Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007



Article in a Russian Language Internet Publication RTR-Sport.Ru printed on April 11, 2007.


Two time Olympic Champion, four time World Champion, six time European Champion, renowned German figure skater Katarina Witt is leaving the ice arena.

In her statement to the press, the 41 year old sportswoman announced that she is getting ready for a farewell tour. At this time it is not known where exactly she will perform, but it is known that it will be in 8 cities and will conclude in December of this year with a final performance.

Katarina Witt started her sport career as a 5 years old girl. In 1983, she, for the first time, became a European Champion. In 1984, she won a gold medal at the Olympics in Sarajevo. In 1988, Katarina ended her career in big sport. All the years in between, she was holding the title of European Champion.

In 1988, Katarina started working on contract with an American ice ballet "Holidays on Ice".

In 1992, Katarina became a World Champion among professional skaters.

In the professional arena her partners were Brian Boitano and Brian Orser. In the US, Katarina is known as an announcer at NBC, a participant in the famous show "Stars on Ice" and in a number of TV shows.

In Germany, at a private channel, RTL, Katarina was a participant in the "GDR Show" which was playing on the nostalgia of East Germans for their past.

In the fall of 2006, Katarina was the leading TV personality for the show "Stars on Ice".

According to Russian Language Information Agency-ITAR-Tass, Katarina is renting a villa in Los Angeles, and in Berlin, she has a 4 story home.
Friday, April 20, 2007



Lobacheva married Ilja Averbuch to be able to leave Russia

An article by Andrey Klinkov printed in the Russian Language publication Express Gazeta on February 27, 2007.


Ilja Averbuch arrived to Israel a few days ago and proposed to produce in Tel Aviv an ice show, "Stars on Ice," similar to the one that was shown in Russia on Channel 1 TV.

Russian speaking Israelis enthusiastically met this news. Moreover, one of the representatives of the local press proposed to Averbuch to become a citizen of Israel and to open his own figure skating school there. Ilja got exited and said that he needs to think about that.

It is curious, but not long ago his wife and partner in ice dancing, Irina Lobacheva, let out a secret that she actually married Ilja as to get Israel's citizenship and to participate in Olympics and in other main competitions under Israel's flag.

The reason for it was the fact that in the mid 90s there was severe competition for the places on the Russian National Team, and the couple of Lobacheva-Averbuch was not always included in the National Team.

Ilja and Irina, who by that time lived together, decided to formalize their relations, hurried up and got married. But soon the environment changed and Ilja and Irina changed their mind about emigrating. It looks like it was the right decision, since they became World Champions in 2003 performing for Russia.

Currently Irina Lobacheva and Ilja Averbuch both work in a figure skating school in Moscow. So, the Israelis did not offer anything new to the couple. But nevertheless, Irina Lobachva mentioned that maybe their children will become Israelis.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Article in the Russian Language Internet News publication Rol.Ru. printed on April 12, 2007.


Unusual relationship of the figure skating star with Mr. Konstantin Khabinsky prompts an unexpected development.

Because of her condition, the champion canceled her important show tour in America. The secret relationship of Konstantin Khabensky and Irina Slutskaya received an unexpected development. After her 8 years of childless marriage to Sergey Micheev, Irina became pregnant.

It was understandable of how this happy and long anticipated news affected the skater, who immediately decided to cancel her tour show contract. Despite the fact that she was so early in the pregnancy, and that she could skate for at least a month longer, Slutskaya did not want to take chances with the health of the fetus.

Learning that she was pregnant, Irina did not want to hide her happiness and immediately told Konstantin the news. The actor, who also had a childless marriage, was very happy as well. Although they are both happy, they both understand the complexity of their situation. Both of them are married to other people. At this time they are trying not to think of how they would deal with their spouses.

As soon as she learned about her pregnancy, Irina immediately decided that she would stop her performances with the touring company, although she had a signed agreement to participate in Pluschenko's show on ice.

On April 10, Irina, together with other members of the touring company, was supposed to leave for the US, where they have planned 2 months of shows. Producers of the show tried to convince her to go to the States for just a short period, but she refused, saying that the contracts mean nothing to her, since she was dreaming of having a child for such a long time. Irina was concerned that she may lose the fetus at the second month of pregnancy, which has a high risk of miscarriage.

At this time Irina stays in Moscow and is not planning to leave the capital.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Olympic Champion and Three Time World Champion Marina Klimova

Interview by Arkady Blumin, printed in Russian Language publication West-East on April 5, 2007


Introduction: Dark times, unsettling conditions and uselessness threw millions of former Soviet people throughout many countries. Not only family ties, but friendships were broken down. The winds of emigration mercilessly hurled even seemingly very successful people. I was lucky to meet a family of stars - Marina Klimova and Sergey Ponomarenko. Three time World Champions and Olympic Champions in Ice Dancing who are currently living for more than 5 years in the fine and comfortable town of Morgan Hill, not far from San Jose.

It was so nice to socialize with these very nice and benevolent people, who did not suffer from stardom conceit. I was very happy when beautiful Marina agreed to an interview. The fist question was benign:

AB - Please tell us about your life's path.

MK - I started skating in my native city of Sverdlovsk, where with my than partner Oleg Volkov, we reached a certain success. We steadily took relatively high places in the junior competitions, and we were members of the National Team. Unfortunately, my coach, who I loved very much, left the city and I was facing a question of what to do next. That was why we eagerly accepted the offer of Ms. Natalia Dubova to train with her. Our pair left for Moscow. Ms. Dubova arranged for me to go to a sport's boarding school, which was far from the skating rink, that I had to go to twice a day. The main attention of course was paid to skating, but by no means I could fall behind in my studies. I am very thankful to my parents for letting me, a 12 year old girl, go to this strange and distant city. Now, when I have my own kids, I can appreciate their action. I would not let them go, for sure. Sergey Ponomaremko was skating then with Tatina Durasova in the class of Natalia Dubova. By that time they were two time world junior champions. A year later, Sergey stopped skating with Tatiana and I stopped skating with Oleg, and we formed a new pair. It was a very difficult time for me, because I was far behind Sergey in experience and strength - he was 19 and I was only 13, but I had to skate an adult program. It was very difficult for me to compete with adult female skaters . In 1980, we were eighth in the country, and in 1983, for the first time, we were included in the national team. That year, at the World Championship, we took the forth place. It was quite a start for us. Next year, at the 1984 Olympics, we won a bronze medal. It became a stimulus and we started thinking about gold. For the next 4 years we were number two to the stars - Natalia Bestemjanova and Andrey Bukin, who were coached by the very powerful Tatiana Tarasova. It was very difficult to compete with them, since Natalia was a grown woman and could express her feelings much better than me, still a kid, and besides, they had such a strong protector as Ms. Tarasova. The most interesting part of being number two was that we were very interested in competing, in reaching the peak that was ahead of us. Our leadership came to us not overnight, it was rather a long and complicated trip. But when we won three world championships in a row, and than in 1992, the Olympics, we acquired a fear to fail, to loose everything and we lost all of the joy of competitions, which sometimes turned into torture. We realized that in life there were things more important than Olympic medals. We wanted to enjoy what we were doing and decided to end our sport's performances.

AB - Were there problems, intrigues and fierce competition for you and Sergey for the place in the National Team, especially from Bestimjanova and Bukin, who were supported by Tarasova?

MK - Of course there were some problems. At the time of preparation for the competitions our paths did not cross. In life off the rink we were not enemies, but also we were not friends. But nothing is that simple in life. Prior to the Olympics, in 1991, our coach, very unexpectedly for us, put her bet on another pair, and Sergey and I felt like orphans. The time was so difficult that we considered to drop out of the competitions altogether. And in this trying time for us, it was Ms. Tarasova, who took care of us and prepared us for the Olympics, for what we were very grateful to her.

AB - What was the atmosphere in Dubova's group? In one of the interviews Evgeny Platov said that the discipline was very hard. If a skated would miss a practice, that skater would not be allowed to go on the ice for some time and the pay would be docked. He said that the discipline of Ms. Dubova was outside of common sense. The skater had to become a robot. Was it really that bad?

MK - In the group of Ms. Dubova there were very high requirements of discipline, but not so barbaric as Platov said. If a skater would miss practice, she would give that skater some extra assignments.

AB - What happened next?

MK - It happened that we participated in Olympiad of 1992 at the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union and we were performing without a country, under the Olympic flag. When we came back to Moscow as Olympic champions, we became absolutely useless. And when we were offered a contract in the US, we jumped at the opportunity. At that time, no one in Russia offered us any contracts for shows on ice, TV shows or any other contracts, as it happened with the current Olympic champions in ice dancing - Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov. We were invisible, but we wanted to skate very much. Amateur sports are very different from professional sports. In amateur sports there are a lot of limitations, boundaries and stresses. It is very hard to really relax and correspondingly the creative side is suffering. In professional sports everything is different, and we enjoyed our skating for 8 years in the States. We traveled from one city to another. We had up to 200 shows a year, which brought us happiness and joy. Our dream came true - we were skating for a long time, we enjoyed our skating and we felt the love of our fans. But eventually came the realization that we needed to bring some order in to our lives. In 2000, our son was 2 years old, we wanted another child and decided to stop skating. At that time, the San Jose hockey team "Sharks" was building a new ice complex and we were offered coaching jobs at the ice arena.

AB - Do you like your job?

MK - Of course, I would be happier if I worked with (dance teams). All my life I have devoted to dances on ice, I know them very well, but I have to work with everyone. Initially I was afraid to work with children, but now, when I have my own kids, and have more experience, I am more confident in my work with the little ones. If I would see a talented youngster I would work with him, but I prefer to work with 10-12 year old kids since they are old enough to coordinate their movements. Figure skating depends a lot on the ability of a skater to coordinate the movements and to control their body to the highest level.

AB - I know that Sergey and sometimes you are invited to judge different competitions. Do you have to have special preparation as a judge, or could you rely on your experience and credibility as three times World Champions and Olympic Champions? The rules have changed substantially.

MK - It is true that the rules have changed substantially, it became more difficult to skate and the skater is expected to control the skates more fully. When Sergey is invited to work at the competitions, he is working not as a judge, but rather as a technical consultant. It is easy to understand why he is invited to this work, because due to his vast experience he knows the smallest nuances of skating.

AB - Are you in contact with your former friends - competitors and colleagues from the team?

MK - With some of them we meet at different competitions, with others, for example with Alex Fadeev, we meet in everyday life. Some became successful coaches, careers of others were less successful; some left the sport altogether, others opened businesses related to skating - e.g. making suits for the skaters, etc. Rodnina became a public figure. The life in sports is really short. All the time new names appear and the old ones disappear. Many live in America or Canada. Our life spread us over many countries and continents. Although, the time now came for return of many coaches to Russia. Probably the government allocated some money to sports and people were actively attracted back.

AB - If I understand it correctly, the children initially learn to skate solo, and later they find their calling. How did it happen with you?

MK - As a rule, everything really starts with single skating. Some skaters after reaching a level, say of double jumps, stop progressing. If it is really a talented skater, the coach would suggest that he/she would go into ice dancing. There are other factors - for example the girl grows too big and the partner can not lift her any more in pairs. In my case - from the first steps on ice I was interested in ice dancing.

AB - What is the technology of creating a dance, who selects the music?

MK - Up until some level of the skaters, the music and the dance steps are completely decided by the coach, or the coach and choreographer. But with experience, widening of the horizon and appearance of own opinions, the skater's wish plays a more important role. At some point, the opinion of the skater becomes decisive. Otherwise the skaters will perform the dance very clean technically, but will not put their emotions into it, which are very important. It is important that the music would pass through the heart of the skaters and that is why their opinion may be decisive.

AB - What is your relationship with America, your personal estimate?

MK - We worked very hard for 8 years and were practically chained to it. It took years for us to adopt to the society, to master the language and to figure out everything. At the same time the situation in Russia changed a lot as well. We do not understand many things that happen there and I could not even think about going back there. I do not understand Russia now, we are separated from her and now our home is really here.

AB - What is your citizenship?

MK - I have dual citizenship - Russian and American.

AB - Many professional sports people at the end of their career have a lot of health problems, they gain weight, especially the ones that took doping.

MK- I want to assure you that in figure skating no one uses doping. Figure skating is a complex coordination sport and in it doping in principal can not be used. Compared to other sports, figure skating is a forgiving sport. It can be compared with running for a medium distance. It is as hard to execute a program as it is to run a medium length distance. Of course there is trauma. Single skaters often fall, pull the muscles or tendons. In my case I was lucky, thank god. A skater has to feel his body. The traumas happen when you lose self control and when you feel discomfort. I always felt when I had to stop practice. Most of my traumas I got on the gym floor when we were practicing some new elements or lifts. I fell twice in the gym and broke my wrist, but I did not have traumas on ice. If one approaches skating with a cool head, the traumas could be avoided. First of all, one has to listen to the coach. I remember when Ilia Kulik had a problem with one of the jumps, he kept jumping and jumping. His coach told him to stop and warned him of a potential danger, but Ilya continued to torture himself and it ended up sadly with a leg trauma.

AB - What was the fate of Ekaterina Gordeeva, Alex Fadeev? What do you know of legendary Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov?

MK - Ekaterina lives now with Ilia Kulik. They have their own child in addition to a daughter of Segey Grinkov. They live on the East Coast and continue to perform in professional ice shows. Alex Fadeev is our dear friend. Performing as professionals, we traveled all over the US and Canada. Now he lives in Chicago and works as a coach. Last year, for the first time in 100 years, the World Championship took place in Moscow. The opening was beautiful, the competitions were magnificent and in addition to it, all former Olympic champions of all times were invited. President Putin gave a reception in their honor and there I, for the first time, saw the legendary Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov. It is incredible, but regardless of their age, they continue to skate today, practice every day, working on the elements of their program - they without a doubt are absolutely wonderful people. Their devotion to figure skating is amazing. Every year they travel to Lake Placid , where many years ago they reached their peak.

AB - When you skated in shows, did you feel lack of adrenaline rushes due to the absence of competitive feelings?

MK - I can say that certainly we did not lack any adrenaline rushes. On the contrary, when we skated to our own delight, we were creative without feeling constant pressure.

AB - What are your most significant achievements as coaches?

MK - We have a pair of students who were in the second place as juniors in America. Now they moved up to adult level and currently they are taking 6-8 places. Working with pairs we use our huge experience and we act as choreographers. In the former Soviet Union there was a fabulous system: starting figure skating I was obliged to take ballet classes twice a week and during summer I was going to summer sports camp for general physical improvement. Unfortunately is does not happen in America. Also, here there is a peculiar phenomenon. In California, the ice daces are not in favor. The children here, especially boys, are interested more in single skating, and I think that if I want to reach high results as a coach, I may have to go somewhere up North.

AB - How did you feel when you were presenting your pupils at the competitions, standing on the other side of the rink's wall?

MK - Terrible. Standing at the other side of the rink I was getting very tired. It was much easier to perform by myself, than standing outside and worrying and be powerless to help your pupils. In this sense, the skater is in a winning position. He finishes the program and moves on to get ready for the next performance, while the coach continues to worry and to think about the performance again and again. It was very characteristic for Ms. Tarsova. Sometimes the camera would turn to her as she stands at the side of the rink and it would show her hand movements and constantly changing facial expressions. It was said that I behave almost the same.

AB - What from your point of view is the role of the partner?

MK - The role of the partner is exceptionally great. If you can rely on your male partner, you can dedicate your performance to the emotional part of the program. The role of the male partner is somewhat different: to support the female partner and always to be there where it is necessary to keep the female partner comfortable. I could have skated with my eyes closed without any hesitations, because I was absolutely sure that Sergey would be exactly there where it was necessary. Nowadays the role of the partners has increased, they both have to be plastic and to control the skates very well.

AB - Do you teach your children figure skating?

MK - I can see if a child could reach good results or not. I can see such abilities in my younger son and he is practicing figure skating. My older son doers not have a sports character. Young children can not be goal oriented, but they have to be stubborn, otherwise they can not become sportspersons.

AB - What is the situation with preparation of figure skaters in America?

MK - The situation here is much more complicated due to financial problems. Figure skating is a very expensive sport and there are talented skaters who, to a great pity, can not continue their practice due to this reason. For example, I had a girl who was coming from Buffalo because I was coaching a boy with whom she could skate. She was from a family with five children and their abilities were very limited, so I was giving her discounts as much as I could, because she was very talented.

AB - If one would compare the figure skating of today with, say figure skating of twenty years ago from the technical, emotional and aesthetic points of view, would one conclude that the level now is higher?

MK - Without a doubt. Everything moves forward and the sport moves forward as well without a doubt. Today the three and a half turn jumps are not considered as super difficult. Moreover, many skaters are now jumping quads. Dances on ice in the past did not have such a speed, such density and such plasticity. The skating even in my years was much simpler.

AB - What children do you work with? Where is your rink and how can one get in touch with you?

MK - I am trying to work with children who are somewhat prepared, who have a base that we can improve on. I would like to work with couples, since I know ice dance skating to the smallest details, but I have to work with singles as well. Our rink is located at the intersection of Ten and Alma streets in San Jose. Our phone numbers are 4087-781-0048 or 408-476-0082. Bring in your children and grandchildren and we would be happy to work with them.
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.
Friday, April 13, 2007


Translation of article by Sergey Dadigin published in the Russian Language Internet publication Express Gazeta on March 30,2007.

Stanislav Zhuk

Legendary coach Stanislav Zhuk is an epoch in figure skating. At the European, World and Olympic championships his pupils won 138 medals, 67 of which were gold medals! Zhuk was a tough, even sometime ruthless coach and his pupils disliked him, but after winning medals they always forgave him. International experts considered him a genius. But there were also rumors that he molested his young female skaters.

One of them, a beautiful brunette, Anna Kondrashova, was very popular with men. She caught the eye of Alex Fadeev, who was also practicing in the group of Stanislav Zhuk and who became World Champion in 1985. Anna did not have anything against Fadeev, but she complained that Zhuk was trying to take advantage of her. There were rumors that Zhuk was making advances to another young figure skater - Elena Vodioresova, but he denied that.

There were even rumors that Zhuk was imprisoned for his immoral activities, but it was a hoax. Nevertheless he was forced to retire from his post as a coach at the Army Sports Club at the age of 52. The campaign against Zhuk was headed by Anna Kondrashova and choreograph Marina Zueva. They asked Vodoresova to join the campaign, but she refused. Incidentally Zhuk brought Marina Zueva to work for the Army Sports Club after she could not find any work in sports due to the fact that she broke up with a powerful coach, Elena Tchaikovskya. Later Zhuk was very sorry that he brought Ms. Zueva in.

She not only wrote complaints, but she assisted in a move away from him of his pupils - Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergey Grinkov. Zhuk was accused of making sexual advances toward Gordeeva. As a result, Ekaterina and Sergey became pupils of choreograph Zueva and coach Leonovich. In relation to this switch it is interesting to mention that Leonovich himself was a student of Zhuk and skated in pair with Marina Peskova, with whom he became a vice-champion of Europe and the World.

Irina Rodnina

Zhuk wanted Irina Rodnina and Alex Ulanov to marry. And not only him. Everyone was expecting the handsome couple to marry soon.
When they became for the third time World Champions, they were invited to see Marshall Grechko, responsible for Army Sports. Marshall took out of the drawer a set of keys and told Irina and Alex: "Here are the keys to an apartment in the center of Moscow. Get married and the apartment is yours." Irina replied that she was not ready to marry and they lost the apartment.

Soon it became known that Ulanov was in love with another skater - Ludmila Smirnova and started skating with her, but this pair could never beat Rodnina and Zaitsev, who soon got married. It was mentioned that Rodnina married Zaitsev without love, since she could not forget Ulanov. The marriage did not last long, but Irina was grateful to Zaitsev and helped him to get a job as a coach at Lake Arrowhead.

Second marriage of Irina with a Russian speaking emigrant in the US - Leonid Minkovsky also went bad. It is funny, but the most opposition to this marriage came from Elena Tchaikovskya, who was not only a famous coach, but also a Major of the KGB. She meticulously wrote her reports on Rodnina. She reported to her handlers that Irina was planning to marry an American Jew.

Points of interest:

Irina Rodnina went back to Russia. She is one of the leaders of the movement - "Russia's Sports." In 2005, she ran for a post as President of the Russian Olympic Committee, but lost the race to Leonid Tjagachev.

Alex Ulanov lives now in the US. A few years ago he divorced Ludmila Smirnova.

Alexander Zaitsev for a long time could not find a job. Currently he is coaching children in California at Lake Arrowhead.

Anna Kondrashova married an Estonian sportsmen, lives in Tallinn and runs a figure skating school.

Elena Vodovezova became a chief figure skating coach at the Army Sports Club.

Marina Zueva is a choreograph and coach in Canada.

Stanislav Leonovich lives in France.
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.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Elena Bereznaja is Pregnant

Report by Julia Semenova and Elena Goncharova in the Russian Language publication Komsomolskaya Pravda on April 6, 2007


Elena Bereznaja skated with Sikhuralidse, and dated Cousins. Both men look alike.

On March 29, Elena Bereznaja made the spectators of the show "Stars on Ice" in the city of Rjazan happy with her performance. After that day, her name was deleted from the play bills of the show. The reason is a happy one - the 29 year old figure skater is pregnant. At the performance in the Siberian City of Barnaul, Ilia Averbukh announced that to his pity, but to the happiness of the skater, she left the show because she was pregnant.

The spectators reacted to the news with ovations. The future father - Mr. Steven Cousins is the 8 time Champion of Great Britain in men's single skating. He is 34. His main claim to fame is the fact that he was the first skater in England who performed a triple axel. Currently Steve is performing in ice show tours in different countries. He may even take part in some of the Russian shows, and there are rumors that he may move in with Elena.

And what about Anton Sikhuralidse, with whom she skated for so many years? A lot of people thought that this pair of fragile blond and her macho partner, who fit each other so nicely, were an inseparable couple not only on ice, but in the real life. In reality there was nothing personal between them. They just skated together. Incidentally, at the "Stars on Ice" show Elena performed without Anton on many occasions. He is very busy, since he is a deputy of St. Petersburg's legislation.

Points of interest:

Elena Bereznaja was born on October 11, 1977 in the town of Nevinnomisk. Currently she lives in St. Petersburg. In 2002 Bereznaja and Sikhuralidze won Olympic gold medals at Salt Lake City. Those Olympics are famous by the great scandal: the Russian pair won by the vote of one judge. The Canadian couple filed a complaint and was awarded a second Gold medal.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007


I laughed, I cried, it was (without a doubt) better than Cats.

Yes, I'm talking about Blades of Glory. The best skating movie ever. (And no, I don't think I was unduly influenced by the fact that I was out of the house. In the evening. For the first time in months without at least one child, usually three, attached to me through various hand-holding, strollers, and straps).

What made Blades of Glory so great? The fact that it wasn't pretending to be "accurate."

Cutting Edge pretended to be accurate. While breaking the laws of physics with their "Parchenko" move. And featuring Olympic competition under spotlights. And doing away with Regionals and Sectionals.

Ice Princess pretended to be accurate. While suggesting that understanding the physics behind a move was all you needed to be able to master it. Perhaps if Christopher Reeve had understood the physics behind walking, he'd have been able to get out of bed and do a little jig, the slacker.

Cutting Edge 2 pretended to be accurate. And then... Well, there's a whole list, here. Plus, their "Parchenko" equivalent is, ironically, even less physically possible than the Iron Lotus performed in Blades of Glory!

Ice Castles pretended to be accurate. The girl was blind! Doing figures!!

And then there were the Blades of Glory moments that rang ever so true to life. The birthday gift of ten bottles of protein powder. The non-skating sibling overshadowed by the star(s). The defeated skater lamenting, "Damn, now I'm going to have to get a real job. I don't know how to do anything." The backstage bacchanalia of a touring ice show.

Also, all of the pair movies listed above (plus the lesser-known Champions: A Love Story) featured a boy who'd never figure skated before, whipping himself into competitive shape in record time. At least in Blades of Glory, the two men were co-World Champions. Somehow, that makes their ultimate partnership more authentic. ;)
Monday, April 09, 2007


Petrova and Tichonov are Becoming Professionals

Article by Anna Kozina in Russian language newspaper -
"Rossijskaja gazeta" on March 28, 2007.


On their return from the Worlds Championship in Japan, Russian figure skaters Maria Petrova and Alexey Tickhonov announced that they were leaving eligible skating.

It was known for a long time that the couple, which had skated together since 1988, was skating their last season as amateurs. The skaters wanted to leave the sport with dignity. They were able to reach that goal in Warsaw at the European Championship by winning the silver medals. But at the Worlds, they were not able even to complete their program. They left the competition after the short program, where they got only 11th place - not a great merit for champions of their ranking.

According to Marina Petrova, Alexey pulled a groin muscle and they were forced to withdraw from the competition and were rooting for their friends Yuka Kawaguchi and Alexey Smirnov from the stands as spectators . The newcomers were performing exceptionally well.

Throughout their eligible career, Petrova and Tikhonov achieved a lot. They have the honor of World Champions: "Bronze" in 2003; "Silver" in 2005 and "Gold" in 2000.

The are not leaving the sport empty handed.
Friday, April 06, 2007


Interview by Olga Nikitina (ON) of Russian Language Newspaper "Komsomolskaya Pravda" with two time Olympic Champion Evgeny Platov: "Our relations with Oxana Grischuk is an unfinished book".

Printed on March 22, 2007.


Introduction: In 1998 the pair - Platov/Grischuk won the Olympic gold for the second time in a row. After his participation in the "Dances on Ice" show Evgeny became even more famous than he was during his sports career. His admirers even created a web site dedicated to that show and continue exchanging notes long after completion of that project.

At the World Championship in Japan, Evgeny Platov (EP) will be present as the coach of the British couple - Sinead/John Kerr. Evgeny lives in the USA, but often comes to Moscow where he gave this interview before the main figure skating battle of the year.

ON - Evgeny, many of our figure skaters and coaches have begun coming back from the US - Tatiana Tarasova, Tatiana Navka, Alex Zhulin … are you also drawn back?

EP - I entertained such a thought. Especially after the "Dances on Ice" project. Incidentally, similar projects were successful in other countries - Czech republic, Italy, Holland. I can say with certainty that the skaters are popular not only in Russia, but even in England they are in great demand. It is great that our sport is so popular.

ON - Figure skating became an "export" sport for Russia: our former sportspeople are representing many different countries. What do you think about this "leakage of skaters"?

EP - Our guys are very talented. And not all of them may achieve high places at the Championship in Russia, as to get to the international level. So, they start competing for other countries. Also, in US every girl is dreaming of skating with a Russian boy - they are more passionate and artistic in skating. The demand for Russian skaters is also high because in the US figure skating is not considered to be a "manly" sport . The boys are more drawn to American football, baseball, hockey. The parents have a prejudice that if a boy goes into the figure skating, he may automatically become gay.

ON - I heard that your British pupils- brother and sister Kerr - were absolutely sure that you would lead them to Olympic podium in Vancouver.

EP - I like to work with Sinead and John. I do not feel that I have to pull them forward; they are thinking people and they have a lot of ideas. They work very hard. They do not skate only a couple of days a year - Christmas and New Year days. And that is only because the rink is closed. When I participated in "Dances on Ice" they came over to Hovogorsk to practice with me. Incidentally the conditions for practice there were very good.

ON - Than why many of our skaters and coaches live in America?
EP - We left the USSR at very bad times. In early nineties everything was in decay, there were shortages everywhere, even with gasoline. They could not make ice. The country had other priorities than the ice championships. At the same time America experienced a boom in figure skating, similar to the one that is in Russia now.

ON - When you were a child, did you believe that you would be an Olympic champion?

EP - I started skating at 6, but than I had a break until 9, and when I came back to the rink my contemporaries were making double and sometimes triple jumps. I was behind them and decided to go into dancing on ice - it was fun and there were pairs with girls. Pretty soon I understood that that I was wrong and it was hard work. My friends teased me as well. But I felt that I could be a good figure skater. I needed to overcome my fears of performing in public.

In the TV show "Dances on Ice" Platov was performing with a model Anna Azarov. There were rumors that they had an affair, but the skater denies the rumors.

ON - You worked with your former partner Oxana Grischuk at the project "Dances on Ice". Prior to that you did not see each other and practically did not communicate. How did your meeting go?

EP - We met very nicely. Oxana was practicing tango with her partner Peter Krasilov. I asked Oxana if she remembered our steps. She replied that she did and we had some good time skating together.

ON - On her arrival to Moscow, Oxana contacted several news organizations and offered a scandalous interview. She told the press of her affair with Alex Zhulin, who, according to Oxana, was trying to convince her to drop figure skating and thus free the podium for him and Maya Usova; of her money difficulties with Tarasova and yourself.

EP - Oxana and I lived through a lot of stressful situations. She is a very unique and emotional person. I felt the we could be winners together. Now, after 9 years separately, I can remember only good things about her.

ON - Why do you think after so many years Oxana cannot calm down?

EP - It is her nature. She can not live calmly. That was why we argued a lot. We had to change a lot of things that she did not like, but on the other hand, it improved our skating. We separated when we were completing our careers. After that I was skating with Maja Usova and Oxana skated with Alex Zhulin. For a long time I had a feeling of incompleteness. No other pair won as much as we did with Oxana: two Olympics, two World Championships. Our history together was like a book without the last page. I wanted to write the last page and put the book on the shelf. I am glad that we were able to unite and to participate in the "Dances on Ice" and at the New Year concert.

ON - Did you ever think in America of getting an image consultant?

EP - My American girlfriend plays that role. She tells me all the time that I am a bad dresser. She even came to Moscow when I was participating in "Dances on Ice." She told me right away that all my wardrobe was out of vogue and it should be burned. She forced me to go to Moscow boutiques to buy clothes. I am too lazy for shopping.

ON - Is it the same girlfriend that you mentioned a few years ago in your interviews?

EP - Yes, it is the same one. Everything is great between us. But we are not ready to say the key words as to cement our relations.

ON - Do you have children?

EP - No.

ON - Do you have a nutritionist?

EP - No. I eat everything. If I gain weight, I have a very simple diet. I have stolen this diet from John Travolta. He suggested to eat only a half of a pizza, when you want to eat whole. I follow this suggestion in all my eating. I also prohibit my students, especially girls, to eat after 6 pm. Not even apples - there is a lot of sugar in them. I was always slim and thought that I would never gain weight. But I am keeping unusual hours - from morning to night I am on ice. When I come home I would be very hungry and would eat a lot of food at night and I started gaining weight. Now I cut my portions in half. And I follow the principle - eat your breakfast yourself, eat half of your dinner and give your supper away to your enemy.
Thursday, April 05, 2007


Tatiana Navka and Alex Zhulin: "We are happy that we have a daughter."

Translation of the interview by Kirill Levkin (KL) printed in Russian Language Internet Publication Extra-M ( Extra - dossier).

Introduction: Tatiana Navka (TN) and Roman Kostomarov are two times world champions (2004 and 2005). They are distinguished by an excellent technique and their general attractiveness, as well as by the fact that they are not related in personal life.

Their coach is Mr. Alex Zhulin (AZ), the husband of Ms. Navka, while Roman is married to a Moscow figure skater Julia Lautova, who is skating for Austria.

Tatiana and Roman had their share of skating under different flags. Initially Tatiana skated with Samvel Gezoljan for Byelorussia, and in 1995 they were fourth at the World Championship in Dortmund. Than she partnered with Nikolay Morozov, and this couple became the coaching debut of Mr. Zhulin, who at that time continued to perform at professional level with his then wife Maja Usva.

Tatiana Navka was born April 13, 1975. Alex Zhulin was born July 20, 1963. Alex was a European and World Champion (1993) and a silver medallist at the Olympics at Lillehammer (1994) with Usova. Tatiana Navka and Alex Zhulin are married for 10 years. They like to play golf together. They live in New Jersey and in Moscow. Their daughter Sasha Zhulina was born in 2000.

KL - Alex, how did you meet Tatiana?

AZ - We skated in the same class of Natalia Dubova. Tatiana was 14 when we met. My relations with Maja (Usova, than partner and wife of Alex) were already not very good. It is natural that when your marriage is in trouble you start paying attention to other women. And than I noticed of what a beautiful girl Tatiana was. Initially we just talked, but our feelings grew.

KL - At that time you were performing solo. Did you think of pairing with Tatiana?

AZ - I thought about that, but I was only 5 centimeters taller than Tatiana, while I should have been at least 15 centimeters taller, that as her partner I could lift her as a feather. As a coach I have to see that pairs match: Tatiana and Roman are an ideal match. Whatever they tried - everything came out perfectly from the very first try. In my case it took me more than a month to reach that level. Their moves coincide, they do not need to watch each other and do not need to be too careful, they skate with a wide swing and take risks.

KL - You exhibit a surprising confidence by passing your wife into the hands of another man, even for a short time.

AZ - I was the one who suggested that Tatiana and Roman skate together, even before she paired up with Morozov. But than Roman did not want to take a chance. Two years later they became a pair, but after one year they split on the advice of their coach - Natalia Linichuk. The new partner of Roman than was Anna Semenovich. Ms. Lininchuk rejected Tatiana. Tatiana was saved by her pregnancy. Those months were the best in our lives. We often traveled to New York, practiced a little and were inseparable. One day, when we had already had Sasha, Tatiana said: "If Roman would call now and apologize…" He called a day later. I can not say that I was happy - Tatiana just gave birth and was very content, I started making good money as a children's coach. But I understood that I have to give my wife a chance to realize herself in sports.

KL - Are you getting angry when Tatiana loses?

AZ - Never. After birth of Sasha I started perceiving figure skating differently. When I was competing myself and when Maja and I lost the Olympics, it felt as we have wasted our lives. I tried not to talk with my colleagues or reporters, I did not go to the parties, so ashamed I was for winning the second place. Now it all seems strange. Even the great Torvill and Dean, who won bronze at that Olympics, were not ashamed. When I became a coach, I realized that any competition, even the Olympics is just another start. Your wife, daughter even colleagues love and respect you not because you are a champion, but for what you can do.

KL - A new generation of single and pair skaters arrived from China and Japan. Who would be your competition at the Olympics?

AZ - These days our coaches are working all over the world and every year new good pairs appear. Or current competitors are pairs from Ukraine, Bulgaria and USA. Chinese and Japanese couples will probably not be our main competitors. The future is in the hands of Italians and British, but they probably are competitors to my pair from Azeibardjan.

KL - Tatiana, are you not upset that Alex is coaching other pairs - the one from Azeibardjan?

TN - Kristen Frasier and Igor Lukanin are the same "Azerbajanians" as we are. She is an American and he came to US from Sverdlovsk (a city in Russia). Neither in US, nor in Russia each of them could break through a stiff competition. At that time, the president of the Azeibardjan National Federation of Figure Skating, Mr. Gusein Aliev, wanted to attract talented figure skaters. It is unfortunate that he passed away during the Moscow Championship. In regards of other pupils of Alex, I think that the coach can not limit himself to working with just one pair.

KL - Who are the other skater friends of yours?

AZ - Our best friend is Alex Abt. He left the big sport and is coaching children at the same rink where I work. He, his wife Alena and their son Makar are almost like family to us and our children are like siblings. When we go away, we leave our daughter with Alex Abt.

TN- Alex likes to be a nanny. We are friends with Illia Kulik and Katia Gordeeva, often visit each other. During competitions we are often meeting with a Bulgarian pair of Albena Denkova and Max Stavisky relaxing in sauna and celebrating medals. We visited with them in Moscow and they visited with us in the US. Now they moved to US to work their coach Linichuk.

KL - Why do you still order costumes for your programs in St. Petersburg?

AZ - It is hard to find a high class tailor in the US. And if you find one it would cost an arm and a leg. We need a lot of costumes and they need a lot of alterations. In the west no one would be bothering with that for free. It will cost a lot - if the single skaters have to put out up to two thousand dollars in a season, the dancing pairs have to spend three to five thousand.

KL - The judging system in figure skating often changes. What do you think about these experiments?

TN - The new system is good without a doubt. Unfortunately it kills the creativity. There are seven lifts that are given the highest score. Every pair puts them in their programs. And now instead of a free program, there are two compulsory ones. Probably it would be better to have three base lifts and allow the others to fantasy of the skaters and the coaches. Look at the wonderful elements that were created by the Dushenays, by Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

KL - Are you keeping a diet?

TN - I prefer fruits and dairy products and for six years I do not eat any baked products. I can not gain weight during the season - we practice or perform every day. During summer I mostly eat fruits, and thus by the beginning of the season, I do not have to shad the pounds.

AZ - A coach who is working with his pupils on ice has to be in good sport shape. Not all coaches come out on the ice. They communicate with the skaters from the side lines and their deputies are working on the ice with the skaters. I do everything myself with Tatiana and Alex and have to be in good shape.

KL - Did you name your daughter after Mr. Zhulin?

AZ - From the very beginning we wanted to call her Alexandra. But in the States that name is shortened to Alex, and that was why we selected the name Sasha - it is a nice and cuddly name.

TN - I am happy that we have a daughter. After her birth my sport philosophy changed - daughter, parents, husband are much bigger than sports.

Extra points:
Lucky purchase.

TN - Our house in Atlantic City cost us only $700 thousand, while a similar home in New Jersey would cost us $900 thousand.

AZ - I actually selected the house. Looked at about twenty houses. To sign the purchase agreement we went together. We rented in New York City. Would have to drive back for 5-6 hours, so we settled in the new house for a few days right away.

Unlucky purchase:

AZ - I bought in New York on sale white pants and received a bottle of paint to fix the pants. One day I got a stain on the pants and decided to use the paint, but it was of a beige color and I ended up having a stain of different color on my white pants.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007


He ran the opening leg on one of the greatest relay teams in Canadian sports history: Orser to Browning to Stoyko.

And as Brian Orser rounds the final turn of his remarkable career, Hamilton fans have a chance to say goodbye and thank you when the elegant showman makes his last on-ice appearance at Copps Coliseum Saturday night.

More from Steve Milton, here.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Where is he now? Apparantly being mocked by his hockey-playing kids....



Jubilee of Tatiana Tarasova. Press release of the Russian Federation of Figure Skating, Moscow, February 13, 2007

February 13 was the birthday of Tatiana Tarasova - International Class Sports Master, renowned coach, graduate of the Central Institute of Physical Culture (1979). She worked as an instructor in physical culture and sports at the Central Sports Club of the Army (1968-69) and various other clubs.

Russian pupils of Ms. Tarasova won seven Olympic gold medals: in pairs - I. Rodnina and A. Zaitsev(1976, 1980); in men's singles - I. Kulik (1998) and A. Yagudin (2002); in ice dancing N. Bestemianova and A. Bukin (1988); M. Klimova and S. Ponomarenko (1992); O. Grischuk and E. Platov (1998).

Among the students of Ms. Tarasova were the winners of the World and European Championships - I. Moiseeva and A. Minenkov; T. Voituk and V. Zhigalin (ice dancing).

Working for a few years abroad, Ms. Tarasova was instrumental in preparing and coaching foreign skaters - winners of World Championships - such as women's singles - S. Cohen (sic) (USA); S. Arakawa (Japan); ice dancers - B. Fusar-Poli and M. Margolio (Italy); I. Delobel and O. Shonfelder (sic)(France).

During preparation to the XX Olympic Games as a coach -consultant of the Russian Olympic figure skating team since 2005, Ms. Tarasova was a major contributor to winning of two Olympic Gold medals in 2006 by T. Tomjanina and M. Marinin - in pairs and by T. Navka and R. Kostomarov - in ice dancing, as well as a bronze medal in women's singles by I. Slutskaya.

These major contributions of Ms. Tarasova into Russian sports were appreciated by bestowing on her of various State awards.

As of today, Ms. Tarasova is full of creative strengths and plans on behalf of Russian Figure Skating Sports. Her pupils, her colleagues and her admirers in Russia and abroad are sincerely congratulating her with her jubilee.
Monday, April 02, 2007


By Marina Sipiagina, Russian Language Internet news service, January 29,2007


The public is always interested to know how the superstars relax.

How do they differ from us - the simple mortals, what hotels and resorts do they select, and what do they actually do while they are there?

The readers and spectators are watching their idols, sometimes trying to imitate them, sometimes being appalled by them, and sometimes envying them.

Meanwhile the stars themselves are giving a lot of reasons to gossip about their life in general and at the popular resorts in particular.

As a rule, the stars are selecting the most expensive resorts and hotels, where they are assured that they will be among "their kind" without bringing too much attention to themselves.

But there are exceptions when anyone could observe how the superstars rest.

Not long ago Ms. Irina Slutskaya - the beloved Russian figure skating superstar and a famous TV personality, gave the people a chance to glimpse her vacation at a mountain ski resort.

This year for some reason she did not select the famous Kursheville, where the world's most powerful people rest and relax, or the equally fashionable Austrian or Italian winter resorts, but a modest East Turkey resort, Palandoken, a four stars resort, where the Russian middle class takes their vacations.

One would think that Irina knew where she was going and should have been ready for that place, but apparently she did not realize the quality of service at a Turkish "four star" resort and she was definitely not ready for the attention that she received from the Russian tourists as the beloved star of the "Stars on Ice" show.

The other Russian tenants of the resort were drawn to their idol, but she did not like it at all, and at that time the people could see Irina not as a nice and smiling person that they are used to seeing on the screen.

Irina became abrasive with all the people who approached her, regardless of their age. When she was asked if she was the figure skating star by a young girl, Irina snapped that she was the one, but she had the right to her privacy at her vacations. Very often her sharp tong lashed out at the people surrounding her, although a celebrity of such standing could have been more lenient to the simple people who worshiped and adored her.

She brought the staff of the hotel, which greeted her with rachat lukum (Turkish sweets) and other gifts, to the condition of nervous breakdown. The staff still remembers the legendary tantrums thrown by Ms. Slutskaya for the quality of the towels in the hotel. She was known to the staff as a "very nice, but angry" person. The people of Irina's party behaved the same way. When a child of one of the members of her party decided to take a leak in the pool and the people swimming in the pool were upset by that behavior, the people at Irina's party defended this action as a nice, childish simple joke.

Toward the end of her stay at the resort, Irina was able to turn all other Russian speaking guests against herself. Seeing her, people would turn away as to avoid a scene. Of course they were gossiping about the whims of the star and often mentioned that she gained weight and looked different than on the screen.

But Irina did not pay any attention to the people around her, but if and when she did, it was always to stress her position and status.

On the flight back home from the resort, she took the seats in the first rpw, that the flight attendants usually use for their rest in flight, thus denying them the possibility of resting in flight, but it did not bother her at all.

It seems that she knows very well, that as a star, she can get away with anything she wants.
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