Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Monday, May 12, 2008


Irina Rodnina wants to run the Russian Figure Skating Federation.

Translation of an article by Andrey Klinkov printed in the Russian language publication “Express Gazeta” on April 9, 2008

Irina Rodnina went on the offensive against the President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, Mr. Valentin Piseev. The three-time Olympic Champion and now a member of the Russian Duma (The Parliment) insists that the leadership of the Russian Figure Skating Federation has to be changed.

At the last two World Championships, Russian figure skaters won just a single medal. And it was only a bronze medal for ice dancing, where the Russian were just 0.26 points ahead of the American pair. Ms. Rodnina feels that the Russian skaters were just lucky, since the Americans fell down in their compulsory program. In essence in Geteborg the Russians may have been left without any medals. Moreover, in the next season Russia may have in competition only two duets in ice dancing and one single lady skater.

Ms. Rodnina claims that the Federation should have thought about preparing the reserves ahead of time. “When was it a time that we were proud to take seventh place in men’s skating? And what about pairs? If the Japanese skater, Yuko Kawaguchi, would not become a Russian citizen, we would have been behind in pairs as well. In that type of skating we were the best in the world for decades” - said Irina.

Rodnina feels that Valentin Piseev should retire. He was not able to bring back to amateur sports Tatiana Totmjanina and Maxim Marinin and the situation with Pluschenko is still not clear. Many figure skaters have to make their own costumes and buy their skates. The Federation did not secure a corporate sponsor yet.

Mr. Piseev was very upset and angered by the statements of Ms. Rodnina. “She was trying to get in my seat 2 years ago, but at that time she did not have the votes.” - claimed Mr. Piseev.

The vote was taken soon after the Turin Olympics where Russian skaters won 3 gold medals. Who would replace the head of the Federation after such a success? It seems that Ms. Rodnina would like to replace many people. She tried to take the place of the head of the Russian Olympic Committee, but failed. In the last Duma, she wanted to become the Chairperson of the Committee of Physical Educations and Sports and failed again. In the new Duma, she is not getting any more success either.

Piseev continues – “Irina was upset that Russian skaters won bronze medals, because the worse they perform the better it was for Ms. Rodnina - she had the chance to criticize. It is easier to flap one’s tongue than to work. What did she really achieve after she left sports? If she is so smart, let her take over and run the Federation. But I am not sure that she has the votes.”

Point of interest:

Mr. Piseev has run the Russian Figure Skating Federation for more than 20 years. In 1982, for a short period, he was replaced by a former husband of Ms. Rodnina – Mr. Alexander Zaitsev, who was soon fired for a drinking problem and Mr. Piseev was reinstated in his position.


  • At May 12, 2008 1:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The fact that Russian skaters are failing to win medals now has to do with the conditions for skating in Russia during a past decade or so. Ever since the collapse of Soviet Union the rinks in Russia were closing and most, if not all, talented coaches where forced to look for jobs abroad. So, the luck of funding brought lack of talented coaches and declining conditions at the ice rinks were not helpful either. In this situation young people with potential to achieve in sports looked elsewhere. Therefore the generational gap that was not apparent up until 2006 was formed. All of the skaters medaling in Torino started training during a Soviet time and were at least partially products of a Soviet sport machine. Now after they retired of semi-retired it became clear that Russia does not have good young skaters to replace them. I think Rodnina and others criticizing Russian skaters have to realize that it takes about a decade to train a skater, and so all the skaters competing for Russia today were trained in 90s in Russia under very hard conditions. If you think about it, Rodnina herself was not concerned about Russia's skating future that much when she was working at Lake Arrowhead at the time trying to escape Russian reality of 90s. Now, as the economic situation in Russia improved and figure skating is record popular due to the success in Torino and all those TV reality skating shows, it is easy to criticize the Russian Federation of today because its skaters fail to perform. It will take some time for Russia to come back to a level that it was in Torino, but I have no doubts that it will. What I think, however, people like Rodnina, Tarasova and others should do is to start working with young athletes so they can reach the high level rather then spend their time criticizing Russian Federation. I am, by no means, a fan of Russian Federation or its president for that matter, but I don't think that criticizing it and demanding short term solution like return of Plushenko or other Olympic medalists is the way to fix the problems.

  • At May 13, 2008 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is funny she criticize Russian Federation for not preparing good skaters in last few yeas, but were she was during last 10 yeas? She was in US making a lot of many for not making any good skaters…..


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