Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Monday, April 16, 2007



Interview with Sergey Dadigin (SD) published in Russian Language publication Express Gazeta on February 20, 2007


Introduction: Ilja Kulik, who did not visit Moscow for 9 years, came to his motherland to participate in a birthday jubilee show for his coach Tatiana Trasova. The next day he went back to America.

Since after winning the Nagano Olympics, Ilja Kulik stayed in America and did not participate in competitions, the public in Russia had forgotten him and switched their attention to other skaters - Alexei Jagudin and Evgeny Pluschenko.

And all of a sudden, Ilja was back in the news when he married Ekaterina Gordeeva. Ekaterina was a beautiful woman, who at the Calgary Olympics was considered an unofficial "Miss Olympics." She skated in pair with Sergey Grinkov and this duet was considered in the 80s almost a pinnacle of pair skating. Gordeeva and Grinkov, who later became husband and wife, were 4 time World Champions and two-time Olympic Champions. On November 20, 1995 during practice, Sergey fell on the ice and died of a heart attack. Ekaterina became a widow with a young daughter on her hands.

Ilja Kulik always preferred older women. When he was a junior he fell in love with a more experienced French skater, but his coach Tatiana Tarasova did not like that relationship. She thought that his attraction would affect his emotions and he would not be able to skate. His first true love came to him right before the Olympics at Nagano.

Ilja met a former figure skater and currently an actress, Maria Anikanova at the home of Tatiana Tarasova, but his mother did not approve of the relationship for several reasons: firstly - Maria was at that time married to figure skater Evgeny Platov, who she later divorced due to his numerous love adventures; secondly - she was older than Ilja by four years. As a result, Ilja and Maria split.
Ekaterina in her youth was dating another figure skater - Alex Zhulin, but their romance did not work out either.

SD - Ilja, how did you become a participant in the show? Why didn’t you come to Moscow earlier?

IK - This New Year my wife, Ekaterina (Gordeeva), and I celebrated in Moscow. We visited both of our parents, met with our friends. At that time, Ilja Averbuch asked me if I would like to participate in the jubilee show in honor of Tatiana Tarasova. How could I refuse?

SD - I am sorry, but didn't Ms. Tarasova publicly reproach you that after winning the Olympics in Nagano, you forgot to pay her? How did that conflict end?

IK - It is our business. After the 1998 Games we met with Ms. Tarasova in America and had normal communications. She does not have any more claims against me. The conflict appeared because after the Olympics in Nagano I became professional.

SD - Why did you leave the sport so early when you were only 21 years old?

IK - When Ms. Tarasova and I won the Olympics at Nagano I was physically and mentally drained. During preparation to the Games I was so nervous that I felt that I could have a nervous breakdown any moment. But I endured. And then I refused to participate in the World Championship, although I did not have that medal. I lost the incentive.

SD - Ilja how did you meet Ekaterina? Was it difficult for you to become a dear person for her, after her husband death?

IK - It was not simple. We met in 1999 at the "Stars on Ice" show. During that season we traveled over half of America, performed in 70 cities. The cast of the show was a very tight group and on the road as you know people like to talk. Ekaterina and I got to know each other very well and we spent all of our free time together. Later I realized that it was love.

SD - Was it a problem for you that you were 6 years younger than Ekaterina?

IK - No, she always looks great.

SD - Did you compose poems for her?

IK - Yes I did. And I sang songs to her. Why did you ask?

SD - Because when we met in Nagano at the Olympic village, you composed a small poem for the readers of the magazine, and I liked it very much.

IK - Thanks. I have done it because I was happy after my victory.

SD - When did you officially marry Ekaterina?

IK - Sometimes in 2000 or 2001

SD - Could you be more specific? I believe that these moments are unforgettable.

IK - You see, we did not have a luxury celebration. We registered our marriage during a break in performances at the Russian Consulate in San Francisco. Ekaterina was well known in the US and she was getting tired of the high attention of the press. We did not want to announce widely our relationship. OK, I will tell you that we registered in the summer of 2001.

SD - There are two daughters in your family - Dasha and Leeza, who have different fathers. How do the girls deal with each other?

IK - Dasha is 15, Leeza will be 6 in June, the age difference is substantial. They have different interests, but they do not quarrel. My wife and I insist that the girls speak Russian at home. Dasha is doing fine, but Leeza needs work.

SD - I heard that Dasha skates very well. Is she interested in becoming a figure skater?

IK - I believe that she is not serious about figure skating. I think that she will select another profession.

SD - Where did you go for vacations with your wife the last time?

IK - To Hawaii. It is an ideal place for family vacations. Since Ekaterina after the birth of Leeza went back to performing in ice shows, and considering our heavy load, constant travel, hotels, we try to have several vacations every year. We take 7 - 10 days off and in the winter time go to warm places like Hawaii, the Caribbean or Florida.

SD - If I am not mistaken you had a home in Los Angeles? Why did you move?

IK - Ekaterina liked Los Angeles, we lived there for 2 years, but there were problems with the ice. We could not practice at times convenient for us. And the distances on the West Coast were too big. So we moved to the East Coast - a town of Newington, State of Connecticut. At the rink where we practice there is a famous coach - Galina Zmievskaya, a coach who trained Olympic Champion Oxana Bauil. Ms. Zmievskaya sometimes helps us in coaching Dasha.

SD - Do you have a big house?

IK - It is a four bedrooms condo. It is sufficient for our family. Ekaterina's and my parents often visit us. We are all having fun. We like everybody.


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