Let Them Talk - Russian TV-Show - December 2007

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You can watch the entire video of this show with English subtitles.


This is a must read (watch) interview for any dedicated Ekaterina Gordeeva fan!!! When translating it, I tried to preserve playful and informal atmosphere of the show. To me it resembles "Inside the Actor's Studio" in a way that the main subject of the show is the guest and not their promotional engagements. It is quite an insight into the near past of USSR and its people with vivid details of educational and. sport systems. The significance of this show is that it was the first one in Russia in 12 years. Media rarely covered anything about Katia's life. Katia's book "My Sergei" was translated into Russian but only 11 000 copies were printed, and there were no reprints. So for a Russian fan it was practically impossible to get and read the book. For the regular viewers of this show, the whole story was new.

So, without further ado, I leave you to enjoy this remarkable interview, all 11 pages of it! :-) (Irina S.)

Malakhov: Moscow. This is "Let Them Talk" Show. In this studio we discuss real life stories that should be told.
This was the most beautiful pair in the world of sport - Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov. The happy fairy tale has ended on November, 20, 1995 in Lake Placid. During a practice Sergei has suddenly collapsed on the ice. His heart has given up. The world of figure skating does not know a more tragic story than a story of Ekaterina Gordeeva’s athletic triumph and personal tragedy Together with the ice partner and husband Sergei Grinkov, Katia has won two Olympic gold medals.

Our media seldom wrote about what happened to a 24-year–old widow with a small child on her hands after the tragedy. All these years Katia lived in the USA; and the Russian audiences did not see her for almost 10 years. How was her life abroad? Did she find happiness? A topic of our show today is "Ekaterina Gordeeva. Coming back."

Good evening once again. Allow me to introduce our guests in the studio:
World Champion in figure skating - Maria Butyrskaya
Sports commentator - Sergei Cheskidov
Figure skating coach, European and World medalist in figure skating - Elena Vodorezova
World Champion, figure skating coach - Marina Cherkasova
Figure skating coach - Alexander Gorelik
Figure skating coach - Nina Zhuk

Americans are absolutely sure that the United States became a second homeland for Ekaterina Gordeeva. But once, skating in one of the states, she said a very shocking thing: "All that I want right now is to go back to Russia." And now, please welcome three-time European Champion, four-time World Champion and two-time Olympic Champion - our Katyusha Gordeeva.

Katia: Hello! Good evening!
Malakhov: I want to tell you that you are so fragile.
Katia: All figure skaters rather fragile, right?
Gorelik: Serega would not be able to lift her if she was not so fragile?
Malakhov: Well now, when you come to Russia for holidays, how do you feel coming home?
Katia: I feel great. I come here at least once a year. Now we come even more often than that. And I always feel like coming home. Certainly.
Malakhov: We have a skating rink at the Red Square. Do you want to grab your skates and go there to skate?
Katia: Last year my daughter and I have already skated there. It was great!
Malakhov: So this feeling of being home, skating at the Red Square is…
Katia: I was surprised that the ice rink is there. It is a great idea.
Malakhov: How old were you when you started skating?
Katia: Four.
Malakhov: Four years old. I know that your father was in dancing.
Katia: He was a dancer with the Red Army dance company.
Malakhov: Could you really choose between dancing and skating?
Katia: I had a choice. My dad wanted me to be a ballet or folk dancer. But I didn’t like it very much. I liked figure skating much more.

Malakhov: We have a few surprises for you in store. Your first coach Vladimir Zakharov is with us today. How long have you coached Gordeeva and Grinkov pair?
Zakharov: About a year or two.
Malakhov: I heard they broke discipline.
Zakharov: No. Katia was very disciplined. It sounds more like Serezha. He was a young guy, 16 years old.
Malakhov: Well, did you have to resort to rigid pedagogical measures?
Zakharov: Well of course. It is CSKA, it is the army. Also there was Stanislav Alekseevich Zhuk who was very strict. And we had to follow in his steps.
Malakhov: Were you afraid to skate with a tall boy, who himself never skated in pairs.
Katia: Well I was a bit afraid at first.
Malakhov: But the army said "you must", and you said "yes"?
Katia: Vladimir Yurievich said you must...
Malakhov: And when have you realized that you succeeded, you are a champion, that people are proud of you?
Katia: I don’t know. It happened gradually. I guess when we won our first World Championship. The junior championships don’t count. At that point it felt real. Of course, winning the Olympics feels like you’ve accomplished something great.
Malakhov: Would you like to participate in the "Ice Age" project, where figure skating stars skate with people who are not proficient with skating?
Katia: I’ll have to think about it.

Malakhov: When Sergei died, America has gone into mourning. Americans are able to make a show out of anything, and your personal tragedy became their national property. Was so much attention a burden for you?
Katia: I didn’t really understand what was happening around me. My agents told me what to do. But in general, certainly, it was a burden. Then at some point it was awful.
Malakhov: Who helped you in this situation? To live through such a tragedy you must have had friends and family helping you.
Katia: Of course, first of all my parents. I have great parents. Mom and dad always were close. They gave me all the support I needed. I have many friends. So I had great support.

Malakhov: Now we are going to have a video recording of a person who was with you at important points in your life. This is father Nikolai. Let’s listen to what he said.
Father Nikolay: We had conversations when she asked me how she should go on. Whether she should be alone or with a family. We decided everything with her.  Katyusha asked my advice, and we prayed together. I have understood that she needs someone in her life, she will be miserable alone. I think that Serezha would bless her marriage because he loved her very much. And she waited for some years before she remarried. She did not become a recluse, she did not change, but her eyes are not as bright as they were before.

Malakhov: I understand that it was really terrible and maybe you don’t feel comfortable recalling that day, but did you realize what happened right away?
Katia: No, not right away. I felt something terrible inside and understood everything when the doctors started talking.
Malakhov: Did Sergei ever complain about his health?
Katia: The usual, like all pair skaters do. His back was hurting or his shoulders. Well, it is difficult to lift up a girl all the time.
Malakhov: With so much attention from the world media it probably was hard to make a decision not to be alone? How did a new person come into your life?
Katia: Well, I didn’t have to make any kind of a decision not to be alone. The life was moving on. I had support from my parents and friends, Dashka was growing up. Everything else was going alone fine. I was happy to be invited to skating shows even as a singles skater. I did not have a goal not to be alone. It just happened.

Malakhov: Well, I just happen to know that to win your heart, someone who will appear here, wrote poetry for you.
Katia: Poetry? I don’t remember.
Malakhov: Maybe he will recall it today. Please welcome a person who has won Ekaterina Gordeeva’s heart, European and Olympic Champion Ilia Kulik. Ilia, I hope that you remember the poetry?
Ilia: It was not good enough to dedicate to Katia, so I didn’t.
Malakhov: What did American media thought of your love story?
Ilia: Well the first two years were very intense. Especially with so much attention after Katia’s book. When you walk the street and everybody knows what had happened to you and what is happening in your life right now. And all of these questions. I felt sorry for Katia. I saw that it was an overload for her, she could not even relax. So the first two years we were in hiding.
Malakhov: So that is the reason you did not publicize you wedding?
Ilia: Precisely, yes. Absolutely.
Malakhov: Was it difficult to win Ekaterina over? Or was she such a wounded bird, that...
Ilia: Well, the process was labor-intensive, certainly. But we had plenty of time because when I came to Stars on Ice…
Katia: Why don’t you ask me how difficult it was to win him over?
Ilia: I understand that the process was mutual.
Malakhov: It turns out that you wrote poetry for Kulik?
Katia: There was a time...
Malakhov: So all the toys that people threw on ice for Ilia he gave to you and all of the Teddy-bears you gave to him?
Katia: Well, yeah.
Ilia: We had an interesting funny story. I was thinking of ways to win Katia’s heart. The tour was long, four months, the same routine every day: practice, performance, practice, performance, a day off. Well, we didn’t have much to do so I had to think of something. Well, let’s help her with the jumps, because her jumps were so-so. Do you remember I started to come to your practice and help you with the jumps?
Katia: I remember. You helped me well.
Ilia: I saw that Katia doesn’t like it too much. But she was patient, she was patient. I guess that’s what you mean by mutual.
Katia: I thought you were going to tell about the other jump. I had a childhood dream to jump with a parachute. And than he says lets jump with a parachute. I could not believe that my dream at last will come true. I said: "Yes, let’s do it!" He organized everything. Maybe if it were not for him that would never happen. And we had our parachute jump.
Malakhov: Were you scared?
Katia: Of course. But it’s not that scary together.
Malakhov: Do you have children?
Ilia: Yes. I won’t deny it.
Malakhov: Will your daughter become a figure skater.
Ilia: Yes, Liza skates.
Katia: Yes, she is skating a little bit.
Malakhov: So will she be a singles skater or you are looking for a pair for her?
Ilia: We will see.
Katia: She is 6.5 years old, who knows.
Malakhov: How about the older, Dasha?
Katia: Dasha used to skate. She is in the eighth grade. She does not skate any more.
Ilia: She was skating enjoying it for some time, but not seriously enough to continue and skate at the higher level. Though she has reached a certain level, she can do double jumps.
Malakhov: You even coached her, if I’m not mistaken?
Ilia: A little bit, a couple of years, but then she said enough.
Katia: Actually, it is very hard to coach your own children. I skate with Liza, and I enjoy coaching her, but it is difficult because she does not see me as a coach she sees me as her mom. You can talk to mom, tell her that you don’t want to do it right now, tell her: "please, warm up my hands." It is not a coaching style.

Malakhov: By the way, speaking about fans. What fans do you consider to be more impressionable Russian or American?
Cheskidov: Well you know, Americans are only for themselves, it is well-known, but on the other hand you can not underestimate their sincere desire to help Katia. I do not think that it was such a show as you describe it. Those US fans that followed Kulik, followed the pair to many competitions. Their fans from the States went to Japan, across Europe. They had personal fans it is completely sincere.

And I have an example of people not knowing. The Olympic delegation comes to Calgary. It is a charter flight, big plane, 300 people. And we have representatives from different television companies greeting us. Colleagues approach me and ask if I have someone famous around here. And Irina Rodnina passes me by. I tell them: "Here you go, this is Irina Rodnina." They ask me who is she? I tell them: "How! You don’t know? She is a three-time Olympic Champion". They tell me, they don’t know her. But they knew Gordeeva & Grinkov. Why? It seems to me that it is a special pair. When I was preparing for the show, I thought what kind of an image can be associated with Katia? "A diamond" is kind of a cliché. I think that she is such a jewel that everybody likes. There is a stone such as emerald. It is more expensive than diamond - a classy emerald. And Serega was a perfect frame. They were such a pair. That is why they were so loved. They were loved, not only in the US, but Canada as well.

TV does not show the speed because of the camera movement. But when you sit at a rink you see that one pair flies and another crawls. They do the same elements. CSKA’s pairs were flying on ice. Four steps and they are at the other end of the rink. You said something about dancing; there is no way Katia could choose dancing instead of skating which gives you a sensation of flight. Ice gives you a sensation of flight. Why did she want to jump with a parachute? To feel an even greater flight sensation. And they fly now, and they ended up together with Iliusha. Iliuha is more organized than Grinia (Sergei) but their personalities are of Russian guys, our boys. How could she possibly choose an American?

Malakhov: Alexander how is it for a girl partner to be left without a partner?
Gorelik: The whole story of Gordeeva and Grinkov could make a huge book. You can make a film series about them. It all happened before my eyes. Serega Grinkov was an ordinary Soviet boy, who did not study very well in school, let’s be honest he was a slacker. Katia, on the other hand was a very disciplined girl. I am a friend of her parents. And when her father came to me and asked whether to put her into a ballet school, I asked Katia what she wants to do. She clang to me and said: "I want to skate so much, so much, please don’t let my dad send me to the ballet school"
Katia: Please, tell my dad, that I don’t want to...
Gorelik: It has so happened that by the time Serezha Grinkov was ready, he was a great singles skater. His long programs were beautiful. We put them in a pair. The pair is a very complex mechanism. Plus our coach was Stanislav Alekseevich Zhuk. It was even more difficult because he was a very demanding coach. We had a training session at 7 in the morning before that at 6:20 we were obligated to come for a warm-up. And then there are parents. I am convinced that there are three or four kinds of parents. Parents who do not interfere, Gordeevs are like that. Sometimes Katia’s mom spied behind a curtain, we used to have a curtain at the rink. And of course, as the chief of school, I asked her name when passing by: "Your name." She answered: "Gordeeva". Well, I do not spy on your work; I do not come to your work place and look what you are doing in there. The second kind of parents is those who know everything and tell the coach how to coach. They come to me and tell me that the coach is not doing it right, that they are not satisfied and they are leaving. Kulik’s parents are like that.
Ilia: Well, they did not coach, but yes, they said that they were leaving.
Gorelik: Iliusha, you were a child and your parents came to me without you present. They told me that I do not coach the right way that Iliusha is very talented. I told them "For God's sake, I am not stopping anyone, leave." They have left and went to "Spartak" to Kudriavtsev. Ilia became an Olympic Champion. I am convinced that CSKA School made it happen. Marina Cherkasova has a different story. Masha Butyrskaya also comes from CSKA.
Butyrskaya: Yes and Alexander Gorelik had me expelled. He told me that I do not show enough potential. And I am grateful for that. It was a stepping stone in my life. If you didn’t expel me, maybe I would not make it.
Gorelik: I did not expel her. She was training in Zhuk’s group.
Butyrskaya: Well, no.
Gorelik: Why "no"? Weren’t you skating in Lena Vodorezova’s group?
Butyrskaya: No. Lena had a maternity leave. I was sent to Vasilkevich. And she has expelled me.
Gorelik: So, who was it me or Vasilkevich?

Malakhov: She was only 16 when Ronald Reagan said, that she was his favorite figure skater. What happened when she was tested by fame? People said about young Katia Gordeeva, that she is fragile, graceful and unique as a snowflake, but a snowflake made of steel. Where does she get so much persistence, resourcefulness and perseverance from? Please, welcome Sergei Grinkov’s childhood friend and classmate, Vladimir Demidov.
Katia: My would-be fiancé (chuckles).
Malakhov: You went to sports school together.
Demidov: Yes.
Malakhov: Were you a figure skater?
Demidov: No, I was a hockey player.
Malakhov: And what did hockey players think of figure skaters?
Demidov: Well, everyone knows that hockey is the best sport of all skating sports. Only real men play hockey. So we had a little bit of scornful attitude towards figure skating.
Malakhov: So how did it happen that hockey players have accepted a figure skater Grinkov?
Demidov: Well, Serezha was a chap with a character and he never conceded to anybody in a conversation, or anywhere. It revealed itself in different situations.
Malakhov: You witnessed his pairing up with Katia.
Demidov: What can I say? Yes, we witnessed it. We chuckled that he got a puny girl for a partner. Sometimes during a practice we saw Katia fall on a jump and he winked at us as if saying:"that’s fine, she’ll learn some day". That’s how it was.
Malakhov: And what was the story with the bottles?
Demidov: Well, there was one story after which we really accepted Serezha to our gang. We have brought a bottle of beer to school once. And before a class started, we’ve drunk that bottle of beer. And the teacher came in. So, we hid the bottle outside, on a window sill of the third floor. When the class started, the wind picked up and knocked the bottle down. Downstairs, the principal saw it and came up in about 10 minutes. And with the public prosecutor's face she declared that the bottle dropped on a head of a schoolmate, the schoolmate died and the police is about to come. She demanded us to confess who did it. Everyone turned pale; they didn’t understand what was going on. A little boy entered, probably from a third grade, and he winked at as to let us know, that nobody died. When the principal understood, that hockey players won’t confess, she appealed to Serezha. She said: "Hockey players are hooligans, but you, Sergei, are in a noble kind of sport. You tell me who threw out the bottle." And then she tried to get it out of him for the rest of the class. But Sergei said nothing about anybody. He gained our respect after that.
Malakhov: Did Alexander Gorelik expel you from school? He does it to everybody at that school.
Gorelik: When I came to school, there were Valentina Vladimirovna, the principal and them.
Demidov: Erastova (principal’s last name).
Gorelik: Yes. They were sitting there. I’m sure there was more than one bottle of beer. I am 100 percent sure.
Demidov: Only one dropped out.
Gorelik: It happened only once...
Katia: Yes.
Gorelik: Childhood. It was Serezha’s self-affirmation. We didn’t have any complaints about him.
Katia: He was serious about training, almost always.

Malakhov: Well and you, according to our information agencies, were the perfect schoolgirl. Your handwriting looked like calligraphy. Your notebooks were organized. Your first teacher - Tatyana Danilovna Vorobieva - always believed that you will become an Olympic Champion. Today, she is with us in the studio. Good evening.
Katia had an athlete’s character from a very young age?
Vorobiova: I want to let you know that Katia was my first student, Iliusha Kulik too and Marina Cherkasova. What can I tell about Katia? She was always, Katia, remember? When we had marching and singing shows, who was the leader? Katia. Dare not to listen to her. All boys would quickly align themselves into a formation. She has a ringing voice. Start the song. I still have a lot of photos where you are wearing a forage cap and have huge bows. We went to a palace of young pioneers, performed and sang everywhere. Ilia, by the way, was participating as well. I always called him Pavlik Morozov or Timur (These are young pioneer heroes, one is the real, the other one is a fictional character from a popular soviet children’s book – I.S.).
Malakhov: Why Pavlik Morozov, was Ilia a stooge?
Vorobiova: At that time he was a young pioneer-hero, we all were pioneers. Not anymore. No, he did not stooge, to the contrary his opinion always counted. If there was a conflict in the class Ilia’s word was the last one. And Katia… Katia, you were...
Katia: I was always a "go to" person as well.
Vorobiova: You too were always blunt. And what a schoolgirl she was. Already seriously engaged in sports, she would run to school in her trainers straight to the bathroom to change into school uniform. She comes to take a quiz on World Art Culture or music. I tell her: "Katyusha, it’s ok for you not to take the quiz; you have a competition coming up." And she says: "No, I am a schoolgirl, thus I will take the quiz."
Cheskidov: Here is an example from Serega’s childhood. Katia walks and carries her uniform and drags the trunk to the bus, Serega walks with his handbag. I tell Serega that she is small he should help his partner. We always envied pair skaters. At the training camp the male pair skaters were keeping an eye on what girl pair skaters ate because they had to lift them up. And we, singles skaters, looked at pair skaters, while they consumed double portions of food, for themselves and for their partners. Serega was doing it too. But the most amusing thing happened when they already were champions. I was a commentator for Exhibitions. And there always were huge amounts of flowers. Huge. I do not know anyone who got as many flowers as they did.
Gorelik: When they were skating, there were really strong pairs like Valova-Vasiliev - Olympic Champions, Selezneva - Makarov, Mishkutenok - Dmitriev. And suddenly they rushed in. This was 1988, Katia was 16-17 and Serezha was 20. And for 3-4 years and two Olympics they were on top. Katia gave birth to Dasha. It is priceless to come back to big sport, to get into top condition, to become an Olympic Champion.

Malakhov: Let me introduce one more guest, two-time Olympic silver medalist, Oleg Ovsyannikov. He insists that it was impossible not to fall in love with Katia. You were studying together?
Ovsyannikov: We began together with Katia. There were 50 of us at CSKA. And only two of us became athletes. I’d say it was survival. But I chose ice dancing, while she became a pair skater.
Malakhov: Well, did you like Katia then?
Ovsyannikov: Well, what girls do you like at the age of five? It was very difficult because of the huge competition we had at CSKA. We were often on the verge of being expelled. I heard that you were talking about people, who got expelled. I was one of those on the verge to be expelled. We had a few interesting stories as well. Katia, maybe you will remember this one. Do you remember how we became Komsomol (Communist Union of Youth) members?
Katia: Not really, tell me.
Ovsyannikov: Great. Once at school, I got a phone call from CSKA. Ovsyannikov needs to come by to CSKA’s profkom office, or what ever it was called, ASAP. It so happened that we were not allowed to travel outside the country. I had to go to Australia for Junior Championships; Katia had to go to some other capitalist country but we were not Komsomol members yet.
Katia: Yes, I remember something like that.
Ovsyannikov: We came by, but the office was closed. We were told that we should do it fast, before Tretiak comes. Because if he comes, he’ll make us recite all the Komsomol rules. Katia and I have never read those rules. And then Serezha Grinkov says:"What are we waiting for? I am skating with this one and I know that one. Let’s just have them pay the member’s fee and they are accepted. And that’s it."
Katia: I remember I paid two kopecks.
Ovsyannikov: And so we became Komsomol members in two minutes.
Katia: But I don’t remember how we "unbecame" Komsomol members.
Ovsyannikov: Someone "unbecame" us.

Malakhov: Lena, do you think love is helpful on ice or not?
Vodorezova: probably, by looking at Sergei and Katia it seems that it only helps.
Katia: Of course, it helps! Love always helps!!! (shouts)
Vodorezova: I simply remember that they already were so beautiful and suited each other so well when they were first paired up. Usually it takes a while for a pair to form. Sometimes, a pair skates for 2 years and then a girl starts to grow and outgrows her partner. Everybody is in shock and starts looking for another girl. This pair was already harmonious from the beginning. It means that they started skating right away... For how many years did you skate together, Katyush?
Katia: 15 years.
Vodorezova: Can you even imagine 15 years? And even then they already were so beautiful that it was impossible to take your eyes off of them. Katia was so independent, she was fanatical. Sergei became more disciplined later because of Katia. Our sport is very subjective. I heard something from judges once; I have not heard anything like that ever since. They said: "It is fine with us if Gordeeva and Grinkov will just skate."
Cheskidov: I want to add that pair figure skating is the most difficult discipline in skating. I talk about it when I comment the skating events and I’ll repeat myself again. Not only do they have to execute all the same elements as singles skaters, they also have to synchronize. That means partners have to adjust to each other. The most difficult part of pair skating is pair elements that demand huge physical strength and courage. Great courage.  I know how scary it is to be up high on one hand and have a huge smile on your face. We were always afraid for Katia and Marina Cherkasova. For example, we felt horror looking at Oleg Vasiliev lifting up Elena Valova, because Oleg, even though he is a great coach now, was doing the lift technically incorrectly. So we were waiting in horror would he fall or not, because he could kill her, if he did fall.

Malakhov: Have Sergei ever dropped you?
Katia: Yes, he did sometimes. It is a training process sometimes things like that happen.
Malakhov: In the book you wrote, with that kind of fall everything started with you and Sergei.
Katia: Yes, he dropped me; I had a concussion and ended up in a hospital. He got very frightened then, of course. But I got better, it’s ok. I want to talk about Marina Cherkasova. After I first saw how she skated with Sergei Shakhrai I thought to myself, pair skating it is. She was my inspiration. She was so tiny. You did a quadruple twist?
Cherkasova nods.
Katia: They were the first to do a quadruple twist. When we learned quadruple twist, I thought there are only two of us – Marinka and I. Because of you I was happy to be a pairs figure skater.
Cherkasova: Serezha was on a verge of being expelled from CSKA as well because he was an unpromising athlete. So he came to our pairs skating group. We had exercise machines, so we told him to go and work out. He looked at me with those deer-in-a-headlight eyes and asked: "What for?" I said: "Well you are in pairs now; you need to get strong and build some muscle, so you will be in great shape. And we will find a girl for you." "Just not too big"- he answered. I said: «I’m not big, so other girls should be small too." And there was also Katyusha skating; she did not jump very well because she was still a little kid. But she already was so artistic that I liked her right away. I told Serezha: "That girl is going to be yours."

And then after some competition or other I invited Katia to come to pair skating. At first she said: "No." I asked her why not, told her that we found a tall, beautiful and strong partner for her. She said: "OK then." When she first saw Sergei she said: "I won’t skate with him." Then I taught Katia how to hold hands for lifts. While showing Sergei how to lift, I accidentally lifted her myself. I was small, Katia even smaller, but Sergei looked at us and said that there is no way he will be able to do that. That was it. But after some time they adjusted to each other, started doing lifts and twists. And Katia was always telling me how difficult it all was. I told her, that it was difficult for me too. After I came back from Europeans, she gave me a hug and a kiss. After they came back from Junior Europeans with gold, I told her: "Now you have a gold medal. Keep on going and you will become a beautiful partner and have a very strong pair."

Malakhov: Please welcome a person who was very close to Sergei and to whom he trusted his secrets. This is Sergei’s sister, Natalia Grinkova. Good evening.
Natalia: Good evening.
Malakhov: Tell us, were you the first person to whom Sergei told about his feelings for Katia.
Natalia: No, it is not true. He was very secretive. There was a side to his life, where he would not let anyone in. I don’t know. He didn’t tell me.
Malakhov: So when did you find out about...
Natalia: He just let us know that he was getting married.
Malakhov: How did the parents react?
Natalia: Well parents have reacted normally because Katia and Sergei were already independent adults. And then he did not ask anyone. He just let us know that he was getting married. We had Katia’s parents at our place so we knew each other. No one objected.
Malakhov: You remember that terrible day when you have learned about...
Natalia: Yes, I remember of course, I will never forget it. We got a call late at night someone said some scary words. I could not believe it. He was so healthy, beautiful and young. The word "death" was so out of place. First thought I had, how I am going to tell mom. I decided to tell her that he became very ill and was hospitalized. Even that was already hard for her. But then she somehow realized it and asked if he died. I could not say anything. That’s how she has learned.

Malakhov: Sergei has died at 28. We have an attending physician of Grinkov and Gordeeva, Sergei Arkhipov. It turns out that in America Sergei did not get proper care?
Arkhipov: I cannot say it with such conviction. The matter is that athletes know perfectly well that during the Soviet period all of them passed the profound medical inspection, when athlete’s organs and systems were investigated. Many things can be seen at a functional level. Sometimes those things can be easily or not so easily corrected so people continue on with their sport. Maybe we could see it a little bit earlier, if it was in Moscow at CSKA. And, probably, something could be done. But it is a big if. Debates only cause more grief.
Malakhov: Sergei Grinkov’s first teacher, Ekaterina Goltsman with us in the studio. You kept in touch with Sergei's mom after his death, what did she tell you?
Goltsman: Mother was worrying very much. She used to come to visit us for three or four years. She told us he was concerned about his health he did not feel well. One summer he said that he did not feel well. That was our conversation.
Malakhov: Did you have any mystical signs telling you that it can end badly?
Katia: No there was nothing like that. As I have already said he complained about his back. It is true; we did not have annual doctor check-ups. We did not have that in America. We would not go for check-ups for years. Although before that, we had prophylactic medical examination twice a year. But there was nothing mystical.
Malakhov: I think on the day of death, a car mirror has broken?
Natalia: I remember you telling me that.
Katia: If you mean those mystical things, then yes, really, the mirror was broken. In the car. Someone broke it.
Malakhov: And your last skating program was "Requiem"
Katia: Yes, it was.
Malakhov: Do you visit Sergei's grave often?
Natalia: I visit. A few years ago I was visiting more often, not as often now. But I do visit.
Malakhov: What is the story about grave being defaced once?
Natalia: Yes. In the beginning the monument was very well conceived. There was an arch and a crystal inside. It was Katia’s idea. It was very beautiful on a sunny day, when the sunlight shined on the crystal it would sparkle and glisten. It symbolized ice. At first, I got a phone call from the cemetery informing me that someone broke and removed the crystal. But the crystal was still recoverable. So we recovered and put it back into place. And after a while someone did it again. Now, the grave looks faceless.

Malakhov: Gordeeva and Grinkov owe their success to the ingenious coach, Stanislav Zhuk. Please, welcome a documentary director who thinks that this pair has played a fatal role in coach’s destiny. Sergei Shachin.
You were one of the last to talk to Stanislav Alekseevich.  What did he say about his favorite students?
Shachin: Zhuk loved this pair very much. When he was not allowed to work with this pair, he weakened quite a bit. I think that for him they were his last students. He felt that they were his last students he could make great who will prolong his figure skating career. Having lost them, he lost his drive that kept him on the surface.
Malakhov: Nina Valentinovna, why do you think Zhuk was not allowed to work with Gordeeva and Grinkov further?
Zhuk: I know that for a long time someone was trying to persuade them to change their coach, maybe Katia would confirm or deny that. Stanislav had told me that they did not want to leave him, but there was some kind of a situation, I won’t talk about it, that forced them to leave.
Malakhov: Were you forced to leave, Katia?
Katia: No, nobody forced us to leave. It was Sergei’s and mine mutual decision to leave to Stanislav Leonovich. He was a young coach. We liked to be coached by Stanislav Zhuk. There has simply come such a time when we could not stay with him any more.
Malakhov: So it turns out, be that sooner or later, an athlete faces a choice to move on and tell a person who has sacrificed all of his energy, best years of his life for him, that he has to go forward for the sake of greater victories.
Katia: Yes. By the way, it is a coach’s fate; that’s what happens. Maybe they put everything into an athlete, but as it happens in life, at a certain moment it becomes necessary to move to another coach. It is an athlete’s decision or his parents’ decision. It doesn’t matter. It is that kind of a situation. It is the same as when people who live together decide to divorce. Nobody forces them to do it. They made a decision for themselves. It is the same situation. These are human relationships.

Malakhov: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Katia: I don’t know.
Cherkasova: Be a mom, right Katyusha? A good mom.
Katia: A mom, in ten years I might have grandchildren. My eldest daughter is 15 years-old already.
Malakhov: Many figure skaters star in movies; some even sing in Russia, some become coaches. Don’t you plan anything like that?
Katia: In ten years I would love to be a coach. A mom. I do not like to plan very much ahead. Probably, it will be somehow related to figure skating.
Cherkasova: She will skate and make us happy for a while.
Vodorezova: She is a very unique woman. Not only does she have two charming children, she continues to skate. I am very grateful to her for that. She brings people joy.
Gorelik: I wish people could see how Dasha and Lizka skate. It is fantastic.
Malakhov: So maybe you will prepare them for the Olympics in Sochi?
Gorelik: I’m sure she is going to be ready.
Vodorezova: Liza prepares very professionally, I can tell you as a professional coach. Her dad actively participates and her mom helps him. We will wait.
Cheskidov: Lenohka, I loved Ilia Kulik as an amateur skater. He was skating and I would catch myself counting element approaches and rhythm. This is the person who can teach how to jump and spin. He will make an excellent singles coach.
Malakhov: So the 2014 Olympics in Sochi are ours.
Ilia: It is ours for sure, but Liza won’t be ready by then, yet.
Malakhov: Are you hinting at 2018 Olympics?
Ilia: Perhaps, that’s more likely.
Malakhov: You may join Katia. And our show is coming to an end.
The heroine of our program, Katia Gordeeva, has proved that it is possible to be happy even if destiny turns to you with the other side of a medal.
It was the "Let Them Talk" show. Good-bye.

Translation © gordeeva.com.