Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Monday, March 14, 2005


Passions that Melted Ice!

An article by Matvej Volodin and Alexey Georgiev published in the Russian Language on-line publication " Megapolis Express" (ME) on March 11, 2005.

People for a long time dreamed of combining art with sports. They achieved that purpose on ice. Figure skating is the name for this sport-creativity. However it became more difficult for sports. In any case, for the arbitrators, who are eternally accused of bias and subjectivity. But by what scale to measure those emotions without which it is impossible to win in this kind of sport?

Besides, in figure skating, the man and the woman are supposed to represent a single whole. And the way to awards, whether they like it or not, lays through love. Are the people on ice happy in love?

Love forever, passionate but in public not shown at all, because the public, in one moment, was up in arms against them for their infinite series of victories. They were and remain Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov. Together, they emigrated to Switzerland. Together, they continue to perform to this day (though Oleg is 72 years old)! (To read an interview with the couple, click here).

Were there quarrels, and at times, scandals in the family and at practice? Yes, it happened. Lyudmila and Oleg admit that. However it never reached the level of physical abuse or hatred.

Warm feelings were between (Irina) Rodnina and her partners. But the first of them, Alexey Ulanov, was a famous womanizer. Once in a hotel room in Japan, he was been noticed by the employees with a lady. And it was definitely not a business appointment. That lady, with her partner, were the main competitors of Rodnina and Ulanov. A law in Japan prohibits a man and woman who are not related to be in the same hotel room. Expulsion from the country and an international scandal were hushed up by assuring the Japanese that Alexey Ulanov and Lyudmila Smirnova would get married right after 1972 Olympics in Sapporo.

And it happened. Rodnina and Ulanov won the Games. Lyudmila Smirnova and Andrey Surajkin, the silver. Then the wedding of Ljuda and Alexey took place, after which two new pairs appeared: Rodnina and Zaitsev and Smirnova and Ulanov.

With Zaitsev, Irina became the Olympic champion twice more. She married him. She was happy. Now she is (twice) divorced. She has two children. And feels perfectly happy.

"They must love each other eternally!” skating fans once insisted. But probably only one, Alexander Gorshkov, knows what excessive pressures this requirement puts on a mere mortal, even if he was an Olympic champion. His marriage to Ludmila Pahomova ended tragically - Lyudmila died of incurable illness.

Time passed, life prevailed, though not always pleasing -- there were difficulties with his daughter, it was difficult to adjust to life outside the ice, and yes, it was difficult to be alone. There was a remarkable woman near by, but Alexander Georgievich was stopped from considering a new marriage by hearing:" How could he betray the memory of Lyudmila Pahomova?!"

Nevertheless, Alexander Gorshkov eventually got remarried. And it is difficult to forget how pleasure lit the faces of the both spouses, when, about seven years ago, ME asked them to tell our readers something about the difficulties involved with constructing a summer residence. As you understand, their joy was not in the summer residence, but rather in the realization that someone from press (read – the people) recognized their right to be treated as normal people.

Ekaterina Gordeya and Sergey Grinkov were the ideal pair in everything, obtaining energy for their victories from their love. Having begun their path to glory at the end of the 1980s, these charming children quickly won the affection of the public. Girls were running in herds after the handsome Grinkov, but he avoided easy love and quickly grew tired of the excessive attention. Tiny Katya did not show at all that she was interested in Sergey. They appeared in public, but it looked as if there was no romance between them. But in April of 1991, already Olympic champions, they got married. And, becoming professionals, they went to conquer America, where their daughter, Daria, was born.

Returning from the professional ranks, they won the Olympic Games once again, in Lillehammer in 1994. A year later, Sergey died on the ice during practice of heart disease.Katya wrote and published a book about her life. Then life prevailed, and she married Ilya Kulik, the (1998) Olympic champion whom she helped prepare for performances. The was no public gossips in their case. Today Katya and Ilya are pleasing spectators and performing as singles in ice shows.

Magnificent Irina Lobachova and Ilya Averbuh knew each other since childhood, when they trained in one sports school. But, they practiced differently. Ira devoted herself to figure skating. Ilya did not intend to devote himself to anything, as the boy was extremely lazy.

Working with different coaches separated them. But, despite Irina's diligence, ice skating was not working for her. At the same time, Ilya was performing in a pair with future Olympic Champion Marina Anisina. Together, they won two junior world championships.

But once Irina and Ilya met again at sports camp, they grew fond of each other. For the sake of Ira, Ilya left his partner and began not only to perform with Lobacheva, but also to live with her. (However, officially, they got married just recently and without any celebrations - they just dropped in at the registry office, signed papers, and ran off to practice.)

At first, they could not split sports from their private life in any way. Disputes and quarrels from the practice transferred to their home. ”It was awful,” says Irina. “But after three years of living together, we learned to separate work from life. At once, it became simpler and easier. Disputes about the programs remained on ice. We always solved everyday problems peacefully.” T

The Averbuchs had their share of difficult times. The dance world decided to get rid of them and push them aside as, for the first time in the Russian history, they left the country without medals at the world championship. A lot of dirt was poured on them. They were on the verge of leaving the sport for good. They were rescued only by their love.

"That was a great pain, but it became our common pain. During that time we became even closer to each other," recollected Irina.

And then they won silver at the Olympic Games, gold at the Worlds and the European Championship. “The main thing was that we gave birth to our son, Martin,” they insist.

On mom's assurance, Martin will never become a figure skater. But now mom works as a coach. And the daddy is the director of an Ice school...

Translated by G. Sivorinovsky
Web Translations in Real Time

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