the youngest stuntman on the planet Foma Kalinin talks about injuries-free sports and new opportunities

On the last day of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an extreme STUNT SHOW will take place. The champion of the event will be the athlete from St. Petersburg, world champion, two-time European champion in the stuntman Foma Kalinin. The correspondent of the “Petersburg Diary” met with a 20-year-old rider between the stadiums of the Russian championship in road racing. The athlete spoke honestly about his path to victory in the World Championship and how to find prospects in the most difficult situations.


– Foma, tell us how you came up with the idea to do one of the most spectacular, but so far little known to a wide audience of extreme sports – stunt riding?

– Father Alexei Kalinin literally involved me in this movement from the cradle. Dad dreamed that I would become a professional rider, after he successfully dealt with stuntmen, became the champion of the Russian Cup, the champion of the Baltic countries. He took me to races with him, rode a motorcycle and always believed that the world of the engine is very bright and colorful and, with the right approach, brings a lot of joy. Dad enjoyed sports all his life and passed on that passion to me. He is now my coach, engineer and psychologist.

– In motorsports do children start with karts, but in motorsports?

– Kids do minimoto – these are balance bikes, only with motorbikes. He was educated both with his father and alone outside the city. Almost alone at low speeds, I managed to unfold my first experience. At one point, Dad decided to send me to a motorcycle center to train with me. But already the first races showed that their methods do not suit us. The children were instructed, given equipment, explained how to drive and sent in a circle. Then it rained, everyone fell down and cried. But the trainers said that this is normal in motorsport. My father believed that falls and injuries could be avoided and should not be treated as a rule from childhood. Since then he became my coach and we saw rapid progress: already at the age of four he won the first competition.

– That is, success is a combination of a mentor’s experience and a student’s talent?

– Of course, all together. When you train a lot, there is good addiction, passion, progress and results.


– Last year you became the youngest stuntman champion in history. How did it happen?

– In stunt riding there is an event that brings together all the athletes of the world. It takes place in the Czech Republic, in the city of Ostrava, every year at the end of August. It was possible to get there quite easily and quickly, despite the pandemic. The Russian Motor Sports Federation helped us with the documents and the visa. In total, about forty riders from 11 countries took part in the championship, including Poland, Lithuania, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, Great Britain and Greece. In general, I was driving for victory, I wanted to go around the main opponent – Mike Jensen, one of the best riders in the world.

I had a writing program ready, on which I worked for more than a year, we improved it every month. Gradually I gathered a specific base of tricks that I wanted to show in competitions. Acrobatics are divided into five categories: wheelie, stoppiece, drift, acrobatics and style. The more difficult the trick and the transition from one element to another, the more points are given for it. In the championship in 3 minutes you have to show the maximum of your potential. The one with the most valuable program wins.

– So it is a fairly objective sport?

– On the contrary, many things are subjective, but the judges try to be as objective as possible and to communicate with the athletes. The judges are former riders. When there is intense competition and the difference is only one or two points, then there may be fluctuations. But in this championship, my lead over a direct competitor was over twenty points and there was no doubt about my victory. My father initially prepared me to be head and shoulders above the rest and not to feel any hesitation or prejudice. The pandemic played in the hands, because of which we did not play for a year. During this time we were able to prepare better.

– In gymnastics and figure skating, athletes perform original elements, which then take the names of their inventors. Are there similar stories in the stunt?

– Now stunt riding is at a level where everything has already been invented and it is mainly a interpretation of tricks. Separately, the elements are no longer so fascinating, but when one rolls them into blocks, bundles, it looks completely different – beautiful, dynamic and difficult.
In training, sometimes improvisations occur, you can sit or stand up in an original way. and if you notice such moments, then you can develop them. Then the author’s trick is proven. But this is a rather rare moment. Achieving this is a real work and art.

In general, last year, due to the pandemic, I got carried away with internal starts, I started doing road racing and now I pay a lot of attention and training in this field. At the Russian Championship Stadium, which took place on the Moscow racetrack near Moscow on June 10, he became the first in the Superstock 1000 category. The next stage is on June 26. Scheduled every weekend.


– In what direction do you intend to develop further?

– I started teaching a little, I try to involve young people in sports, I invite them to my training, I give equipment and with such steps I attract people. I believe that coaching is an integral part of the life of every advanced athlete.

– In August, the next World Stunt Championship. Will you take part?

– We received a visa and an invitation from the organizers, I do not see any other obstacles for my participation. The International Motor Sports Federation has restricted the participation of our athletes, but this championship is not included in this structure.

– In general, how do you feel about the situation with the suspension of athletes?

– Of course, negatively. I believe that athletes need to be aware. But there are always ways to grow. We could not compete in the stunt because of the pandemic – we switched to road racing because we wanted to evolve and be on the move. There are always ways. Political confrontations, like the pandemic, exist today, but tomorrow no one will remember them. But if we did not prepare, we would lose form.

– Are there any fears that due to sanctions there may be problems with the bike and spare parts?

– We race on Japanese and British motorcycles – Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and Triumph. I do not think there will be any problems in the near future. Only prices can go up. We have a specific stock of spare parts, which should be enough for a while.

– How expensive is the stunt in general?

– Very expensive. So far, we have managed to save money by supporting the Epic Race team, with which we have set a goal to win the Russian road racing championship. They supply me with equipment, bicycle, pads, tires – all costs are on the team. Generally, a set of tires costs 50 thousand rubles, enough for a day of training or race. After the launch.

– Do you have any idols in sports? Who or what inspires you?

– The famous stuntman Benjamin Baldini lives in France, he inspires a huge number of criminals, including me. I watch his videos on social networks, we communicate with him, we dream of training together and, of course, I like his style, his movements, how he leads. I hope he likes my style (laughs. – Ed.). Such exchanges are always made, with the result that the sport lives and develops.

– How do riders eat and how much does excess weight interfere?

– I do not follow special diets yet, I try to eat mainly homemade food, without getting carried away by fast food. Priority is given to plant foods – fruits and vegetables, I also do not refuse meat. And being overweight is always an obstacle in both racing and riding, but I did not have such problems, because training and racing go one after the other, there is no time for rest and weight gain.

– How many hours a week do you train?

– 24/7. But I like it, it’s my way of life. It is still a pity for me to lose energy and time for a party, because then I will not have enough strength for effective training. The level is so high that it is still difficult to maintain, let alone further develop. Even in my sleep I think about sports. I once had a dream to drive the MotoGP World Championship for the most successful team – the Repsol Honda (laughs – Ed.). Sometimes, while performing tricks, I can get into a state similar to meditation: I perform all the actions automatically and in my head I solve questions that are answered during the training. In general, all my successes are the result of working together with my father: attention, way of thinking, philosophy and good management help to achieve our goals.

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