Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

For more info on my individual books, please visit!



Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Part #1, here.

About Tarasova.

I started looking for another coach who could replace Mishin. I considered some coaches, but they were working with other
first class skaters and I was concerned that I may create a conflict. Finally I heard that Ilya Kulik was leaving Tatiana Tarasova. Known as a “polisher of talents,” Tatiana Tarsova had a reputation as the “number one” coach in the world. In the 60s she was skating in pairs herself and was competing against Mishin, who was the partner of Tamara Moskvina. When I called Tarasova she asked me to send her a list of my performances in the last year and briefly describe how I was preparing for them. A few days later she told me that she would agree to coach me.

My financial arrangements with her were the same as I had with Mishin. I would get a free apartment, meals, skating sessions, costumes and ice time until I start making money. It was also expected that by the end of a season I will pay the coach one third of my earnings. I always considered myself a jumper and up until I started working with Tarasova, I did not understand that figure skating was something bigger that just moving from one element to another. My performance was supposed to become an artistic production, where everything was important – the posture, the skating and the feel of music. Sometimes I thought that she was overdoing on the artistic values, but I followed all of her instructions without a word.

But the jumps were my domain – even if she wanted to change them, I would not give in. The strength of Tarasova was in her great creative abilities. My strength was in my jumps. And even if I would change the approach to the jumps, I would perform the jumps as I was taught by my two previous coaches.

The night before leaving Italy, Mauricio and his friends asked me out. For the first time in a month I did not have to skate the next morning and decided to have a good time. We had a great time and I came back to the hotel after midnight. The plane to St. Petersburg was leaving early in the morning and I had no more then 2 hours for sleep. I missed the wake up call. An hour later, Tarasova banged on my door until I woke up. She pushed me in the shower and started packing my suitcase. She made me take a cup of tea and called a taxi. When we left the hotel she told me that from now on I was supposed to be in the place where I needed to be at all times. And she was not joking.

Accusations of homosexuality.

Once I was sharing a room in a hotel with Oleg Ovsannikov. He was older and used to smoke a lot, while I did not tolerate the smoke. At that time I was friends with Tara Lipinski, while she was a friend of Rudy Galindo. Rudy was staying alone in a double room and suggested that I move in with him. I gladly accepted his invitation. Rudy, a US Champion, was one of the kindest men that I knew. He was a great guy and I was very surprised when a few weeks later the gossip about our relationship started circulating. I knew that he was gay; he never concealed his sexual orientation. We set the boundaries of our relations from the very beginning and never had problems. When I told Tarasova that I was staying in the room with Rudy she was terrified and asked me if I knew what I was doing. She liked Rudy but she had a better understanding about the environment in which we lived and she realized how this situation could be turned against me. I told her that I would move out immediately. But I realized that she was right when people started talking behind my back. This situation bothered me a lot. Rudy did not get upset when I told him that I was moving out. Up until the end of the tour I shared a room with Anton Sikharulidze. Unfortunately my move did not help me. For a few more years I was considered gay. There were even some correspondents who were investigating my relationships with other skaters. I was very upset and wanted to quit sports.

About Olympics.

Tarasova found me after I left the hotel and told me that if I was tired and wanted to quit sports it was fine, but she suggested trying for one last time to go to the Olympics. If it would work out, we would end up with at least a silver medal. Being a genius coach she realized that she did not have to push me, but she had to give me time to work out my problems. She even suggested I see a shrink. I agreed. Rudolf Zagainov was a well known sports psychologist. He was working for many years with the skaters of Stanislav Zhuk, and with chess masters, who were becoming world champions. My communications with him turned out to be very pleasant and somehow I told him about all of my problems. I told him that I lost myself. We talked about everything. He gave me written recommendations of how to behave in different situations and I always had them with me. A few days before the Olympics, Dr. Zagainov gave me a piece of paper where there was only one sentence: “Who if not you, and when if not now?” Up till now I had some of his notes and when I feel bad, I'd read them. I restarted my practice. My jumps became more stable. I worked with Zagainov and every day I felt better and better. In Salt Lake City, I demanded that Zagainov would be with me at all the practice sessions, because I could not be with Tarasova before the competitions – she was very nervous.

The time came when I was called on the ice. At that moment something happened inside me. I was floating in the air above reality. I was surprisingly calm and balanced. In this condition I stared my program, “Winter." The stands fell silent while I was preparing my first cascade with a quad jump. I looked back at my left as to check the distance to the edge and came up against the sharp glance of Mishin, my former coach. He was standing at the edge where he knew that I would definitely see him, and was looking at me with his piercing eyes. I knew very well this was a tactical move to get me off balance. I told myself that he would not succeed this time and made my jump. At the completion of the program, I jumped in exactly the same corner where he stood and gave him a wide smile.

After my program, I changed and continued to watch the competitions on TV. Todd and Elvis did not skate well, but the others mostly skated OK. Finally Evgeny came out on the ice and I held my breath. When he fell down, I jumped and cried out – yes, yes! I knew that this behavior did not become me, but there was too much riding on his performance and I could not and did not want to hide my happiness at getting so close to Olympic gold. At that moment I knew that I would be a Champion.

When everything was over, I dropped on my knees and kissed the ice. Than I got up and bowed to the spectators. A minute later the fact that I became the Olympic champion finally reached my conscience, and I started jumping up and down. I turned around and saw that Tarasova was crying and I rushed to her. I dropped to my knees in front of her in a sign of my gratitude, my respect and my love for her. She helped me to reach my treasured goal, and the gold medal belonged to her as much as it belonged to me.

About trauma and return to sports.

Haven’t you heard this? I am coming back into the big sport! I want to participate in the Vancouver Olympics and win a gold medal! I was surprised when that news reached me. I did not make any such statements. Yes, now it seems realistic, but what will happen next?

Today I am an owner of a transportation company in St. Petersburg. I perform in the “Ice period” show. I am being pulled back to sports because I did not compete enough in my time. I would like to have again the sharp feelings that I had before. There are not enough competitions or adrenalin rushes, and without that I am bored. Maybe it is all because I left sport too early at the age of 23 and not of my free will, but because of a trauma.

Beginning in 2000, I lived initially with periodic and later with constant pain in the right hip. No one knows what torments I lived through. Any physical activity caused pain. I took handfulls of pain killers; otherwise I could not finish my performances. In public I tried to walk straight and not to show my pain, but as soon as I would get behind the curtains, I would limp badly.

When my doctor and I were getting ready for the operation, we discussed at length what prosthesis to use. There were a lot of different options – ceramic, plastic or metal. Since I decided to stay in sports, the titanium prosthesis was the best. It is the strongest alloy that the bone would grow in easily. A titanium joint head on a rod is inserted in the bone and attached with titanium screws. The rest of the joint is also made of titanium.

The operation took 4 hours. I came to at 12.30 and by 7 pm I was in the regular hospital room. I had catheters and dripping intravenous lines attached to me and I was given a lot of painkillers.

Now I have a special certificate to go through metal detectors at the airports since I trigger them with my metallic hip. When I am asked how I will skate after the operation, I say – “Now I am a Terminator. I will be back!”


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