Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Anton Sikharulidze canceled his wedding

Translation of an article by Maria Remizova printed in a Russian Language publication Komsomolskaya Pravda on April 8, 2008.

Friends of the Olympic Champion are hoping that the lovers will reconcile.

Famous figure skater and Chairman of the Committee of the Russian Parliament for Physical Education and Sports, 31 year old Anton Sikharulidze, can not say good bye to his bachelor life. Last winter, he told the press that he was getting married in the summer. His bride was a 21 year old girl with auburn hair named Nadezda.

This beauty is a graduate of the Moscow State University, Institute of Journalism.

His relationship with Nadezda has not always been worry free. During Anton’s performance in the "Ice Period" show, Nadezda was very jealous of Anton’s skating partners – the singer Sasha Saveljeva, and the dancer Nastia Volochkova, with whom he was very friendly. It almost came to a break up between Anton and Nadezda, but finally they resolved their problems and the date of the wedding was set for July 5.

More than 300 hundred guests were invited to the wedding, but last week the bride called her friends and told them that the wedding was off. The friends are hoping that they will make up again since they look so nice together.

It has been observed that Anton moved out from the place where he lived together with Nadezda and now lives alone in a Moscow Marriott Hotel.
Thursday, April 17, 2008


Elena Tchaikovskya: We may be too late for Sochi.

Translation of an interview by Sergey Dadigin (SD) a correspondent of a Russian language publication “Express Gazeta”, printed on April 1, 2008
Elena Tchaikovskya (ET) a famous figure skating coach who brought up a number of wonderful skaters, feels that Russia is in a crisis in woman’s single skating.

SD – Elena, aren’t you a little too negative?

ET – No, not at all. If our best skater, Ksenia Doronina, takes 17th place and some people consider it a good result, I want to scream how low we've dropped. Yes, Ksenia is making her debut, but I remember that my student Julia Soldatova won the silver at European and bronze at the World Championships her first year. That was what we were supposed to reach for! Now our women do not demonstrate figure skating, but rather figure standing! It is stagnant. Many girls just know only one thing- speed up and jump! And that is all of their program!

SD – Maybe it was not worth it for Elena Sokolova to leave the sport? She could have gotten a medal at the European competitions.

ET - Maybe Elena got tired. She was competing at the highest level for the last eight years.

SD – Elena stated in one of the interviews that she was forced to leave the sport by the President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation and that she may come back next year.

ET – May come back! Absence from the ice for a year will not pass unnoticed. We will see what will come out of it. As I see it, now we need to put all of our resources in bringing up women’s single skating. I do not think that we will correct the situation before the Vancouver Olympics, but if we will be slow, we will miss out at the Sochi Olympics too.

SD – Do you have any beef with the judges?

ET – The new system of judgment is worse that the old one. Now there are two technical controllers who can do whatever they want. They can assign to an element the second level instead of the third, and the marks will automatically go down. In Geteborg, the judges sometimes discounted clean jumps, while they closed their eyes at the real deficiencies.

SD – Do you think that Maxim Shabalin was correct to compete in the European Championship with a not completely healed trauma? In the end, they won the European Championship, but did not go to the Worlds.

ET - I am not sure what recommendations the doctors gave to Maxim. In this situation the coach is the one who makes a decision. I remember that many years ago, I took Alexander Gorshkov, who had a part of his lung removed in an operation, to the World Championship in the USA. Colorado Springs, where the competition took place, was located high above sea level and the air was very thin there. It was hard to breathe with normal lungs. Some people told me that Gorshkov would die there. But I consulted with the doctors in advance, and nothing bad happened.

Shabalin had a simple meniscus operation. In principal, it is not a complex operation and doctors know how to do it well. I remember that my student Vladimir Kovalev, after a similar operation, won the gold medal for the second time at the Worlds. It is more difficult for the single skaters, who jump and have to land on the injured leg, than for the dancers to perform after a meniscus operation.

Despite her age, Ms. Tchaikovskay is in a very good sports form. Recently she demonstrated her abilities in the show “Dances on Ice”.

SD – Millions of TV viewers were delighted when during the Gala Concert you came out on the ice with another coach – Alexey Mishin. Did you practice a long time for that number?

ET – No, not at all. It was not difficult. I am conducting my coaching lessons on the skates. Of course I can not risk jumping, but I can skate for some time.

SD – Will this year the TV show “Dances on Ice” be shown again on the Russia channel?

ET – Certainly, but I will not tell you which surprises we are preparing this year.
Monday, April 14, 2008


Oleg Vasiliev: Pluschenko will never come back!

Translation of an article by Sergey Latinin printed in the Russian language publication Express Gazeta on April 1, 2008.

After the completion of the World Championship in Geteborg, discussion centered on whether the famous Russian figure skater Evgeny Pluschenko would come back onto the ice. In the opinion of many experts, the new World Champion, Canadian Jeffrey Buttle, and the French skater Brian Joubert, showed the highest level of figure skating, and that Pluschenko, who has not skated for two years and lost his form, would not be able to compete with them.

Evgeny himself is very optimistic. He said that he has won competitions against both Joubert and Buttle and he does not have any inferiority complex toward them. He did not change his mind about coming back. He also said that he met with the management of the Russian Figure Skating Federation and made arrangements that the Federation will pay for his practices, for his costumes and other things. He will not ask for any direct payments from the Federation to him for his return.

In regards to the operation on his meniscus, which was performed last year in Germany, it went well. The athlete is only concerned that he started to put the load on his leg too early and as a result he had some problems. That was why he lost this season.

But not all believe that Evgeny is sincerely planning to come back. The famous coach Oleg Vasiliev, whose students Tatiana Totmjanina and Maxim Marinin initially also announced that they were coming back to amateur sports but later changed their minds, was frank and said that he thought that Pluschenko would not come back to amateur sport.

According to Vasilliev, all of Plushenko's statements that he was coming back were just pure PR. After the Turin Olympics Evgeny tasted "la dolce vita” – parties, restaurants, presentations… He is used now to commercial shows, while in sports one has to work hard.

Incidentally, Evgeny did not behave right. He quarreled not only with Averbuch, but with other producers. As a result, his show – “The Golden Ice of Stradivarius” was not very successful and many people in show business turned away from him.

Vassiliev believes that at the beginning of the next season there will be the same song, Plushenko will say that he is ready to start practicing, but something will interfere. Oleg Vasiliev thinks that the other ex-world Champion – Alexey Yagudin will not become again an amateur as well.
Thursday, April 10, 2008


Evgeny Pluschenko: This time I will invite everyone to the wedding.

Translation of an interview by Maria Remizova (MR) printed in the Russian language publication “Komsomolskaya Pravda” on March 27, 2008.

Evgeny Pluschenko (EP), the famous figure skater told this reporter about his personal life and his plans for a return to big sport.

MR – You are coming back to big sport. Are you getting ready for the Olympics?

EP – Of course I am getting ready for competition.

MR - Whom do you see as the real competitors in figure skating?

EP – I was watching the Worlds recently and saw that there were some good skaters. I was rooting for the guy from Japan, but he ended up in fourth place. Our skater, Voronov, was not bad. I was surprised by how badly Lambiel was skating. Buttle looked good, but I think I can beat them.

MR – Do you have any good luck charms?

EP – No, I do not, just my cross and an icon.

MR – You seem to have lost a lot of weight lately.

EP – It is not enough. I just started losing weight. I am playing tennis and hockey.

MR – Where do you like to rest?

EP – I like St. Petersburg. I am building a house with a steam room in the suburbs. Also I like to ride a motorbike.

MR – You recently got divorced. Do you see your son?

EP – Of course I see him.

MR – What gifts do you give him?

EP – I brought him a child’s car and he drives it and even knows how to park. From Japan, I brought him a samurai sward. He started walking at about 9 months and now easily climbs up to the third floor. He already says “papa”.

MR – In your last interview to our paper you said that you met your new love and you would not rule out that you may get married this year. But you did not tell us the name of your chosen one. Will you have a lavish wedding like your first one, or you will marry in secret?

EP – I will have a great wedding and hope that it will be in St. Petersburg. It will be a celebration for all of my friends, since I did not invite many of my friends to my first wedding.

Currently Evgeny has been seen going out with a pretty blond, the producer of famous Russian singer Dima Bilan, named Jana Rudkovsky. The loving eyes of Pluschenko are speaking loudly of his feelings for her. They met about a year ago. They started going out in public together only after the divorce of Pluschenko. There are rumers that they want to legalize their relations by the end of this year. Evgeny is 26 years younger than Jana’s current husband. She claims that Evgeny became her reliable friend. Until now Pluschenko and Rudkovskaja were not publicizing their relations, since she was still married.
Her husband, Victor Baturin, postponed their divorce till mid April. Jana claimed that her husband has a very tough character. It is not a secret that Jana is a very mysterious woman. She has a lot of admirers in show business and that was why some gossiped that it was not clear what drove her to divorce – feelings for Pluschenko, or just PR.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Figure skater with pony tails.

Translation of an interview with Elena Vodorezova by a correspondent of Russian Language newspaper “Rossijskaja gazeta” Konstantin Ioch (KI) printed on April 3, 2008.

The TV channel “Russia” is working on a show called “Two Sisters." The story is set in the late 70s in Moscow and Yekaterinburg.

The lead character is a talented figure skater, who reached serious success in big sports, but because of a trauma had to drop out and look for other avenues available to her.

The prototype for the lead role is a famous Russian figure skater, Elena Vodorezova (EV). She was the first Russian woman to become European and World Champion (ed. note: Vodorezova was never World Champion. She won the World Bronze in 1983) and the first woman in the history of figure skating who performed five consecutive double jumps in her free program.

These days, Elena is a coach at the Central Sports Club of the Russian Army. She gave her blessing for the filming of the show and even appeared in a cameo as a coach.

KI – Did you see the first episodes of the show? Did you find similarities with reality there?

EV – When I read the script, I saw similarities with the group of Stanislav Zhuk – the coach that I was working with since I was 11 years old. His group was unique in that it was the only group where the singles and pairs skated together. It was not practiced before, and it is not practiced now, but Zhuk was able to coach everybody together.

There were some other details. In the Army Sports Club, the figure skaters and the hockey players were practicing at the same rink, and lived at the same sports camp. Figure skaters started earlier and the hockey players were next. When they came out on the ice, all of the figure skating girls would start showing off and Zhuk was very angry with them. The hockey players liked to take care of the skaters. When I was a part of the Russian delegation at the Olympic Games, they called me “the team’s daughter” and took me everywhere with them holding my hand.

It is hard to reinstate that epoch. The equipment, the rink, the skating style and the practices are all different now.

KI – Were the producers able to recreate your image?

EV – Yes, very much so. When I saw the clip with the leading actress on ice, I thought that it was me: I was wearing the same pony tails and a similar dress. It is funny, but even now people recognize me and tell me that they remember me by my pony tails. In essence, they better remember my pony tails than me.
Tuesday, April 08, 2008


How to correctly dress a figure skater.

Translation of an interview by a correspondent of the Russian language publication Sonia Ray (SR) with the costume designer for figure skaters Nika Valegjanova, printed on March 20, 2008

To win over the judges at figure skating competitions, just technique is not enough. The skater has to leave a good impression as to be remembered and to get good marks. One of the means to reach such a goal is the costume. Costume designer Nika Valegjanova (NV) works with Yuka Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov who took fourth place at the recent World Championship.

SR – Who makes the costumes for figure skaters?

NV – Often the costumes are made in the theater. For example, Slava Zaitsev designed costumes for Natalia Bestemjanova and Andrey Bulkin and they were made in the tailor shop of the Bolshoy Theater. They had to stay still for long hours leaning on skiing polls, as their arms would not get tired, while the costumes were handmade to fit their figures. These days, computers are assisting in making the patterns which can be used to cut the fabric.

SR – How does the costume begin?

NV – In my case, everything starts with the coach – Tamara Moskvina. Usually she would come in with bright eyes and would tell me what new number they had developed, would bring the disk with the music and the tape of the practice so I would see what moves they are making. Then I make my design and present it to her. Sometime I would make prototypes and the skaters would skate in them while the costumes are being held by pins.

SR – How many fittings is required to make the costume fit well?

NV – Sometimes the costume can be made from a pattern in one session, but other times it takes 5-6 fittings. Sometimes even this is not enough. I had a situation with Alexander Smirnov recently. I found an appropriate fabric that stretched and looked like wool. We joined it with natural leather and after several fittings we made a very nice looking costume. Two days before they were to leave for the competition I came to the practice session to see how things were. All of a sudden during practice, Alexander came to me and told me that he could not skate in the costume since it was limiting his movements. I was almost hysterical. We had to make a similar costume from a different material in a hurry. The new costume did not look on him as good as the first one, but it did not limit his movements. It is very hard to guess. Each fabric has its own features.

SR – How many copies of the same costume are usually made?

NV – Usually they make only one for a season. The skaters do not skate two seasons in the same costume. They may use the old costumes for an exhibition performance, but for the competitions they need the new ones.

SR – Maybe that is the reason why even the costumes of the leaders sometimes have holes in the mesh or splitting seams.

NV – The holes in the mesh are unavoidable. But the seams have to be mended. The skaters have to watch out for their costumes, have to mend them and wash them. The skaters can not afford assistants that would look after the costumes, the hairdressings and their make up.

SR – How does fashion affects the costumes of the skaters?

NV – Of course there is a figure skating fashion. Each season has its rules. It was known that the representatives of the former Soviet Union countries liked very stylish costumes with a lot of beads and a lot of laces. Even men had laces on their shirts. Sometimes there are difficulties with the fashion. Currently in vogue are costumes similar to the formal evening dresses, especially for women -- short cut and with deep décolleté. It is very good for the skaters like Tatiana Navka: she can open her feet, and upper torso. It is different for Yuka – her skin is of transparent bluish color and at the cold ice in a cold light she will look green. Also, her sports figure with strong shoulders and broad hips is not suitable for open dresses.

SR – Could the costumes be changed during the same competition?

NV – Yes, it is possible. Tamara Moskvina once even dressed a male skater in a costume from one program and the female – from another. I was very upset seeing this, but she explained that she looked around at the rink, saw what the people were wearing there and thought that in that particular instance it was better for the skaters. I thought about that and realized that as long as the costumes did not clash, it appeared that she found a new design beneficial for the skaters. And that was most important.
Monday, April 07, 2008


Alexey Urmanov: I do not want to be a mediocre coach.

Translation of an article printed in the Russian language publication Novie Isvestia (NI) on April 1, 2008.

Many sports fans remember the recent performance at the World Championship in Geteborg of Sergey Voronov, who took seventh place there, while in Zagreb at the European Championship he was forth.

Of course after the wins of Pluschenko and Yagudin it was not such a great achievement, but it gave hope that men’s single skating will be resurrected soon. And that hope is supported by the fact that Mr. Vorovov is coached by a famous figure skater, the Olympic champion of 1994, Alexey Urmanov (AU).

NI – Alexey, it is known that a first class skater can rarely become a great coach. Did you decide to disprove this opinion?

AU – The work of a coach is such that one can not be sure of himself for 100%. But to be honest, from the very beginning I did not want to become a mediocre coach. If you would not set a goal for yourself, you would not gain anything. But do not rush to praise me. I clearly understand that to become an elite coach I have to work a lot.

NI – In the “kiss and cry” zone at the World’s Championship, you were so happy for your student. It seems that you did not expect him to do so well after last year’s 19th place.

AU – We worked very hard and smart on his program. This season he was actually competing, compared to last season. He was performing then like in the fog. It was not planned that he would participate in this competition. Also, his leg hurt him very much. He completed his performance, but the old trauma of a stressed fracture became so acute that after the competition he was moving around Tokyo in wheelchair.

NI – What kind of trauma was it that sometimes it allowed him to jump and sometimes it put him in the wheelchair?

AU – It was a fracture of the bone due to the heavy load. Sometimes in this condition the bone splits and there is nothing that one can do about it. The only treatment is rest; one can not glue the bone back together or put a plate in. Sometimes such trauma heals by itself, because while the body is young, bone tissue is still forming. Unfortunately, Sergey’s trauma is not healing. We talked with many doctors and so far have had no positive results.

NI – In general, do you think that men’s singles skating is moving in the right direction?

AU – I think that it is, although people often ask me why there are no new developments in singles. It is so because it is much more difficult to skate these days, compared with the days when I was skating. The requirements are much tougher. To put together an image, an idea of the program and quads – that's an insurmountable goal for many skaters.

NI – With the introduction of the new rules, many coaches confessed that their load also increased. They have a constant headache of exactly the sort you were talking about. Incidentally, not that many single skaters of your generation became coaches. In Geteborg, except for you, there were no new coaches at the side of the rink.

AU – I do not feel sorry for myself. I wanted to become a coach when I was still competing as an amateur. I had a very good foundation myself and had a good understanding of where I would lead the young sportsmen. There is a lot of work for me now. Children are going into figure skating in such numbers that we do not have time to refresh the ice.

NI – But in any event, is it not difficult psychologically to stay at the side of the rink?

AU – Yes, very much. When I was a skater I knew that the one who is standing at the side of the rink is also getting nervous and worrying, but I never thought that I would worry more than my student. I feel with each cell of my body how my student performs. Even though with each performance of my student, I am getting more experience, I can not say that it is getting easier.
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.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008


As a novelist who also just had to deal with The Writers Guild of America strike, the following article from "The Onion" pretty much said it all:

Novelists Strike Fails To Affect Nation Whatsoever

LOS ANGELES—The Novelists Guild of America strike, now entering its fourth month, has had no impact on the nation at all, sources reported Tuesday.

The strike, which scholars say could be the longest since 1951, when American novelists may or may not have voluntarily committed to a six-month work stoppage, has brought an immediate halt to all new novels, novellas, and novelettes from coast to coast, affecting no one.
Enlarge Image Novelist Strike

Bookstores across the country saw no measurable change in anything.

Nor has America's economy seen any adverse effects whatsoever, as consumers easily adjust to the sudden cessation of any bold new sprawling works of fiction or taut psychological character studies.

Entire sad but true story, here.
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