Thoughts aloud

Ekaterina Gordeeva, the Olympic champion in pairs figure skating.
Behind a window, there is a lovely central Russian landscape with a green meadow and a forest strip afar. There is a girl with deep blue eyes sitting in a chair in front of me; she is concentrated on something she writes in her journal. The Olympic champion Katia Gordeeva just came back from her practice and wants to write down everything that happened at the ice rink in Novogorsk.

— Katia, how was your vacation after a difficult season, the Calgary performance and a European tour? — I’ve asked Gordeeva when she closed her diary.
— I had no practices only for 10 days, and I was at home in Moscow. I miss home so much!
— What are your plans with your partner, Sergei Grinkov, for the next season?
— Our coach, Stanislav Leonovich, and choreographer, Marina Zoueva, found original music for our new programs, we’ve already started working on a composition. It is very exciting.
— Are the memories of Calgary Olympics still fresh?
— I think we’ll probably always have the memories of the Olympics. Yes, the Olympic games cannot even compare to the World championships. Sergei and I experienced it ourselves. We were two-time world champions before Calgary, and still.... It was an amazing feeling; we walked the streets, talked to people, watched TV broadcasts, but during the day times and times again we felt pressure. We were counting days, hours and even minutes remaining to our performance in Calgary. We felt joy and relief only on the podium.
— If you had a chance to talk to the Olympic team leaving for Seoul, what would you tell them?
— Have faith in yourselves and in your strength, guys, to the very end! Don’t get discouraged by a first mistake! Remember that the success of the Soviet team depends on each and every one of you, the whole country roots for you. You have no right to perform below your abilities.
— To have faith and to not get discouraged by a first mistake... Does this motto come from your personal experience?
— We did not hide it. Though some called us "the lucky ones", luck has nothing to do with it. In professional sport, where sometimes a 100-th of a second means everything, the most important thing is courage and personal strength. Sergei and I many times had to change our programs during a competition, but it did not frighten us...
— What helps you to be self-confident and have competitive strength?
— A commitment to what you do. Visiting different countries, we’ve seen so much interest to performances of our national team; so many people follow us with curiosity, occasionally with mistrust. Last year we trained in a small American town of Oxford, OH, getting ready for the Worlds. Many people came to watch our practices, just town folks, hundreds of students, who gave us friendly letters and drawings. "Russian Champions" — those words were better than any TV commercials.
— What makes you feel great?
— I love to train at home, including Novogorsk. Ideally, it is only Sergei, coach and I on the ice. We are not afraid of people looking at us, but silence is a necessary thing for creativity...
— Katia what do you think perestroika means?
— In my opinion, it means that everyone should work better at what they do; real actions should take place instead of talk.

An unknown source. Summer 1988.
Translated by ©
Special thanks to Yulia for this article.