Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Monday, October 15, 2007


Alexey Yagudin – I am making more than Pluschenko!

Translation of an interview with Alexey Yagudin (AY) by a correspondent of the Russian Language publication Express Gazeta Sergey Dadigin (SD) printed on October 5, 2007.

Introduction: The sensational decision to return to amateur sports by Alexey Yagudin, five years after his victory at the Salt Lake City Olympics, created a lot of buzz. But it is not that simple. As per our information this season, the spectators will not see the great skater in major competitions. On July 5, Alexey had a serious operation in the USA for replacement of the hip joint. Doctors prohibited Alexey to get on ice for 3 weeks. He stayed off ice only for 2 weeks. And he was horrified that he could not control his leg.

SD – Alexey, why did you not listen to your doctors?

AY – I thought that they were overly cautious. I was eager to check my new leg out. And when it did not work, I was so terrified that I was almost crying. Fortunately everything worked out and in 3 days I was back on ice.

SD – Could you explain why did you decided to undergo such an unusual operation?

AY – I had troubles with my leg since birth. I could walk on the street and just fall down. My back and spine were treated, but nothing helped. All my life I suffered from pain, I just got used to it. After the 2002 Olympics the pain got worse, I was very depressed. Tatiana Tarasova helped me with her wisdom. She told me that I was lucky that the severe pain happened after I won the Olympics and that I should just enjoy life rather than be depressed. It is great that medicine progressed so far. 5 years ago people could not get titanium joints.

SD – Were you afraid of the operation? They had to insert a foreign object into your body.

AY – Before the operation, my doctor gave me a brochure that described the operation in detail, as well as what I could and could not do after the operation. It even included positions in which I could have sex. I understood then the seriousness of my decision, but I could not go back. I was immobilized for 2 days after the operation. On the third day I was able to get to the toilet. For a few days I could not sit on a chair, I was just lying down. I was getting used to my new condition.

SD – Why do you want to come back to sports? Being 4 time World Champion and the Winner of the Olympic titles is not enough?

AY – It is the lack of adrenaline. I want to test myself again. I reached almost all of my goals. The main drawback is that I am out of sport for 5 years and I am not getting younger. My nervous system is not as it used to be either. I did not set a goal to win the Vancouver Olympics. If I would be one of the three winners, I would be happy.

SD – Did you know that in the next World Championship Russia will be represented only by one male single skater?

AY – Yes, I was told about that. It is terrible. We always had at least three spots there. But I am not planning to compete in the World’s. This current season will be an introductory, gradually coming back season for me. Earlier then next spring I will not participate in any competition.

SD – Did you send an application to the ISU to restore your amateur status?

AY – Not yet. To write the letter is not a big deal. First I want to be able to jump a quad. To check out how my hip would behave under pressure.

SD – Will Tatiana Trasova be your coach again?

AY – No, now I will work with Nikolay Morozov. He better understood the new trends in figure skating and in the new system of judging. Morozov made a young Japanese girl the new World Champion. Tarasova is a unique person, but she still creates programs from her heart, more on emotions. These days the coach of figure skating should be a mathematician and to calculate in advance on a calculator how many points each element would bring. Also, Ms. Tarasova has her own family problems now. I will involve her as a consultant.

SD – In the “Ice Age” show on the first channel of Russian TV you are skating with a young singer, Victoria Dajneko. How did you end up with her?

AY – Initially I was supposed to skate with Angelica Warum, but she changed her mind. I am happy to skate with such a partner as Victoria. She wants to learn new things and she is always smiling.

SD – Your former partner, TV anchor Oxana Pushkina, did not smile at all?

AY – That was not it. She tried to produce the programs by herself, without Averbuch. And she tried to direct me, as if she knew anything in figure skating. But finally we worked out.

SD – In your pair with Pushkina you did not get any prizes. Can you win some with Victoria?

AY – Why not? We will try. Although at the last taping Victoria told me that she did not think that she could skate as good as Chulpan Chamatova did. It was true, that Chulpan skated better, and she was doing it for a long time now. She was coached by Averbuch back in 2006 at Turin Olympics. In general I was very impressed how the non skaters skate at the show. It will be an interesting competition.

SD – In parallel with this show, the TV channel Russia produces another ice show – “Dances on Ice”. Have you ever seen that show?

AY – Very briefly. I did not even see the opening. I was invited to go there, but decided not to go. There are the older figure skaters, not of my age group. That was why I selected channel 1. It is more comfortable here.

SD – Did Victoria have a car accident?

AY – Nothing serious, just a scratch on the car.

SD – Evgeny Pluschenco is going to release a book soon about himself. Would you be interested to read it?

AY – Not really. If I catch it I may look through it. Incidentally, I am also writing a book and will finish and release it soon. I am not writing it by myself, I have a literature editor. I think that my book will be no less interesting that Pluschenko’s.

SD – It was told that Evgeny was planning to participate in the “Ice Age” show as well, but he changed his mind because of the disagreements with Averbuch.

AY – I really do not care why he did or did not participate in the show. Actually, he was considering the ice shows on 3 different TV channels, but at the end he was nowhere. By the way, initially Averbuch proposed to me to become a commentator at the show together with Irina Slutskaya, but then I ended up skating with Victoria and Irina is working with Marat Basharov.

SD – When you were signing a contract at the show did you check how much was offered to Pluschenko? Did you set a condition to be paid more than him?

AY – You know, when I become an Olympic Champion in addition to my prize I was given just a voucher for 200 pounds of black chocolate. Four years later the winners, including Pluschenko, were getting cars and apartments. Ms. Tarasova helped me to get an apartment as well. If not for her I would not have one. But after my victory I left for the US. Pluschenko stayed back in Russia. He was a freshly minted champion and TV channels were competing for him and offered him big money. Someone even mentioned the sum of $700K, which was nonsense, figure skaters were not paid that kind of money. In the USA, I am making more than Pluschenko any way.

SD – If you run into Pluschenko at the taping of your show, what would you do?

AY – I would say hello, and move on.

SD – Would you talk to him? You have similar problems now, you and he are coming back on ice and both had operations.

AY – You know, I congratulated him with his victory in Turin by sending him a text message, but he never replied. When his son was born, I called him and we had a normal conversation. I respect him as an outstanding sportsman, but I would not be a judge of his character. Let someone else do that.

SD – Pluschenko was younger than you, but he already was married, had a child and got divorced. Are you going to be single for the rest of your life?

AY – I remember that when I was 19 or 20 years old, I was looking with a great interest at a girl. My mother asked me why I was looking at her like that and I replied that I was looking at the potential mother of my children. My mother told me that I was too young to think about that. At that time I wanted to get married, but then I decided that my freedom was very dear to me and I did not want to give it up. Who needs all of the problems of marriage, divorces, division of the property? Why not live together and if it would not work out, just split?

SD – Does it mean that you are not going to get married?

AY – Not in the next few years.

SD – Than what about Nastia Gorshkova? The papers were talking about the imminent wedding.

AY – We are not going to get married. I honestly explained my philosophy to Nastia. And I do not want children now. It is easy to make a kid, but who would bring him up? I do not have time for kids now.

SD – Are you completely occupied by figure skating?

AY – Not quite. I am also occupied by running my own transportation company that I recently acquired. It is a lot of work to get involved in the operation of the company, but one has to do it as not to be ripped off. In the Sates, together with my friend Mikhail Goldin, we have a small construction-development company. Also, recently I was invited to play a role in a television serial on the first channel. The screenplay is still being worked on, but it will be about figure skating. Masha Petrova and Roman Kostomarov will also participate in it. At this time I am working with an acting tutor. So, my life is pretty busy, but I like it that way.

SD - But if you really want to come back to amateur sports you will have to drop all of that at least till March of 2010.

AY - Yes I know, and I can be patient for two and a half years.


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