Olympic Champion Evgeny Plushenko has reportedly changed his newborn son's name from Kristian to Egor. (Pronounced Yeah-gor, not EE-gor, which is usually spelled Igor in the West).
In other news, US Pair Champions Jenni Meno and Todd Sand are the proud parents of another (presumably redheaded) son, named (for the moment) Matthew Kenneth Sand.
For those keeping track at home, that's four sons for Janet Lynn, two sons for Peggy Fleming, two sons for Nancy Kerrigan, two sons for Rory Flack, two sons for Lloyd Eisler (with another child on the way), one son for Scott Hamilton, one for Kurt Browning, one for Punsulan and Swallow... Kristi Yamaguchi and Ekaterina Gordeeva with their two girls a piece are doing their best, but the boys seem to be winning!
For those who have e-mailed me asking about the state of the skating rink in Metulla in light of the war, here is what I have found:
The guns had been silent only eight short days, and the mercury outdoors was nudging 40C, but they reopened the sports centre in this northern Israeli town yesterday, and that meant just one thing. Ice skating.
My own interactions with Surya have always been positive. Despite the language barrier, especially in her early years on the circuit, she was always friendly and gracious. Her mother on the other hand....
My favorite story about Madame Bonaly, which I fictionalized for "Murder on Ice," was the time she refused to let Surya be interviewed by ABC in front of lit candles, because she said it would suggest Surya was into devil worship.
Personally, I think the sight of little girls in sexy outfits and full make up, whether on stage or on ice, is creepy. But it is not a cause of death.
The fact is, grown men who are turned on by little girls would be turned on by little girls no matter what those little girls were wearing. The fault is on them, not on the children.
And parents who push their kids into make-up or skates to fulfill their own sense of inadequacy (or whatever need is fulfilled by being a stage parent), would switch over to a tennis racket or a violin if the pageantt/skating option were removed.
Finally, except for the fact that it's bad for your skin, some kids actually genuinelyy enjoy putting on make-up and strutting on stage. Neither they, nor the activity they engage in, is to blame for the sick people who are attracted to it.
With my fourth skating mystery, "Death Drop," scheduled for release in October 2006, that can only mean one thing -- time to start working on the fifth! (Publishing is a veeeerrry slow business, and manuscripts have to be turned in way in advance of the actual publication date which, at this point, will probably be October of 2007).
This time around, I'm thinking of doing something different. Instead of just one narrator, Bex, I'd like to branch out and have several people telling their stories. I'm playing around with bringing back characters from previous books, like Toni Wright, Lucian Pryce, Francis and Diana Howarth and everyone's favorite boss from hell, Gil Cahill. (I'm not kidding, I get more positive comments about Gil than I do about any other character. Folks, he's supposed to be a bad boss. But, I guess, he's fun to read about. Though, trust me, you would not want to work there).
Igor Pashkevich hasn't been heard from much since over a year ago, when he was part of the tragic accident that killed Angela Nikodinov's mother at the 2005 Nationals.
He is no longer listed as a coach at the Ice Castle Training Center.
So I am not sure Where He Is Now.
But here is Where He Was Then (1998):
Cromwell, CT - 1996 European Silver Medalist Igor Pashkevitch has re-located to the United States, and turned professional.
Explained Pashkevitch, "I'd skated long enough as an amateur. I competed at the European Championships, the World Championships, two Olympics, and the Grand Prix Final. I feel I'm ready to become a professional."
The Moscow-born Pashkevitch represented the USSR when he won the 1990 Junior World Championship (ahead of teammate and 1994 Olympic Champion Alexei Urmanov), and skated under the flag of Russia at the 1994 Olympics.
Then, in 1996, Pashkevitch, unhappy with his placing at several Russian Nationals, changed ethnicity to the newly independent nation of Azerbaijan, which had promised instant citizenship to any skater agreeing to represent them. He placed 8th at the 1997 Worlds, and 16th at the 1998 Olympic Games.
Pashkevitch conceded that politics may have played a part in his slipped ranking, since, unlike Russia, Azerbaijan did not have much of a history in skating. He said, "If I'd represented Russia, it's very possible that my results would have been different."
Currently, Pashkevitch is helping U.S. skaters of all levels achieve their best results. He is the newest coach at Champions Center in Connecticut. He raved, "They are building a second rink to open in September. They really want to develop their program. I have relocated full-time, and my coach (Marina Kudryatseva) came for the summer session. In the fall, she will relocate here, too."
In addition to coaching, Pashkevitch plans to compete as a pro. He hopes to skate at the U.S. Open and Legends in the fall.
Explained Pashkevitch, "The rules of competition (in eligible and professional) are different. That's what makes it interesting. The accent (in professional skating) is more on artistry, and on creative ideas. I plan to change my skating for the pro ranks. I've even already learned many new elements, like the back-flip!"