Bizet's Victorious Notes

Choreographer of pairs Olympic Champions, Marina Zueva, comments on the victory of Gordeeva and Grinkov
I woke up at the crack of dawn and called the TV station right away. I thought I was ready for the kids’ victory, but hearing it "officially" made me speechless with happiness. Then after a little while, I turned my TV on and watched their long program. While watching Katia’s face during the medal ceremony and hearing the national anthem, I caught myself teary-eyed. You see, their Olympic success is mine too... They are my first students and Olympic champions.

When did I meet them first? About five years ago, they just have started skating pairs and didn't know much. They were a bit clumsy as little kids usually are but so diligent... Certainly at the time, I could not have imagined that they are the future Olympic champions. However I liked them right away. At the time, I was working with Elena Vodorezova, and working with Gordeeva and Grinkov was kind of a pro bono. The kids were so sweet I could not resist.

Together we went all the way through to the Olympic "gold".

When children left for Calgary, I was worried not only how technically well they will skate their programs, but also about their appearance: costumes, hair and make-up. All of it is important to the judges. Usually, I am the one who pays so much attention to every detail, who makes Katia’s hair and helps her dress up. Before the Calgary trip, we all rehearsed it many times. Well, Katia and Sergei managed their appearance perfectly well.

Before they left, I told them not to forget to show "winner's triumph" in every movement of the short program. The toreador is the winner, right? And you together with him, I repeated to Katia and Sergei, feel the success. It turned out great! They felt that with Bizet's victorious music they move closer to their goal — the Olympic "gold".

During the practice, Katia had trouble with double flip. However on the Calgary ice, everything went well, thank God.

And for the long program... At the Olympics, you can not buy judges and spectators just with sincerity and spontaneity, which Sergei and especially Katia have a lot. You need skill, maturity, perfection — in a word, your own face, your own style. That is what we worked on in the long program set to music by Mendelssohn and Chopin.

The arena burst into a round of applause after last performance of Gordeeva and Grinkov. And I have involuntarily got up from an armchair while watching TV: bravo, Katia! Bravo, Sergei!

Interviewed by Elena Zubova. © Moskovskiy Komsomolets, 1988.
Translated by ©
Special thanks to Yulia for this article.