Tatiana Navka is going to become a theatrical Director
Translation of a Russian language Internet publication “Dni.Ru” posted on August 17, 2007
Tatiana Navka, Turin’s Olympic Champion, is not planning to stay in the shadows after leaving big sports. She decided to select a new profession and enrolled into a correspondence course of Moscow University of Culture and Arts.
The reasons for this decision were explained by the figure skater as follows:
“I do not quite know what exactly moved me to select this profession, but I think that having additional education would not hurt. I decided to become a theatrical director. Actually I did not tell anyone about that and I am surprised how fast the information got out”.
Ms. Navka agreed that her decision was influenced by her participation in the “Stars On Ice” competition where she participated and which she won. “I was very interested in the process of producing a show where a lot of people take part. In pairs there are only two people, while in the theater there are many actors, this is an entirely different process”.
The Olympic champion had to pass the admission exam and she did it all by herself. No one gave her any credit for being an Olympic Champion.
After graduation of the course, Ms. Navka will receive a diploma of a “Director for theatrical plays and mass celebrations."
Translation of the Interview by a correspondent of the Russian Language Internet publication “Dni.Ru” Sonja Ray of the Bronze World Champion, ten times Champion of Israel Sergey Sakhnovsky, posted on September 12, 2007
Project “Ice Age” is a very difficult project to work on not only for the newcomers, but even for the famous skaters. They are responsible for both partners at all times. And that is why the champions are getting nervous not less, but even more than their ice partners. Sergey is skating in the show with a singing soloist of the group “Fabrika,” Alexandra Savelieva.
Sergey told us: “When I first saw the project, I was still involved with sports and did not pay much attention to it because I could not participate in it. But I was interested in it. It is not just fun, but it is hard work as well. It is very difficult to work with the neophytes. They do not know anything about skating. We have to explain to them the moves that we are performing automatically. It is not that simple. The skater knows how to come out of a lift or a spin, but all of it has to be explained to the newcomer. We have to physically hold them tight because they are very uncertain of the moves”.
Sergey, who used to skated for Israel with Galit Chait, feels that the work of a skating female partner in this project is much more difficult than the work of the male partner.
“If males are used to supporting their partners in the regular figure skating pairs, then in this project the female professional skater has to support and sometimes physically hold the male non-skating partner. It must be very difficult for the female skater. Because of these difficulties the project is not a piece of cake even for experienced skaters. One could see us being very nervous, falling down and in general being not very comfortable in the pairs with non skaters. You never know what your partner would do the next minute and it makes it difficult to perform”.
Interview with the famous coach Tatiana Tarasova, (TT) printed in a Russian Language publication “Novie Izvestija” (NI) on August 20, 2007.
NI – Ms. Tarasova, why do you think Alexey Yagudin is coming back?
TT – He is a very passionate person, he likes competitions and feels that he can do much more for the sport. Alexey did not plan to leave in 2002. If his leg would not hurt, we would have participated in the next Olympics. Also, I think that neither Yagudin, nor Pluschenco would come back if there was anyone in Russia who could take their place.
NI – Did he discuss this with you?
TT – He called me about 2 moths ago, before the operation and asked me to be his coach.
NI – And?
TT – I agreed right away. How could I not? If a person who achieved almost everything in sports would want to force himself to work hard and to enjoy it, I can not refuse my help. Sports are supported by these kind of people. And because of Alexey, I am willing to dedicate a few more years of my life to work with him. It is so interesting – to build a new person, to rebuild his confidence. Incidentally, I coached Rodnina after she gave birth and she won another Olympics. Alexey has grown up. He is not joking and if his health permits, he will go to his third Olympics.
NI – Will we see him this year on the tours?
TT – No, this year is for restoration. We have not discussed where we will work. Wherever it will be comfortable, there we will work. Why was it nice to work in America – the rink was 4 minutes away from the home and there was a lot of ice.
NI – To come back to amateurs after such a long break would be a real miracle!
Interview by a correspondent of the Russian language publication “Argumenty and Fakty” Valentina Obremenko (VO) printed on September 10, 2007.
Channel One of Russian TV starts a new season of an ice show where Marina Anisina (MA) will take part. For the first time in many years, Marina did not come to Russia only for a few days to participate in a competition and then fly right back to France. This time, Moscow will be her home for several month.
Marina stated to the press that she did not leave Russia just to have a better life. She confesses that she left because she was not allowed to do what she loved to do in her motherland.
VO- Marina, currently you are participating only in ice shows. Don’t you miss the adrenaline rush that you get when you participate in competitions?
MA – I adore the competitive feeling, but show and sport are absolutely different things. When the Olympics were over and we won, I was extremely tired. I just wanted to calm down and to think of what I would do next. At some point I was even thinking about starting a bakery business, but then I realized that it was not what I was used to doing.
VO – Did you reconcile with Averbuch? Your life could have been quite different if he had not done what he did. (Averbuch dumped Marina as a partner and went on skating with Irina Lobacheva, who later became his wife. Marina had to leave for France and to start skating with Gwendal Peizerat.)
MA – Yes, Ilya “helped” me in my life, but I do hot have a grudge against him. We see each other now and then sometimes at competitions. Of course if it did not happen that way, who knows what I would be now. When I came to France at 17 it was a shock for me. I was alone, did not speak French and no one around me spoke Russian. I did not have any friends and for some time was going only to the skating rink and back home. Many times I wanted to go back to Russia, but thank God things worked out for me.
OV – Gvendal Peizera did not speak Russian and not much English and you practically could not communicate.
MA – The language was not Gwendal’s problem, it was my problem. When you skate together you need to communicate. But in time we reached such a relationship that we could understand each other from one glance. There was another problem. For Gwendal, as a true Frenchman, skating was a hobby. He was not serious about it. It took me a long time to reeducate him.
OV – Your pair is famous for a lift where you, such a petite lady, are lifting your partner. Did you practice in lifting weights?
MA – No, I did not have to practice lifting weights. The “trick” was really memorable and every time when we skate the spectators expect us to do it. In reality it is all calculated in such a way that the weight was not totally on me, but it is distributed between both of us. So, I did not have to become a bodybuilder.
OV – Some time ago you complained that because of the amount of work you did not have any personal life.
MA – I really did not have a free minute for anything else.
OV – And now?
MA – Same thing. Just imagine, a few month in a year I live in the States, than in Japan, than my show in France and now I will have to live for a few months in Russia. Which man would tolerate that? Of course I would like to find my mate. I want a family, children. But so far I can not have it. I hope that I will have it all later. I am a strong woman, but I would like to meet a man with whom I could be weak and defenseless.
OV – I heard that Gwendal said some time ago that if he would not skate with you, he would pay you attention as a woman.
MA – Don’t you think that I am worth his attention?
OV – I do, of course.
MA – Also, Gwendal said that for us to be a husband and wife and to work together would mean that we would be together 24 hours a day and he thought that it would not work. I agreed with him. He is like a brother to me and I see him more often than anybody else. I would even say that he has created an image of a superman, but we are only friends and partners on ice. He has enough women who are worshiping him.
OV – Are you upset that you had become a national hero in a foreign country, while at your motherland there were gossip that Alimjan Tochtachunov bribed the judges as you would win the Olympics. You were referred to as a foreigner who took away the gold from Russia.
MA - I do not feel myself a foreigner in Russia, no matter who says what! When there was a scandal with the medals, the sportspeople supported me. On the streets I was asked for an autograph by Russian people who told me that they were rooting for me, because they still considered me as Russian. I never felt myself a foreigner – I am a Russian person living in France.
Irina Lobacheva – Someone wanted to hurt me and that was why the gossip of Ilya being romantically involved with Marina started. It was said that I took away Ilya – her boyfriend at that time. They were children and there was no love between them. Someone even said that she left for France being pregnant. Ilya and I were hurt by these gossips.
Ilya Averbuch – We broke up because it was a decision of our coach. It was said that in our pair a boy was skating with a tomboy. I needed a more feminine partner. We broke up on a professional base.
Editors – At the 2002 Olympics, Marina Anisina was involved in a big scandal. Businessman Alimjan Tochtachunov was accused of bribing the judges as to give the gold medals to the French pair and to push Russian pair Ilya Averbuch and Irina Lobacheva into second place. It was suspected that Marina knew about the conspiracy and even discussed the plan with Alimjan. After a long investigation both the businessmen and the French skaters were acquitted of all charges.
Translation of an interview with Natalia Chernich (NC), a correspondent of the Russian Language publication Moskovsky Komsomolets printed on September 3, 2007.
Alexey Yagudin (AY) is coming back to sports. This news shocked fans and friends of the figure skater. The four time World’s Champion had recently undergone a serious operation – part of his hip joint was replaced with a titanium implant and now he is back on the ice! He is participating in a TV show, directing new numbers and is considering taking a part in a movie. Recently he was involved with the opening of a new skating rink in St. Petersburg and gave such a performance in a dance with a hat, that the spectators were overjoyed. Alexey is writing a book about his life
NC – In a new production of the Show on Ice you are skating with a new partner – Victoria Daineko. How is she doing?
AY – As all nonprofessionals initially she looked quite clumsy. But she is practicing and lately she is doing quite well. I like it that in our pair there is a mutual understanding. It was missing in my last year pair with Oxana Pushkina. Now we are working together with Victoria and I always see a smile on her face. She is a very cheerful person.
NC - Do you socialize off ice?
AY – Yes, I went to one small concert of Victoria in Moscow. It was interesting.
NC – Are you a kind coach? What do you do more – praise or scold Victoria?
AY – I am a stubborn person and when something is not coming out right I am getting angry. But then I remember that she is not a figure skater and I calm myself. We work hard and sometimes we are practicing till 3 am. Victoria is very flexible and is a good dancer. This is her advantage.
NC – I read a few nasty comments about your duet on the Internet as if they were coming from Plushchenko.
AY – I do not care about Pluschenco. I have my life and my project where I feel good and calm without him.
NC – You look quite good for a man who underwent a serious operation recently. How did you decide to come out on ice with a piece of metal in your hip?
AY – Until the last minute I was not sure if I would be able to participate in the TV project. But since I was not supposed to do any complex jumps and turns, I agreed. Going through the hell of operations I realized that the most important thing in life is health. Last five years of my life I lived with constant pain. I forgot about playing soccer with my friends. After walking for 10 minutes, I could not walk any more. I was staying home or was using a car all day long, as to save strengths and be able to complete in the show. After show, bent with pain, I was climbing on the bus and was taking painkiller pills as to somewhat relieve the pain. I never talked about it before, but now, when I feel better, I can talk about it. Yes, I have a piece of metal in my hip, but I can move and already started practicing.
NC – Will the book that you are writing talk about the difficulties in the life of a figure skater?
AY – There will be a lot of stuff in my book. I just recently finished dictating the book. It is scheduled to be released at the beginning of October. I have three versions of a title, but as you know, the main thing in the book is the cover.
NC – You are quite a private person. How open were you in your book?
AY – I wrote the book as to explain my relations with other people. It is not always possible to do it face to face. It was difficult to write such a book as I did not want to offend anyone, but at the same time I wanted to tell the truth.
NC – Do you use the phrase: “I was crying” in the book?
AY – Yes, I even use the word “sob”. I am not afraid to be seen as a weak person. There is a lot about my childhood in my book. That came from my mother. When I was 4 years old I was late for an audition on ice because that morning I found scissors and decided to give myself a haircut. It looked terrible and while my mother was trying to fix my hair, the audition ended and all the children went home. But lucky for me, my first coach, Alexandr Mayorov, had not left yet. He asked me what I was doing there and after my mother’s explanation, he enrolled me in his group without a test. All of my school years I was coming to practice in the morning and then went to school.
NC – Would you like to start a family eventually?
AY – I understand that I like my freedom and do not want to loose it. I was trying for a long time to create something similar to a family, but it did not work out. I can not change myself. Probably I am too young to start a family. As of now I would like to stay free and take care of myself.
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.
Interview with Oxana Grischuk by a correspondent of Russian Language publication “Utro.Ru” Alexander Shestopalov (AS) published on September 4, 2007.
Introduction: An outstanding Russian sportswoman Oxana Grishchuk (OG), the only figure skater in history to win two Olympic Games in Ice Dancing (Ed. note: Oksana obviously did not win alone, Evgeny Platov also has two Olympic Gold medals in ice dancing), lives and works in the USA and participates in the Russian Ice Show “ Ice Dancing, the Velvet Season”.
We asked her about the show, about her work in the States and about her future.
AS – Last year you, in pair with an actor Peter Krasilov in the Ice Dancing Show, were voted number one by the spectators. How difficult will it be in the new season to defend that title and how strong is your competition?
OG – I did not come here to win. Of course winning in any competition is nice, but it is not the main reason. The main reason for me to participate in this show is to meet new interesting people. I like very much the creative process itself. I am an artist. I know that many fans of figure skating are waiting for me and my partner to come out on the ice. It will be a happy occasion for them to see us on ice. I also feel nice that our fans will see us on the ice and we all will be happy together.
AS – In the new season of Ice Dancing you will skate again with a Peter, but this time not Krasiliov, but with Peter Dranga. It seems that your pair is prone to falls, and even you, two time Olympic Champion, are having troubles on this devious ice. Could you tell us more about that?
OG – I would not say that we are prone to falls. We are practicing, and when we are performing complex elements, we naturally sometimes fall down, but at the actual performance we are not planning to fall down. Although, once I really became dizzy and fell down when I saw a terrible picture of myself in a magazine.
AS – Really?
OG – I was kidding.
AS – The admirers of Ice Dancing in different forums call your pair with Dranga the best looking pair. Do you mind this “label”?
OG – I do not mind it at all. I heard about it and I liked it. We are really a very good looking pair. More over, we have very good relations.
AS – In October of 2006 during the Gala of Ice Dancing Show you came out on ice with Evgeny Platov. Will the spectators see again this greatest duet in the history of figure skating?
OG – Actually they saw us already. A month after that concert we taped the New Year Eve show and a week ago we danced together at the Gala opening of this season of Ice Dancing. We hope that we made our spectators happy, and we were happy ourselves.
AS – You are acting as a choreographer and a coach of the pair from California – Rena Inoue and John Baldwin, who were number eight in the last World’s Championship. What can you tell us about the perspectives of this pair, and did you think of coming back to Russia from the USA and to prepare a Russian couple for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.
OG – How did you find out that I coached that pair?
AS – From the official site of the International Skaters Union.
OG – Unbelievable.
AS – Is this information wrong?
OG – I did work with them this season. I produced their program, but it was after the season of competitions. There were some talks about continuing to work with me, because they liked my work, and now they went on the tour of US with that program, but I do not know yet if I am ready to be their coach. It is too early to talk about becoming a coach. I have more of my own projects.
AS – Which ones?
OG – Ice Dancing. The others are still secret. I do not want to talk about them as not to jinx them.
AS – And what about coaching in Russia?
OG – To be honest with you – I do not want to become a coach. I can help, but I do not want to be on ice from dawn to dusk and to be away from family.
AS – The World Championship of 2008 will be in Geteborg. Would you think that it will be better for the Russians than the last one in Japan? And how do you see the Russian figure skating these days?
OG – To be honest I did not see much of the last World’s Championship. And in general, the last few years I was not really following figure skating as to make any statement. I see it as a plus – I can take care of my family. My child is the most important thing in my life. In my professional career I reached everything and even more, that is why I am doing now what I am interested in, including the projects that require travel.
AS – Is your daughter Skyler-Grace a figure skater? Do you plan for her a future as a sportswoman?
OG – My daughter does a bit of everything. She skates, swims, plays tennis, dances and even participates in equestrian sport. We both love horses and we often ride them. We live in California and there are stables nearby that we often visit. It is too early to say what she will be doing, but it seems that she will have to forget about figure skating. It looks like she will be too tall for skating. She likes more to sing and to dance and it is possible that she will become a model.