Divis! (Look!) 2006

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photoThe Host: Ekaterina Gordeeva had danced in a children’s group “Kalinka” since she was 3. Her father, a dancer for the Igor Moiseev dance company, wanted his daughter to become a ballet dancer. But the girl intentionally failed the entrance exams to the Bolshoi Theatre school. And in due course, one more student appeared at the CSKA figure skating school. Little Katia had to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to practice. So she did saying: "It is my job." The story by Pavlo Melnik.

Reporter: The world has slipped on this tragedy. Skating of Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov admired the world over suddenly disappeared. Sergei’s heart stopped at the practice session. The ideal love castle of two skaters crumbled in an instant. Later journalists will write that "Romeo and Juliet" music from one of the skaters programs became ominous. Daughter Dasha, a diamond ring and a memoir “My Sergei” – all that was left after a magical romance.

Katia: It all happened... When something like that happens in America there is a lot of publicity and interest. My IMG agents found a writer and said: "Maybe, let’s do it..." They encouraged me, of course it was not my idea, at first I didn’t want to do it, but then they... Well, the writer was very good, he talked to me for a few months, twice a week, I was just telling him about my life.

Reporter: The first page of that poem was written when Katia was 10. That is when she started skating pairs with a 4-year older Sergei. In a few years, Gordeeva and Grinkov became favorites at major competitions. And in due course, as everyone expected, Sergei asked his ice partner to become his wife. "When everyone was dancing at our wedding, we didn’t know how to do it on the floor", recalls Katia. Didn’t know because most of their life they spent on the ice. That is where they met and said goodbye. Forever. After Sergei’s death, Gordeeva didn’t want to skate again.

Katia: Later, when I started to skate alone, it was very difficult. But I had many figure skating friends who supported me, told me that I should skate. My American agents found work for me. And that’s how it went.

Reporter: Close friends and the daughter didn’t let Ekaterina Gordeeva to crumble. She started smiling and skating, now alone. There was no talk about finding a new partner, but it was necessary to find a man’s shoulder that would support her in life. And again Gordeeva’s heart started to beat faster on the ice – a fellow skater Ilia Kulik became to her the one. They even wanted to skate together, but American agents would not let them – they wanted for Ekaterina to have an image of a single woman. But she kept that image only on the ice. Ilia Kulik became a second man who gave her a wedding ring.

Katia: Unfortunately, we didn’t have a big wedding of any kind. We’ve just signed the papers. We lived in Los Angeles at the time, and there is no Russian embassy there. So we went to San Francisco, and signed the papers at the Russian embassy. It was just the paper signing and a little ceremony.

Reporter: Ilia and Ekaterina have a 4-year-old daughter Liza. When dad was asked to compare an Olympic victory to the birth of his daughter, he said: "A victory is only one unforgettable day in my life. Liza makes every day an unforgettable one." Both Gordeeva’s daughters dream to become famous figure skaters like their mom. But if the older Dasha already learns triple jumps, younger Liza makes her first steps on ice. Dasha’s coach is Viktor Petrenko’s brother, Liza is always with her dad. Ilia helps Dasha Grinkova with her school.

Katia: He always tries to teach Dasha and Liza something new. It doesn’t matter what, for example: he taught them how to play soccer, how to ride a bicycle. He helps Daria with math because he was a good student himself.

Reporter: In the US, figure skating is only second to football. That is the only reason why we stay there, says Ekaterina. She doesn’t plan to retire any time soon because there is more money in shows then coaching. She has not decided yet what is she going to do when the colorful show lights will deem for her.

Katia: I like something related to design, maybe figure skating costume design. I am sure it will be related to figure skating. I would be interested to try something new.

I stopped smiling.
Frosty wind cools down my lips.
There is one less hope.
There will be one more song. (Anna Akhmatova)

Reporter: Despite trying so hard making Gordeeva into a tormented woman, American media did not succeed. Ekaterina is a figure skater not an actress to play such a role for life. Today, words from Anna Akhmatova's poem don't sound so sad.

Special thanks to Vaska (Irina) for the video and translation from Ukranian