Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Thursday, April 12, 2007


Translation of article by Sergey Latinin and Sergey Dadigin published in the Russian Language Internet publication Express Gazeta on March 22, 07.

Introduction: Today figure skating is very popular. Almost as much as it was in the seventies of the last century, when all of Russia was glued to TV sets rooting for Irina Rodnina and Alex Zaitsev, Ludmila Pachomov and Alex Gorshkov and other Russian figure skating stars. But at that time the spectators could not even imagine what intrigues and love dramas were happening outside the rinks.

Irina Rodnina - the pride of Soviet figure skating, initially performed in pair with Alexey Ulianov - a handsome and stately man. Together they won 4 gold medals at the world championships and an Olympic gold medal in 72 at Sapporo. Everything looked fine, but only a very closed circle of people knew that at Sapporo Irina had a nervous breakdown - she refused to go out on ice. The problem was that her partner Alexey Ulianov fell in love with another figure skater - Ludmila Smirnova and was caught with her in a hotel room late at night.

Rodnina had her own feelings for Ulanov and she felt betrayed. Their coach Stanislav Zhuk was able to calm down the situation with the help of high ranking Russian sports officials. Rodnina and Ulanow went on the ice and won the Olympics. After the end of the season, Zhuk found another partner for Irina - Alex Zaitsev. Ulanov married Smirnova and skated in pair with her.

It is interesting to note that in this situation another skater suffered most - Andrey Suraikin. Before the infighting at Sapporo, he skated with Ludmila Smirnova and as she concedes herself, he loved her very much. Suraikin was about to propose to Ludmila to marry him, but Ulanov beat him to it and proposed to Ludmila first. Ulanov was very forceful, while Suraikin was very delicate and beautiful. Ludmila had chosen strength and over softness and married Ulanov. But their marriage fell apart.

Currently Ulanov lives alone in the USA. When he came to Moscow to watch the World Championship, none of his fans recognized him, while everyone recognized Irina.

They have separate lives, but Irina was also unhappy in her personal life - she separated from Zaitsev because of his drinking problem, and her second husband, an American, turned out to be a playboy.

During Soviet times womanizers were more careful. They were concerned of public opinion. After the collapse of the Soviet Union many things changed and the word "womanizer" did not sound any more as a condemnation. Alex Zhulin, former World Champion in Ice Dancing, was accused of womanizing at that time, but now the famous coach Tatiana Tarasova calls him "our sex symbol". Zhulin actually had a very good life than. He skated and lived with Maja Usova and behind her back had relationships with two other figure skates at the same time - Oxana Grischuk and Tatiana Navka. And if one would trust aggrieved Navka, he tried to court Ekaterina Gordeeva. It is interesting to note that all of these women became Olympic champions at different times. One can wonder how did he find the time for all of them. In the end, Alex Zhulin married Navka, who is 12 years younger then him.

These days figure skaters have too many tours - World and European Championships, stages of Grand Prix and various ice shows. When people end up in one big boiling pot, they by default become one big family. With some they skate, with others they share beds.

Another Olympic Champion in ice dancing, Andrey Bukin, skated with Natalia Bestemjanova, married Olga and had an affair with Elena Vasukova.

In their early years of skating, Natalia Bestemjanova and Andrey Bukin expressed such deep feelings on the ice, that many fans did not doubt that they were married. Or at least were a couple in love. In reality, Natalia was married to another skater - Igor Bobrin, while her partner Andrey Bukin managed to live with his wife and his mistress.

In January of 93, Olga Bukin was at home, waiting arrival of her husband from Germany, where he performed in the Theater of Miniatures on Ice under the management of Igor Bobrin. As usual her husband told her the time of his arrival, she baked a cake that he liked and their 9 years old son, Andrusha was anxiously waiting his arrival.

Mr. Bukin arrived home without his suitcase and with strange cold eyes. Upon entering the home he said: "I am leaving". Olga did not understand and asked if he was going to the garage. "No, I am leaving for good," replied her husband. But that night it was not Mr. Bukin who left the house, it was Olga, she could not stay there.

What to do, where to go, how to live? After some thinking, Olga went to Bestemjanova and Bobrin. Igor and Natalia were not surprised to see Olga. During their conversation it came out that a romance of Andrey with figure skater Elena Vasukova started long ago and everybody knew about it.

Olga Bukin was initially very jealous about Andrey Bukin's relationship with Natalia, but after Natalia married Igor Bobrin, their relations improved and they even became friends.

When Olga asked Natalia why she did not tell her about Andrey's affair, Natalia replied that she did not want to upset Olga, and hoped that the affair would pass.

Andrey Bukin met Elena Vasukova in 1976, 4 years before his wedding to Olga. Elena was a beginner. She did not reach any significant heights in sport and joined the ice theater of Igor Bobrin. Lena married Alex - another actor at the theater and it seems that they had a normal life, but after about 10 years of marriage, they divorced. It was thought that the marriage fell apart because of the relationship of Vasukova and Bukin. They had a son - Ivan. After leaving Olga, Bukin did not marry Elena. He lives alone and supports both of his children Andrey - now 24, and Ivan - now 10 years old.

It is erroneous, but Olga Bukin was the one who assisted her husband to meet Elena again. Initially after leaving the sport, Mr. Bukin went to work at Russia's Sport Committee. But he was bored in the role of a bureaucrat. Famous coach Tatiana Tarasova invited him and Natalia Bestemjanova to perform in her ice show - "All Stars". At about the same time, Igor Bobrin opened his Theater, and of course Natalia decided to work with her husband. Bukin did not know what to do since he did not want to upset his coach Ms. Tarsova. Olga Bukin interfered with a suggestion that he should not break his pair with Natalia and to go to work at the Theater of Igor Bobrin. The rest is history.


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