Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005


"Nobody understands figure skating better than the Russians "

Interview with the Olympic champion of Salt Lake City - 2002 Gvendal Pejzera(GP) by the correspondent of the Russian Language publication "Gazeta" Nikolay Sadovsy (NS) printed on March 21, 2005.

The Olympic ice-dance champion of Salt Lake City, Gvendal Pejzera, arrived in Moscow without his partner - Maria Anisina. He arrived at the world championship as a journalist. The Frenchman works for the television channel "Eurosport.” The primary goal of the former champion is to interview the present champions. Although Pejzera does not forget to root for his friends. Each day of the competition he is in the stands, closely watching the performances of the representatives of France. He gave special attention to the performance of Natali Peshala and Faben Burza. It is no wonder - right after the pair came up to the seats, Gvendal very gently communicated with Natali. They sat down separately from the others (unfortunately there were a lot of free spaces at the sports arena "Luzniki" ) and not concerned with their surrounding, exchanged kisses.

NS- Gvendal, it is great that you arrived in Moscow. What are your impressions of the world championship?
GP - The first thing that amazed me at this tournament was the public! Certainly, everything that is related to the championship was very well organized at the highest level, but it is impossible to organize the public! And especially the Moscow public. Russians perfectly understand figure skating. Better than anybody in the world. It is no wonder. You have tremendous traditions. Your public immediately realizes when to support the skaters, whether it is for the difficult moment in the program or on the contrary - when an emotionally positive splash is needed by the figure skaters. There and then they provide applause, shouts, and other noises. And it is not important who is on ice at the present, Russians or representatives of other countries, and yes, even if they are direct competitors of the Russians, the public is favorable to all. And it is magnificent! You should only recollect how the spectators supported Lambeil in the short program!

NS- Stefan was even surprised - he was wondering if the tournament was happening in Switzerland.
GP- Me too! The representative of any country felt at home on Moscow ice. It is for the sake of it that figure skaters come out to the rink. So that those who came to watch the competitions would get pleasure from their skating. I like such an atmosphere.

NS- And meanwhile, tickets for the world championship are not the cheapest, especially considering the size of salaries in our country. Very few people could afford to visit all the days of the tournament. And even for one evening not everyone could find the sum of about 100 dollars - considering the cost of the tickets, transportation and the souvenirs at the arena.
GP- This is a problem not only for Moscow. We bump into it all over the world. Figure skating is a popular and expensive kind of sport. The prices are going up from one year to the other. I trust that the organizers thought long and hard about the price policy and made as much as possible of a convenient decision. We shall not forget that the public could attend practices for free. Yes, the practice is not the competition, but at times practices are more interesting. For those who can not afford to come to the evening program itself, it is an opportunity to look at the favorites. And believe me, there were people in the stands. It meant that move was justified. As well as the price policy. In fact in most cases the Palace of sports was two-thirds full.

NS- Let’s get back to competition. Certainly the question will be about the performances of the dancers. You agree that Tatyana Navka and Roman Kostomarov are now the unconditional leaders?
GP - Certainly. Especially at this tournament. They had a brilliant season and were rightfully winning. Without questions. A nique exception, perhaps, was the NHK Trophy. In Japan they did not win. They won the rest with a good distance ahead of other contenders. Another matter is how things will go in the Olympic season - in fact it will be a completely different story. There will be enough contenders for first place, and no one will want to give the Russians first place without a struggle. There will be a competition - I promise you.

NS- And what about the judicial subjectivity in dance? One has to wait their turn.
GP- Yes and no. Yes, because one still should wait. In fact, you move ahead step by step. All dancers work a lot, and nobody would concede their position simply for nothing. Everyone wants to win. And if at present someone is in a strong position, sooner or later they will leave and will make the way for those below them and those will get closer to the medals. And no, because there can be those who instead of one step will be capable to make two - and to appear among the leaders. In fact, what are all sportsmen doing it for? For the sake of victories. The new system of refereeing enables to do two steps instead of one and more quickly to achieve the planned purposes. Thus, in general the answer to your question: yes, and no.

NS- For each sportsman the overall objective is the Olympic Games. You have already won "gold" three years ago. What did you feel then? How is it to feel that you were the Olympic champion?
GP- I was proud. Very proud, that we managed to win Olympic "gold". We were finishing our careers irrespective of results, but we would like to finish it so beautifully, becoming Olympic champions. And we made it. And I was very proud for France, in fact until then, our country did not have gold Olympic medals in dances on ice.

NS- In this victory there is also a Russian participation: your partner - Marina Anisina.
GP- Certainly. And we continue to skate together. Marina is fine, and I shall meet with her right after the world championship. We are going to the USA where up to the end of April we will take part in ice shows.

NS- The following season is the Olympics in Turin. I can not miss this opportunity to ask your opinion on what we should expect from dancers in February of 2006.
GP- Well, certainly the favorites will be all the same and the main contenders for gold medals will remain Navka and Kostomarov. But I hope very, very much, that there will not be such obvious favorites as in this season, or in fact, it will simply kill the tournament and all of the intrigue. And it will be very bad for figure skating as a whole. Also it will be certainly insulting, if the American duet of Belbin and Agosto would not go to the Olympic Games. The world championship has shown that they are a very strong pair, capable of achieving the greatest heights. Well, and certainly those who are in the places from the third and up to the seventh-eighth, can and should progress, and from them it is possible to expect surprises.

NS- You arrived in Moscow as a journalist. And in fact it was not so long ago that you did not take, but rather gave interviews. Which is easier?
GP- Well, you reminded me of how it feels to give an interview. Thanks! And in general, I should tell you that to give an interview is much easier. Firstly, it was rare that the questions were distinguished by a great variety, especially during tournaments, secondly - to answer is always easier than to ask, because you at once are given a theme for conversation, thirdly... I do not know, what is thirdly, but it is easier to answer. And to take interview - for me it is a novelty, it is like appearing on other side of the barricades. But it is interesting. I learn from my own mistakes and it seems to me that it turns out not bad. But on the ice I look better then with a microphone in my hand! The microphone at the present time is not yet my forte!

Translated by G. Sivorinovsky


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