There is a portrait in a mourning frame in the hall of the CSKA rink. Yesterday Muscovites came here to say good-bye to the great figure skater and man Sergei Grinkov. Those who knew him better than others, his friends and colleagues: Oksana Bayul, Viktor Petrenko, Kristi Yamaguchi came to say the last good-bye. We came up to them to find out more about the last days and hours of Sergei's life. Most of his friends could not talk - the hurt of the loss is too great. But in order to realize now and not later who we lost, we need to ask and to talk. No matter how hurtful that might be...

Probably, Vladimir Zakharov, the first and the last coach of the pair Gordeeva and Grinkov, understood it too well. He invited us to a training room on the third floor. And suppressing his tears with a great difficulty, he talked about his student - Olympic champion Sergei Grinkov.
> "Serezha started figure skating when he was five years old. At first he was a singles skater and trained with Galina Titova. Katia Gordeeva was a singles skater too and trained with Igor Lavrenov. My experience told me that they could make a good pair.

"They practically didn't know each other before that because they skated with different groups at different time. The meeting was very simple, I just introduced them to each other and told that they are going to do pair skating. At first we were not allowed to skate at the big rink it was only for the champions. Because of that we had a hectic schedule: sometimes we trained during the day and other times during the late evening. We had many difficulties before Zhuk saw us and made a point that Katia and Sergei are really talented. Serezha was very calm and friendly on and off the ice. He never raised his voice. If he had a trouble with some elements he would get upset with himself.

"He could train like nobody else. Sometimes I would say: "Maybe it's enough for today?", - but he continued to work on the ice or in the gym.

Serezha was a real leader in the pair. Katia always paid attention to his opinions even if she had her own opinion. Then we set down and started the discussion. Usually it was about some elements: lifts or transitions. Serezha as a more experienced partner made some comments, at the end we always would find a compromise. He was very modest. At the championships he always showed Katia off and kept himself at the background.

"In America they had a good life. But the most important thing for them was the availability of the ice and normal training conditions. Of course, the food is better there and the life is much calmer, but for Katia and Sergei that was not very important.

Sometimes Serezha had back pains. He even had a surgery of the shoulder. But he never complained about his heart. He could even skate the same program two or three times during the same training session. Maybe it is his genes - his father died because of the heart disease...

"I remember, when he was already a champion he came to a dressing room and talked to the younger skaters. He kept himself at the same level with them. He was joking and laughing with them and never showed off himself as a star. This is the way we will remember him..."

Serezha was buried at Vagankovskoe cemetery. Probably that many people didn't come here since the funerals of Vladimir Vysotsky (famous Russian actor and singer - I.S.) and Andrei Mironov (famous Russian actor - I.S.). Just like they Serezha was an artist...

Copyright by © Komsomolskaya Pravda 1995
Special thanks to Oksana Volikova for this article.