Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Thursday, April 03, 2008


Anton Sikhuralidze: I became a politician because I was sick and tired of being Charlie Chaplin.

Translation of an interview by Vladimir Kozin and Jaroslav Korbatov printed in a Russian language publication Komsomolskaya Pravda (KP) on March 28, 2008.

KP – Anton, your sports career was full of bright events. Be honest, are you working on a book?

AS – Elena Bereznaja and I received such a proposal after the Salt Lake City Olympics. We developed an outline, even selected a publishing house, but then we left for a month-long tour and our enthusiasm came way down. However, we can always come back to that subject. We do have a lot to tell.

KP – What about the story of your miraculous rescue of Elena?

AS – Yes, after her trauma and brain surgery we could not even think about Olympic gold. She had to learn to talk and to walk again. We had to do a lot to bring her back to her current condition of being a nice, smiling and successful girl. I do not like to lecture on morals, but one could learn a lot from her about courage and strength.

KP – When did you see Elena last?

AS – To be honest, we see each other very rarely. She is busy rearing her newborn child. My schedule is also very tight. I rarely come to St. Petersburg where she lives now, but we talk on the phone regularly.

KP – Were you disappointed by the performance of our figure skaters at the Worlds?

AS – I think that it was a very successful performance. The guys were performing at the maximum of their abilities. It is another story that, as of now, they are not ready to successfully compete, but it is not their fault. When Elena and I were competing, our team consisted of 5 or 6 people who just by themselves were representing an epoch in figure skating. It was unreal that so many talented people got together at the same time. The leadership of figure skating was euphoric about that situation and missed the time to prepare the next generation of figure skaters. We are paying for that mistake now.

KP – Do you have the feeling that the TV shows overshadow the competitions?

AS – It is a world trend. Figure skating is losing its popularity. There are no real bright stars. The new system of judging also played a role in the degradation of the sport. I would call this system anti-spectators, and even anti-Russian. Even I, an Olympic champion, sometimes do not understand why the judges give their particular marks. It seems that the new rules were designed to fit the Asian type of figure skating. They force the skater to concentrate only on the elements – such as what side of the skate is used for a rotation, what is the position of the hands during the lifts? Is it really that important for the spectator? The spectator wants an image, an emotional performance that a couple could create on ice. That was the trademark of the Russian school of figure skating.

KP – When will we see you in an ice show?

AS – I am afraid that I will not have time for it. I know that "Ice Age" will come back in the new TV season, but I won’t be there and it is not a problem.

KP- - When did you skate last?

AS – Not long ago. I was skating with my friend’s kids at an open-air skating rink. Incidentally, I like to frolic at the open rinks – the snow is falling, the kids are skating, the music is playing – it is wonderful and very romantic. It was nice that these kinds of rinks were opened in the main squares of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

KP – Did the story with the second set of gold medals for the Canadians in Salt Lake City influence your decision to become a politician? It was a clear example of how politics interferes with sports.

AS – No, that six years old story did not influence my decision about my future life direction. I think that sport is for young people. One has to know when to quit without being pushed out. One day, I felt that I was sick and tired of being Chaplin (The program called “Chaplin” was a trademark of Anton and Elena). I felt that I grew up. I was always interested in social activities and I was preparing myself to get involved in sports politics. I am comfortable with my work at Duma (The Russian parliament) and I feel that I can be useful there.

KP – It seems that figure skaters contributed to the prestige of Russia more than soccer, but skaters are making much less that the soccer players. Could you correct this unfairness?

AS - I am glad that soccer and hokey players are making serious money and I would not want to take it away from them. But I agree that it is not fair that an Olympic champion in gymnastics, a world legend, earns in a year as much as a medium level hokey player makes in a week.

KP – You are 32 years old and already Chairman of the Duma’s Committee of physical education and sports. But what about your personal life? Is it true that you are getting married in July and could we congratulate you in advance?

AS – No comment.


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