Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Famous Figure Skating Coach, Olympic Champion Oleg Vasiliev, is in Love with his Student.

Interview with Oleg Vasiliev (OV) on February 1, 2005 by a correspondent of the Russian Language On-Line publication "Express Gazeta" - Mr. Sergey Dadygin (SD.

At the European Championship, which came to an end in Turin on Sunday, January 30, thousands of spectators watched the magnificent skating of Russian pair Tatyana TOTMJANINA and Maxim MARININ. It was their debut at the international level after autumn of last year, when, at the US stage of the "Grand Prix," Tatyana fell on the ice and lost consciousness. The diagnosis was unfavorable - a brain concussion.

OV- As soon as possible, I called Tatyana's mom and tried to calm her down. All 20 hours while Tatyana was in the hospital, I was nearby. Her mom wanted to fly from Russia to Pittsburgh, but to receive a visa to the USA in one or two days is impossible. And it did not make a lot of sense. A brain concussion is certainly bad, but it is not fatal. In figure skating, unfortunately, traumas are inevitable.

Oleg Vasilev recollected a unique case. At the end of the 1970s, a Soviet figure skater Irina Vorobeva ( who performed in pair with Igor Lisovsky) received a brain concussion during the World Championship. It occurred at practice before the free program. By all opinions, the pair of Vorobeva - Lisovsky should have been removed from the tournament. However, the next day, contrary to the doctor’s ban, Irina went on the ice. And she and Igor stepped up on a pedestal! It was reported that in all of Irina Vorobeva’s sports career, she had 11 brain concussions. She is still suffering from headaches. Because of a similar trauma,Tatyana Tarasova who has become subsequently a well-known coach, left sports ahead of her time.

At first, physicians told Totmjanina that she should refrain from practice for a month. But Tanja improved quickly, and doctors allowed her to step on the ice two weeks after that fall. However, the skater herself tried to make it much earlier, as soon as she felt better. She was literally drawn to the skating rink. Vasilev, to slow her down and prevent further problems, took her car to the service center. He also asked her friends not hurry her up.

OV - When we returned from Pittsburgh to Chicago, journalists did not let us pass. We went from one television studio to another - and it lasted three whole days. CNN, ABC, NBC - all the leading TV channels of America and local, from Chicago, took our interviews. It was a mad house.

SD - Were you surprised that Tatyana did not remember the moment of falling at all?
OV- No, not at all. It is the normal reaction of a healthy organism - to block out what is not necessary to remember.

SD- What does your working day in Chicago consist of?
OV - From six to eight o'clock in the morning, I work with American children. Then, around nine, Tanja with Maxim come in. We conduct two practice sessions in succession, with a two-hour break for rest. Approximately at three o'clock in the afternoon, the skaters are free and can engage in their own activities. And I again step on the ice till six in the evening to coach the youngsters.

When Oleg Vasilev left for Chicago, his spouse Valentina remained with their daughter in St. Petersburg. According to Oleg, his wife did not want to sit idle in the States, while in Petersburg she had a business. Valentina did not want to drop her business. The spouses met several times a year, and not only in Chicago or Petersburg, but also, for example, in London. There, four years ago, they marked the birthday of their daughter, Katenka (who turned six), and were on top of the world with happiness.

But a couple of years ago the "marriage at a distance” finally broke up. By the way, the first wife of Vasilev was a well known figure skater, Elena Valova. Together with her, Oleg, in 1984, became the Olympic Champion in a Pairs. Valova now lives in the USA and works as a coach (for an exclusive interview with Elena Valova, please click here.)

At the beginning of January, in a lobby of the Palace of Sports, where the Championship of Russia took place, there was a gossip that Oleg Vasiliev was attracted to his student and it seemed that the figure skater has reciprocated his feelings.It was curious, that to the final banquet in Petersburg, at the restaurant "Kolchida," Vasilev came with Totmjanina, while her partner did not come at all. Every time a young man would invite the champion to dance, Tatyana would look at the coach, as though asking him if he would mind. Vasilev would pretend that it did not bother him, but Tatiana did not dance, all the same. Later, when the table at which the leading figure skaters of the country and their coaches sat became empty, this correspondent found out that there were at the table only two people - Totmjanina and Vasilev. They lovingly cooed about something.

An attempt to clear a situation by asking Tatyana was unsuccessful: "It is my private life, and I do not let anybody in it".

Oleg did not expand on this theme, either. But people close to figure skating talk about the affair of Totmjanina and Vasilev as a fact that came to pass. And why not? They are a very beautiful couple. Oleg is in his forties and looks like a London dandy - he is perfectly dressed and elegant. Tatyana, having let her hair grow, has unequivocally gotten prettier and become even more feminine. There are similar precedents in sports. Alexander Zhulin coaches the dancing pair of Navka - Kostomarov and he is the husband of the figure skater.

SD- Oleg, let's change the theme of our conversation - does Maxim has a girlfriend?
OV - It is his private business. Even if he will date three or five girls at once, at the same time he will be good at performances and practices – yes, please, go ahead! I am not against it.

SD - And if he will decide to marry?
OV- Then it is an another matter. We shall sit down, we shall talk. The family is sacred, but family relations should not affect work.

SD - Where do your students live?
OV - Maxim rents a place in suburb Chicago. Tanja is located in the city center. And in the past year I have bought an apartment in Chicago . On credit.

SD - Does our federation somehow help you?
OV - Yes. When there was all this with Tatjana's falling, Valentine Piseev, the president of the federation, called every fifteen minutes. In the shortest time he organized a trip to America by a doctor-psychologist. This expert, Elena Derjabin, has very much helped Tatyana to enter into a normal working channel more quickly.

Translated by Genrikh Sivorinovsky
Translations in Real Time

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