As I complete more of these interviews, I realize more and more how lucky we are as skydivers to be surrounded by so many amazing people from such different and diverse backgrounds. As always, my intent with these interviews is to let you guys get to know some of the badasses in our sport as they are on and off the DZ, and not focus heavily on their skydiving resumes.
The night of this photo shoot was full of laughs and smiles. In fact, he was so happy and laughing so much that it was almost difficult to get pictures of a “normal” face or pose. I think having his and my former teammate Thad Parker there with us may have amplified the issue a bit. A few beers may have also been a factor…
For this issue I want to introduce you to a guy who just a few years ago was the new guy making a name for himself in the 4-way FS world, and now flies for the most decorated team in the country. He has been all over the world, is incredibly smart and is one of the most positive people I have met. Ladies and gents—Mikhail Markine.
Zach Lewis: Tell us about your geography. Where did you start off in this world and how did you get to where you are now?
Mikhail Markine: I moved around quite a bit growing up. I was born in Moscow, and that’s where most of my childhood was. My father is a physicist. At the time he got an opportunity in Japan and the four of us went to Japan for a year and came back. Went for another 2 years, and then started looking for other places to go. We ended up in Ontario, Canada. I did high school and university there. As I was finishing up my engineering degree I had an internship with Google. That put me in California for five years before Rhythm got me in Chicago and Florida. Right now I am moving to Arizona. Home is where my pillow is, and my pillow travels with me!
What languages do you speak?
I speak English and Russian fluently. Unfortunately, I have lost my Japanese. I’d like to think it could come back to me, but it was just so long ago.
It seems like most people who compete at your level are full-time skydivers; how do you pay the bills?
I feel very lucky to have found a nice balance between skydiving and non-skydiving work. I come from a background of software engineering. For the last year I have been able to do both skydive coaching and software. I really enjoy both things and they are completely different. It gives me some diversity and a change of pace. Being able to share what I have learned with others is so important, but I need the balance to also allow me to keep my passion for training as fresh and strong as I want it to be.
Nobody is a badass at everything; what do you suck at?
I am horrible at decorating. I am awful at it.
What accomplishment— in skydiving or outside the sport—are you the proudest of?
It is hard to point out one specific thing. I feel like in the grand scheme of things I do things because I want to grow and I want to learn. So any one thing is sort of a steppingstone on that path. So it is hard to point out one particular thing. I am proud that I can do anything that I choose to do. The idea that I have been able to keep the ball rolling through all sorts of weird situations and circumstances is important to me. I started tinkering with computers when I was 12, and went full time with Google when I was 22 years old. I started jumping in 2006, and almost 10 years later I am on Airspeed.
>> Read the rest of the interview in the May 2016 issue of Blue Skies Mag. <<
Like this article?
Get more just like it every month, delivered straight to your mailbox. Subscribe today!