Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Marina Anisina. Part 1. Tango from Paris
A famous figure skater ties her future with Russia

Translation of an interview by Alexandra Geguchadze (AG), a correspondent of a Russian Language publication “Rossijskaja Gazeta," printed on August 9, 2007.


The TV channel “Russia” is starting a new season of a popular show, “Dancing on Ice." The cast of the new show is promising to be as “Starry” as the last one. There is no doubt that the Champion of the 2002 Olympics in Ice Dancing with Gwendal Peizerat, Marina Anisina (MA) will be a favorite of the public.

AG – Did you watch the first season of “Dancing on Ice”?

MA – Of course I did, but not all of the shows. I even came to some tapings. It was very interesting. It is a wonderful show.

AG – What did you remember most?

MA – I liked the content of the show – it was a real competition. Also, most of the participants were my friends, figure skaters. The other actors were also very interesting. The whole show was very unusual.

AG – Why did you agree to participate this time?

MA – I was invited last season as well, but I was very busy with a contract in the US and I had to decline. Why did I agree now? Because it is something new and it promises different emotions. And one other thing: I did not participate in any competitions since I won the Gold at the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002, but I would like it very much to again feel competitiveness, a desire to win over the competition. I hope that I will have these feelings in this project.

AG – But you did not leave the ice since you have completed your amateur career.

MA – Yes of course. I am working in many shows in Europe, Asia and US. In principal, my schedule is very tight. But there is no element of competition in these shows. Sometimes I would like it very much to feel the adrenalin rush and emotions of competition. There used to be World Championships of professionals, but they do not do that any more.

AG – Did you see the British version of “Dancing on Ice”?

MA – Unfortunately not. Last year they invited me with my partner to participate in the show, but we had to decline it since we were skating in exhibition shows elsewhere. Now they invited me as a member of jury, but I did not respond yet since my calendar is so tight. The Russian project (where the famous figure skaters are skating with famous actors and other non-skaters), is a very unique project and it creates a lot of interest in the public.

AG – So did you see some other versions of this show?

MA – Yes I did see something similar in France last year. But the project was very short – just one day of competitions and it did not attract much interest. I doubt that the producers would repeat this show again. I think that there is an analog to this show in the US, but it is very weak. I do not see this as a surprise – most of the best figure skaters are in Russia.

AG – Let’s talk about the exhibition shows that you participate in. Did you receive any proposals from Evgeny Plushenko or Ilya Averbuch to participate in their projects?

MA – No, I did not, although I worked with Evgeny in the US project – “Champions on Ice." Neither he, nor Ilya proposed anything. So we are skating with Gwendal in different projects all over the world: in the States and in France there are very long tours.

AG – Marina, if you would have a chance to change something in your life, what would you radically change?

MA – I do not know, I really did not think about it. If you are talking about my sports career, I do understand that I will not be skating all my life. And I like to try myself in different arenas. Together with my partner we tried to host a few TV shows in France. Initially I was concerned about my accent, but the public liked it very much and was happy to see us not only as skaters, but as the hosts. And I liked it very much too.

AG – Did you ever want to leave the sport and figure skating altogether?

MA – Not really. Of course there were moments in life, especially in big sports, when you feel tremendous stress and you get very tired, when you practice for a competition and when you come out on ice. When you reach your goal, you are crushed by extreme tiredness. But in time it passes and you go back to what you love to do.

AG – You always considered your figure skating as a profession, while in Europe it is considered more like a hobby. How did you reconcile this difference with your French partner?

MA –Yes, it is correct. In Europe the attitude toward skating is different and initially my partner looked at it as a hobby, but when we went up to the gold medals level, he changed his attitude.

AG – Emotionally could any event be compared with winning the Olympics?

MA – Up till now nothing came close to it. Winning the Olympics is a dream, a most valuable prize.

AG – After you completed your amateur career, do you watch the figure skating events?

MA – A little bit, when I have time.

AG – And what are your impressions?

MA – If you are talking about ice dancing, the new method of judging made them definitely less interesting: the sports people are thinking only about how many turns they have to do. The programs become trivial; they are not interesting to the public. I think that dances should have stayed as dances. Each pair should have their own image, their own expression, not identical to another couple. The amount of compulsory technical numbers makes the programs lack composition and makes them less spectacular. It is not interesting.

AG – Is everything really that bad?

MA – You see, there were enough technical parameters before the change in judgment and the programs were not overloaded with compulsory technical elements, which allowed the skaters to show their individuality. I think that before it was much more interesting for spectators as well. The new method did not really bring the desired effect. Figure skating is a subjective sport and computers can not replace judges. Regardless of our professionalism we are all subject to emotions. In the past the spectators could really understand how the marks were given and could emotionally participate in the judging process. Now, they are confused with the new system of points, fractions and they do not understand what the judges are doing.

AG – How do you see the perspective of figure skating?

MA – I would go back to the old rules, with some modifications, as to bring up the interest to our sport. When the public is happy – it is great! Considering the young figure skaters, I am not so interested in them anymore. Before, I was watching them, even my competitors, but now their skating does not interest me at all. The most interesting for me now is men’s singles figure skating. There is a real competition there. I think that in the upcoming season the emotions will run high since, as I heard, Pluschenko and Yagudin are planning to come back as amateurs. The program “Dances on Ice” last year brought up a lot of interest to figure skating. It is very good for the skaters and spectators. I am very happy that I will participate in this show this season.

AG – How do you see your future? If I am not mistaken you wanted to get a coach’s certificate?

MA – I have already received a diploma of coaching in France. And I even tried myself as a choreographer when I worked with an American skater Johnny Weir. Last November we came to Moscow for international competitions. It is something new for me. I never thought that I can be a choreographer or a coach, but I like it and it seems that I am good at that.

AG – Did you ever want to come back to Moscow?

MA – It is hard to say. I would like to come here more often. I have some projects for the future, have some ideas and strength. If I would realize these ideas and would be successful in Russia, I would love to come back. Incidentally, my book will be published in Russia soon.


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