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Saturday, December 11, 2004

ILYA AVERBUCH - 12/11/04


Lately Moscow spectators are spoiled by shows of the stars of figure skating

Interview of Ilya Averbuch (IA) by Olga Kravchenko, (OK) a correspondent of the Newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets published on December 11, 2004

Introduction: Recently the top world figure skaters participated in the final stage of the Grand Prix in Moscow. Another tide of stars is expected in Moscow in March at the World Championship.

But between these two competitions there is a surprise from the most beloved ice dance pair. On December 26 in the Moscow Sport Arena "Luzniki" there will be farewell ice show by Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbuch called "Together and forever".

Two years ago, after the Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Irina and Ilya announced that they were leaving figure skating and would never come back. It is fortunate that they exaggerated what they meant. They did not leave the sport, but rather became the World, European and Grand Prix Champions. It seemed that the pair was in the top sport form, why leave? But this time Ira and Ilya again decided to leave the amateur sport after the Worlds Championship in Washington DC.

They were not allowed to leave the sport as winners - out of 14 judges, nine gave them the first place, but by some "miracle" and after a long computer computation, the pair from Canada got the gold.

Nevertheless Lobacheva and Averbuch left figure skating as they were very tired of constant practice and travel.

The dancing and family pair wanted to come back to Moscow from "terrible America", to settle in a new apartment, to find their place in normal life and most of all to have the child that they wanted for many years.

But as it was in the past, reporters and fans of Irina and Ilya could not believe that the beloved pair would quit. When people are talking about them they use words like "probably", "possibly", "most definitely come back". Could it be true? There is an upcoming World Championship in Moscow and could it be that the pair would decide to participate within their native walls?

IA- Unfortunately not, we are leaving the amateur sport for good. It was not easy to make this decision, but sooner or later we had to do that. While we were away from the sport, we got used to a life without the terrible sport regiment. We had a long and painful way and we can boast that we reached certain achievements in regular life. We do not want to loose them.

OK- Did the birth of your son influence your choice?

IA - Yes, when Martin came along, our life changed substantially. We are three now, and thus, when we think about our careers, we have to think about his interests.

OK - But could it be that he is not against figure skating?

IA - Martin recently turned 9 months, he is about to start walking. Incidentally Ira does not want him to become a figure skater, that is why it is all not so simple. When I was a child, I wanted to be a tennis or football player, and maybe my son would realize my dreams. Martin is a fast moving and energetic toddler, but it is too early to talk about his preferences.

OK - Often former figure skaters, after completing their sports career, limit themselves and become coaches. Have you decided to follow a different path?

IA - At this time I would like to try myself in something else. I like journalism, television. We would like for as long as possible to produce our own ice shows. No matter what, figure skating was a part of our life. We opened our school based at the new rink on Talalichin street.

OK- Some times ago Irina received an offer to be a coach at the rink "Moskvich", where she would work on ice with your first coach Natalia Dubinskaya.

IA- Yes, it is true, we have very good relations with "Moskvich". We are in a very warm, relation with Natalia Petrovna. But unfortunately at this time, they do not have the resources to create a group of ice dancing pairs. Incidentally, Ms. Dubinskaya had passed on to us a couple of her best students - Nikita Kosolapov and Denis Lunin.

OK - But after all your main business is the Ice Shows?

IA - Yes, but we do not limit ourselves to the Moscow and Russian regions. In the future we would like to produce shows in Hungary, Poland and, in general throughout Europe.

OK - Prior to the Moscow show you will have a tour of road shows in Novosibirsk, Chelabinsk and Khabarovsk. How would the show in Moscow differ?

IA - The Moscow show will have an exclusive cast of figure skaters. Evgeny Plushchenko, Irina Slutskaya and Elena Sokolova will not participate in the Novosibirsk or in the Khabarovsk shows. And our official farewell to our amateur career will take place particularly in Moscow. We think that our fans would not want to miss the "last word" of Irina Lobacheva and Ilya Averbuch, Elena Bereznaja and Anton Sicharulidze and Alexandr Abt. This kind of show will happen only once and will never be repeated.

OK- Your birthday will be at the time of the tour. How will you celebrate it?

IA - It is unfortunate but I will not be able to mark that day. On December 18th we will arrive in Khabarovsk. The best birthday present for me will be the full houses of spectators in each city. Especially in Moscow in "Luzniki".

OK - What present do you expect from Irina?

IA - Mmmmm. I am not sure (laughing). I did not ask for anything specifically. It seems that I have everything.

OK- It is hard to count how may years you are together. At home and at work. How do you keep your relations so nice?

IA - There is no secret, we feel very comfortable with each other.

Translated by Genrikh Sivorinovsky


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