give out climbing equipment, tie and lower to the launch pad. You take off your gear, they take him upstairs, and you realize that you are standing on a stone – and that’s it, the way back is gone.

Once you jump, having done such a route – it’s nothing. When you go to the fourth attempt, it happens, you feel that the legs are not the same, not so fresh. But this is our job, and we are preparing for it.

“You lived in China for eight years when you performed at a local show. Have you had time to understand something about
the Chinese? – I will not say that I understood, but friends and acquaintances there appeared a lot. I love this country. Eight years is like one day, with pleasure. The people there are amazing, very kind and positive. However, it is better not to fight with them. They are not aggressive in themselves. But if the Chinese somehow catch, it will erupt instantly. And they are very close-knit, always stand up for each other.

“There is a lot of talk about the Chinese economic miracle. You’ve seen how the country has changed in real time. Why do you think they did it? – Cities
are growing at such a rate that you just do not have time to realize something. I came to Shenzhen when the city was about five or seven years old, and there were more than 16 million people living there. Now it is one of the economic and business centers of China. By the time I left, the population and the city had doubled.

Cities are huge, people are working. But to be honest, I think it’s a myth that they work harder or better than anyone else. It’s just that there are a lot of them, actually a lot. And what in Russia, for example, does one person, the Chinese do three or four. That’s why they’re doing better. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

How did you explain your explanation to the Chinese? Have we learned something
in Chinese? – We had a Russian-Ukrainian team. And we, understandably, communicated with each other on Russian. There was also a translator. But we tried to address it only on serious issues. I could explain myself in cafes, taxis or shops in Chinese, in the local dialect. He didn’t teach him specifically – he just memorized something in the process of communication.

I wouldn’t say that Chinese conversationist is very complicated. It is almost impossible to learn a written Chinese European, yes. And there’s nothing in the conversation. They have no time, no inclinations, no compositions – no complications. There are only four intonations. The Chinese words sound, of course, frightening, but it is easy to speak.

16th FINA World Championships

“Three things you would move from China to Russia.-
What I like most about the Chinese is that they are friendly. Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with you. That’s the first one.

The second is Chinese cuisine. I love Asian food. And it is not necessary to try it in some expensive restaurant. Over the years there I have studied in great detail the poor areas where real Chinese workers live. So they eat mainly in chifanki (from the word “chifan” – food in Chinese). It is worth some table or something like, built from boxes, and immediately, right in front of you cook. The products are fresh.

And i won’t say the third one.

“If you go back to the kitchen, try something exotic, grasshoppers of some kind?” – Gra
sshoppers – it’s quite for the amateur. They have special fairs, where all this terrible animals – in the range. I wasn’t really trying to get there. And that the Chinese themselves just on the street ate grasshoppers – this did not meet. They have enough fresh seafood and meat. Yes, they eat more dogs. And with great pleasure, and it is not the cheapest dish. But I certainly don’t understand that.

“The most remote place i’ve ever been
to perform, I don’t know. But that did not want to climb into the water – Colombia. We jumped there at the port. The water was very dirty, almost poisonous. The locals said that we are crazy, that no one ever climbs there. After the jump, we literally poured antiseptics into the nose, in the ears.

In general, usually for jumping choose the most beautiful places in the world. We don’t jump nicely. In Colombia, too, it was beautiful, just the water pumped a lot.


“You live and train in Voronezh. As far as I know, there even with the pool there are difficulties – what is there to do high
-diver? – Yes, we have one jumping pool. Actually, I’ve been training in it all my life since I started jumping. It is clear that he is far from high-dive. The maximum height is 10 meters. The technique can be honed, in principle. To say that it is possible to prepare for the World Championship, where you need to jump from 27 meters, to put it mildly, is not very reasonable. But what to do? We’re trying to improvise.

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“In Russia, you can train somewhere? – We don’
t have a stationary base. We tried to put in Crimea. But somehow it all stalled.

By and large, high-diving is a sport without sport. It seems to be at the official level, is part of the program of world championships, the World Cup is held, but at the same time there is virtually no classification.

There are countries in which actively support and develop this direction. The federation doesn’t seem to refuse from us either, but at the same time we all get on the residual principle. A simple example: I have a silver World Cup in high-diving, a bronze of the World Championship, and the title – the master of sports of Russia in diving. When he hinted that he deserved at least an international, I was told that there is no separate classification in our sport, and in classical jumps I did not work for an international. It turns out that there is a World Cup, there are medals, but there is no corresponding title. Everyone is happy if you’re achieving some kind of success, but I wouldn’t say anyone is willing to do something about it.

– You have been participating in competitions for 10 years and have participated in various shows in parallel. This combination did not i
nterfere?- I would say that I showed my best results just when I worked in the show. I had heights. I was jumped on her. Now I seem to be training too, but it’s not that. How to take a swimmer and start training him in a 10-meter pool. It will be able to separately work out the entrance to the water, separately – rowing or reversal. Run him after that in the 50-meter pool at the Olympics or at the World Championships – of course, he will lose. Not a chance.

Here I am, having under me only 10 meters, work the jump piece by piece. Then it should be collected, and for this I have only one day, just before the competition. It seems to me that it is not entirely fair to demand results in such a situation. This applies not only to me, but to any athlete of our high-diving team. To demand something, you must first give something. We know how to jump, we can fight on an equal footing with world leaders, but often come to competitions unprepared.

“How realistic is it to earn a high-diving life?” – I
n Russia – unrealistic. But in general, we participate in different commercial competitions and live mainly on prize money. At the same time I know that in the World Series on classic diving guys earn much more.

High-diving is not an Olympic discipline. And that’s why no one is interested in him yet. Many jumpers choose this way: work in the show – it’s the main occupation, and the competition sits just for fun, when you want to meet friends.

16th FINA World Championships

“A show is a go
od way to make money?” Of course, a lot depends on the show itself. There is a certain gradation. The spread in earnings is very large. In addition, in recent years the show is not allowed to compete. It is the big shows, where good work, prestigious. The leaders of these water shows decided that the athlete who went to the competition, first, leaves the workplace empty, and secondly, risks injury. It is simply unprofitable for them to let the athlete go. I had a lot of good offers, but since last year I qualified for the World Cup, I decided: this year Will train, jump, and then will be seen.

“How much does it cost to perform in a show on
average?” – If it’s not headliners like “Du Soleil” or “Franco Dragon,” about 100-150 euros a day. Depending on who you are and what you know how to do.

“You also worked on a cruise ship. How is it all arranged t
here? – Yes, i worked two years, or rather – two contracts for 10 months. I’m not an athlete on a liner. I’m an artist. It’s my direct job. And also – a member of the crew, so it is necessary to regularly pass all sorts of exercises and trainings: what to do if the ship goes to the bottom or one of the passengers will be overboard. The exercises could have started at any moment. Of course, we tried not to go crazy and show loyalty in this sense, but constantly reminded that the team should be ready always and for everything.

“Has this knowledge ever been put into pract
ice?” I was lucky. Although from the stories of friends I know that everything happened.


– You said that it was not possible to build a stationary base in Crimea. But, as far as I know, it is possible to hold international competitions. After 2014, it became more difficult? –
I am the sporting director of these competitions. And he has to make sure that all the best come to them.

This year, on August 10, we will hold them for the third time. The best jumpers in the world have already confirmed their participation. The hardest part was the first year. All the jumping organizations warned their athletes that it is better not to come to us. Some even received calls from local sports ministries. Of course, someone refused. On the other hand, we were backed by Gary Hunt, the Briton, the strongest jumper at the moment. Yes, in many ways because we are friends and I was the one who invited him to visit. But it is not so important, the main thing – the competition took place. In the second year everything was already a little more loyal.

In fact, the tournament in Crimea is very cool. We want to make it an annual event. Although with support in our country, everything is very difficult.

– The relationship between Russian and Ukrainian athletes in spring-2014 somehow changed? –
In my environment – definitely not. My wife is an ex-Ukrainian, now she just has a Russian passport. There are no fewer friends in Ukraine than in Russia.

16th FINA World Championships

Guys-Ukrainians come to Crimea and perform at our competitions, although they are under a lot of pressure at home – both before and after the competition. But first of all, they are brave. And secondly, we’re friends. They come, they jump, and then they will. Again, they jump under their flag, for their country – and for adequate people, probably, it does not matter where exactly they jump.

There is an expression that sport is out of politics. In most cases this is no longer the case, unfortunately. But we still want to believe that friendship is stronger, that there is our high-diving family, in which no one is fixated, where who comes from and where is going to perform. They invite me to eat.


” In one of the interviews you said that there was a period when you had to fight the fear of jumping. What exactly did they do to overc
ome that feeling? More often than not, I just told myself that I was ready. And I also understood that now it is scary, but it will take literally two minutes – everything will end, and it will not be terrible. I’m going to come out and smile.

Fear is such a more philosophical story. I read somewhere that, in fear, we fight with what can only happen. And I thought, if it hasn’t happened yet, then it’s not, so I’m afraid of what’s not there. And it certainly doesn’t make any sense. Since somehow gradually I really believed in it and now almost always go on the jump with a smile. Only it is important to understand: fear still does not go away. And that’s fine. It’s just that now it’s in control.

16th FINA World Championships

“When you started jumping, you were a free man. Now there is a family – a wife and two children – and therefore responsibility. Doesn’t that stop? 
Of course, family is a responsibility. But for me it is equally responsible – what to jump, that daughter diaper to change.

There is a very important psychological point: you need to jump for yourself, you can not do it for someone. You’re always alone on the tower.

“My wife never said it
was time to end my career?” I’m a self-sufficient person. And we met when I was just learning to jump as a high-diver, so she saw all sorts, and I do not think that there are still any emotions. For her, my jumps are the same job as all normal people.

– What’s scarier: to jump yourself or to watch your friends jump? – J
umping yourself is much easier, of course. At least because I know what’s in my head. When a friend goes, it is almost impossible to calculate how it will end, even if you communicate with him a few seconds before the jump. Maybe he’ll be panicked, figuratively speaking. I really don’t like to watch others jump. But sometimes we have to make mistakes – there are no coaches in the haidive as such, we tell each other.

When very young guys come, inexperienced, I try to jump off my program quickly, especially in training – and leave. Because, unfortunately, very often after their jumps divers and ambulances connect.


“Have you ever seen a m
an break to death?” And in general, of course, it is a deadly height, especially if the person is not prepared. The blows are very strong and very terrible – seen many times. And he did a good job of doing it.

Greg Luganis, now Red Bull’s sporting director, jumped once in Athens – and unwound his ear. Clearly driven, very horizontal, with a swed. I started to shoot his jump, but in the end I couldn’t even take off the drive- and froze with the phone in his hand.

“The creepiest of your jumps?
” – Perfectly horizontally never brought, but very close to it was probably six or seven times. Which one was the toughest, I can’t say. There are blows when you just hurt and when it hurts a lot. Mine is from the series “when it doesn’t hurt anymore.” Shock. It didn’t turn me off at all – it’s such an organism. The brain just knew something terrible was wrong and there was no pain. And it’s creepy, actually.

– Jumping from such a height, even a successful one, is still a huge stress for the body. How to recover? – Yes, t
he blow on the water goes all over the body. But I repeat: we are ready for it. Jumped once, got, wiped, discussed with friends the shortcomings – and climbed on to jump. The only thing, of course, is hard, if you have to make a lot of attempts in a day. My record is six or seven jumps in a row. That’s quite a lot. The next day the muscles weaken greatly.

To recover faster, I constantly change the way I train and swap. The main thing is not to do the same thing for a long time. As soon as the exercise is convenient to perform, you need to change it – it is no longer effective.

“Have you tried some unusual methods of recovery?” –
Of course, I still lived in China for eight years. We had our grandfather there alone, we called him a shaman among ourselves. I had a very serious knee problem and a whole bunch of smaller ligament problems.

So this grandfather – a very talented manual, and also prepared all sorts of Chinese broths. From snakes, for example. It’s so disgusting that idon’t put it into words. But the question was: you want to walk – drink, do not want – lie down and suffer. I really wanted to, so I did everything he told me.

– Russian athletes, especially tennis players and hockey players, now very popular trips to the Altai and maral baths. I’m saying
high-dive is actually a sport without sports, we don’t have access to what other athletes use. Even before the World Championships, the diving team went to a gathering in the highlands in Bulgaria to breathe the air, then – to the recovery camp in Sochi, where all these massages, cryomagnetism and so on, then – a gathering in Korea to pass acclimatization, days 10. And we flew right to the start. And we were also told: “Guys, buy tickets yourself, then you will be paid.”

That’s why I don’t use anything special to keep fit. Tournicans near the school – my maximum. Before the first World Cup in Kazan there was the same story. The only thing before Kazan was my pool was closed, and now I was lucky – the water was drained on the day of my departure for the championship. But, for example, Igor Semashko was unlucky – in Kazan, where he lives and trains, it happened much earlier.


“Your main feature is a blind jump. Tell us so that it becomes clear to the common man how he differs from the rest? – It is d
ifficult to explain. How does a normal high-dive jump work? There is the first phase – the flight phase, which takes 10 meters, maximum – 15. During this time you do the maximum number of flips and turnovers, the last 17 or 15 meters – it all depends on the complexity of the jump – is preparing for the entrance. You fly the biggest one in half a second. The acceleration is frenzied.

Most guys do flips forward with half-screw. In fact, it’s the same as a gymnastic wheel on the floor. This allows you to catch the water with your eyes. Igor Semashko and I use the technique of blind entry – we do a direct flip forward. We lose water from view, and by and large there is only a moment to calculate the height, speed of rotation, speed of fall and the angle under which you fly. In short, you work on instincts.

In general, only Russian guys use the blind entrance into the water. One of the first to do it was Andrey Rublev from Stavropol. This year Igor Semashko and I are doing all the blind jumps. I’ve removed half the screw out of the program.

All over the world, such jumps are even called “Russian roulette.” This is the level of difficulty with which you need to win. But if something goes wrong, only defeat. We almost never occupy the middle places.

“Why would you do that?” So it’
s more convenient? – I’m often asked why I jump this way. I found a universal answer: I so want. It catches me. I am scared, and I feel the fullness of life at this moment. In addition, for a normal jump I am not fast enough to collect maximum complexity. What I can do using the usual entrance to the water, I’m not very interested.

Now Igor and I have some of the most expensive programs in the world – a good premium to the coefficient for complexity. And if I’m doing my jumps cool, I’m probably going to win. But even a small mistake immediately throws back. Only the perfect performance is appreciated. Mistakes are punished more severely than guys with classical technique.

– How do you feel about amateurs who climb rocks and jump? Now it’s fashionable. Fyodor Smolov once tried on vacation.
– I am sure that I play football much better than Fedor jumps. And in all interviews I always say: people, do not jump, do not do it. You’re a scary place to go on YouTube – a lot of videos that end in loss of life. They die by their own stupidity, they don’t realize that the water is soft only when it’s in a glass, when you drink it. In general, the water is not compressed. From the impact of a certain force the asphalt will shrink, but the water – not. The blow is deadly. And asphalt breaks the face, and water breaks internal organs.

It’s one thing when we go on a jump – we understand where we’re going, we’re preparing both physically and mentally. These are years of training. Another thing is an unprepared person. In addition, it is still necessary to take into account: if the current, in fact at any time can swim up any log, the bottom is not checked. Lots of factors.

Now in Moscow and St. Petersburg begin to open schools, where anyone can come to be taught to jump professionally. It will be a dry hall, it will be trampolines, acrobatics, stretching, pumping – and only then going out into the water, working with different towers, spinning, flips. That’s cool and relatively safe. Not an Instagram video for the sake of a husky that you can actually pay for with your life. Especially if you jump off a cliff. The rocks are very treacherous – you never know what the bottom is. Then – what a stone on which you stand, whether he will hold at all during the jump. It is necessary to approach such moments very responsibly, wisely. But it’s not always enough.


– For me, high-diving is definitely in the top 3 of the craziest sports. And what does your top look li
ke? – Jumping from a springboard is probably in the first place. Although this sport is our native – when in the Soviet Union was just in the beginning of ski jumping, there a lot of people went from jumping to the water. And since I am a skier, to put it mildly, so-so, I am really fascinated by this sport. I like to look at things I can’t do. I can never jump like them.

Actually, I’m a summer man. Everything about surfing, some beach sports – I love and know how. Winter views are, of course, more difficult. I know how to skate and ski, but I always look with admiration at those who do it professionally.

Kill guys who are engaged in luge and skeleton. Crazy speeds. I understand that they are in control of the situation, but not so completely. If something goes wrong, oh-oh-oh will be.

“Are you extreme in real life,
too?” I’m like a coaby at all. I turn the street only to the green. I have more than enough sport. Of course, like many who are engaged in extreme sports, already begin to look for adventures at the time when I will retire from the sport. I really want to try wingsuit, suit-wing. But to do this, you will need to enroll in a parachute school. It’s not now. Now the adrenaline is more than enough. For now, I try to pay more attention to children. The son grows fearless in general.

“There are already tendencies to extrem
e?” – I think there is no inclination to extreme. It’s just that people at the same height, for example, look at different eyes. My mother was on the National Gymnastics Union team. A cool athlete, but even from a nightstand one meter to jump could not. I just couldn’t physically force myself – I was afraid of heights. And both sons are high-divers.

My son is still four and a half years old. He already has a named diving coach. He will follow in my footsteps, because I believe that the child needs sports in any case, at least for discipline and physical development. I don’t know how professionally he will be engaged – these are questions to his coach. I’m not going to get involved in this process. And so – bikes, skateboards, yes. Now my task as a father is to help him to get used to this world as much as possible in terms of physical activity.

The guy is certainly brave growing up. At the age of three and a half, he had already learned to ride a bicycle and let go of his hands at speed. I remembered myself – we at this time in the sandbox dog poo from clay did not distinguish, and he does that.

I’m still trying to keep him on the phone. Sadiq, great, skateboard, ran, jumped, football, of course. Constantly – on the move. Handle your phone or tablet, he will always learn to play with them. But I will teach it on trees or on the steps on the bike and now, as long as the age is right.

“About five years ago you said you wanted to jump off an iceberg. But the dream was fulfilled by Orlando Duke. Have you come up
with something new? It was something no one else did. Now I don’t think there are places where no one jumped. That’s why the Olympic Games remain. This is the dream of any athlete. But so far, high-diving is moving too slowly towards them. It seems that there are some conversations, but it does not come further than that. Perhaps I will get to the Olympics already as a coach or as a very elderly athlete.

Discipline must be massive. You can’t say that about high-dive. Besides, if you go around the countries, there are almost no girls. Full-fledged teams can only recruit Australians and American women. Of the Russians, no one wants to go to this height. In Europe there are several girls, of course, including one – from Belarus. Very successfully jumps. But such an international as the boys, has not yet formed.

16th FINA World Championships

Marina Krylova/Sport24


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