Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006


Planning to make his 8th appearance at the World Championships this month is Georgia's Vakhtang Murvanidze.

Although his highest international finish to date was 7th at the 2003 European Championship, the charismatic 26 year old has a devoted core of fans -- and great ambitions.

Here is an interview I did with him in 1999:

In his bio for the World Championships, Georgian Men's Champion Vakhtang Murvanidze, 20, listed his hobbies as "boxing, and girls."

About the latter, he laughs, "I was feeling rather optimistic about girls when I wrote that." He has no time for a girlfriend at the moment, but, "Girls are the hobby of every Georgian male."

As for the latter, Murvanidze explains, "Boxing is an art. It's beautiful. As a child, I did both boxing and skating. Even now, I do it every summer. I have lots of friends who are boxers. They're all amazed that the Georgian skating champion boxes!"

But, skating is still his passion: "I adore it."

Murvanidze also adores his former coach, Igor Rusikov, who "is like a father to me."

Unfortunately, "(Rusikov) has leukemia. He's had chemotherapy for three years. Next to our rink, there's a hospital. Not a very good hospital, there are better ones, but, he chose it, so he could run from the hospital to train us."

Yet, when Rusikov could no longer physically coach: "He told me, himself, to change coaches. I would have never left him."

At least, Murvanidze says, "I am godfather to his daughter, so we're family forever."

Currently, Murvanidze trains with Elena Tchaikovskaya, alongside 1999 World Champion Maria Butyrskaya. He raves, "I bow down to (Butyrskaya). Twenty-six years old, and she won Worlds. She gives me hope."

Murvanidze lost his chance to compete at the 1998 Olympics after tearing a ligament in his foot.

"I could barely walk. I had to learn how to do single jumps, again. No one believed in me, except my mother and my coach. I was angry at myself and at others. I wanted to show them all."

Murvanidze finished 28th at the 1998 Worlds, then leapt to 17th place in 1999. But, he isn't impressed by his achievement. He sighs, "So far I haven't shown anyone. 17th at Worlds isn't showing anyone."

"My ultimate goal is to win the Olympics. That's the dream of every skater, or else he wouldn't do it. If he says it's not (his dream), he lies."

2006 Update
: Rusikov died in 2003 (Despite Vakhtang saying optimistically, "France agreed to perform surgery on him, to do a bone marrow transplant. It's the first time in history they've done this for free for a non-French citizen. It's a very expensive operation, and they are making great concessions for him. A French minister arranged it."). Vakhtang now trains in New Jersey with Craig Maurizi and is dating Kristin Fraser, an American who represents Azerbaijan in Ice Dance. He finished 17th at the 2002 Olympics and 28th in 2006.


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