Here is an interview with Berezhnaja (Thanks Mikhail1010). Warning – the interviewer is not, I think, the smartest one out there. Or the least annoying.
“Crème de” Lena Having left competitive sport, Berezhnaja keeps winning. Elena Berezhnaja, the pride and joy of our figure skating, has “retired”. The blond diva no longer competes, but has instead created “Ice Symphony”, where she even managed to put Nikolai Baskov on ice.
Whose idea was it to put Nikolai Baskov on the ice?
Kolya wanted it himself, he skated as a kid. Baskov said right a way, “Give me skates!” He inspired some confidence at rehearsals, though it was rather scary to see him dash from one side to the other. Then at the show, he just fell flat – really funny. Actually, it was funny for everyone except for the singer. I don’t envy him – it must have hurt!
Have you decided what you’ll do as a “civilian”? Will you coach?
Oh, I have lots of plans. I haven’t made a final choice yet. Anton and I will skate for another year or so, and then I’ll see. We just did the ice show, we enjoy our work. That’s because we don’t have the constant exhausting presentations and endless tours.
Every athlete has to leave at some point. How difficult was the decision for you?
In general, we have everything. We can work if we want to. We perform a few times a month. So the athletic drive and passion haven’t gone away, sometimes it’s even tiring. If you mean medals and cups – we’ve won everything there is. There are no other prizes.
Yet four years ago, you were basically robbed at the Olympics. Did it hurt to give up the “gold”.
It was unprecedented. Sure it hurt. I try not to think of it. In a way, it even became our advertisement campaign. Olympics always mean politics. It’s a war of the worlds. Every country grabs the medals any way it can.
You’ve had another ordeal in your life – the injury that could have left you disabled. They say even your movement coordination was damaged…
The body was actually OK. It was more difficult to get the speech back. I didn’t know how to speak. I spend a month at the hospital. It was in Latvia, and thanks to Tamara Nikolaevna Moskvina who managed to get the all the visas, my mom could come. Then, a few days before I was released, Anton arrived as well.
I understand your former partner stopped talking to you?
Rather, I stopped talking to him. There came a time to say “no”. Anton and I knew each other a long time, we shared the ice. We started getting closer a half year before my injury.
Is it then that you fell in love with Saint Petersburg, and decided to live and work here?
I can’t say I fell in love with the city. I wasn’t very excited. That’s not what I was thinking about. Rather, I chose to stay with the people I had there.
Are you best friends all athletes?
I have about five really close friends, and they are from all walks of life. One is a mother of three, another is an architectural designer, a third is a young student. Plus, there are two girls from the movies – an area that interests me, but is quire unknown. It’s a very different life, with its distinct laws.
Are you brutal with the guys? I bet you like yelling that “all men are scum”.
Occasionally. They’re good, but only up to a point. They’re in their own worlds. I’m rather string with men. If I let someone get close, my girlfriends always voice their opinion. If they all categorically hate him, I start thinking… Though, obviously, I’ll always decide myself. I’ll keep it going as long as I want it.
Rumor has it you watch “Sex and the City”?
Yes, I even watched it in America. It’s a funny, entertaining, with a lot of jokes and humor. It shows many things I deal with in my life. It’s similar to how I hang out and to about guys with my girlfriends.
Which of the “Sex and he City characters do you most identify with?”
The beauty is that they are so different. Each one has a bit of me. The girls and I tried to see ourselves in those roles. Of course, Samantha, Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte are all interesting bright people. We are also bright, but very different. Bottom line, turns out none of us resemble any of them.
Imagine you are at a sale of the clothing of the series characters. What would you buy?
Probably an accessory. A handbag perhaps.
The “Sex” characters are always dieting. Do you have any weight problems?
We all gain weight and loose it. I gain weight during birthdays or holidays. Everyone wants to see you, asks you to come over. I try not to eat much at night. During training season, it’s all planned out and easy to maintain. While at home, you can’t help but eat too much.
Do you prefer active or passive relaxation?
I get over the “passive” part rather quickly. In June, the gang and I went to Turkey; while there, we did nothing all day. Just sunbathed, ate, slept, or would take an occasional walk. I desperately want to decorate my apartment. Not everything there is perfect yet. The things lie there, waiting their turn. It’s useless to fill the frige, no one will eat from there anyway. All I buy is coffee and milk. I love coffee. I can’t start my day without it.
I always thought the female athletes were all masculine, on the inside if not on the outside. Are you an exception?
I have natural femininity. Perhaps I am a bit of a tomboy as well. Could bungy jump any time. There was a time I’d do such “heroics” every day. Now, I think – why? Five years ago, it was late in the season, and we came to Moscow. We had a few free hours, and my friends “walked” me. We went to the Gorky Park, and there I was a bungy set up. “Perhaps not?” my pal asked with hope. How can I not go if it’s right there?! The guy first jumped himself, then let me to do. When we were going up to the top, I suddenly got all shaky. I just grabbed onto something, and said, “Wait!” you see all of Moscow as on a hand, there is a lake down there. I still had to got up onto a tiny platform. It was scary! I still have one crazy dream – to jump with a parachute. Have to train the will!
One magazine called you a “society lioness”. Do you agree?
Not really. I was once in a fashion show in Moscow. Anton was there, as well some actrors. And – there – a girl walks the runway – Lena Berezhnaja. It was just a nice crowd there. Not just the models, but also the actors.
I understand you’re very much interested in the world of cinema.
Yes, it’s a new hobby. During trips, I film our life on a camera, and then do a small movie to give to friends. I like it a lot. Coming soon – a blockbuster about our “Ice Symphony”.
Would you like to be in the movies yourself?
I’d like to try. Though I think you have to be born with it. I could easily be in clips. Or in an transitory role. As Eldar Ryazanov (famous Russian film director) said, it’s important to make a beautiful entry… and leave. I could probably play a bum. I probably couldn’t handle a big dramatic role. I like filming better. I also want to get another education. Not to come study for a few month and leave. For real this time.
Have you met any movie stars.
I’ve wanted to talk to many actors. For the most part I’ve succeeded. I’ve become friends with Domotarov, with Pevtsov. They’re cool. They know their worth, but they don’t show it off. I’ve recently gotten to know Gosha Kutsenko. Now he’s “one of us”! I am a friend who’s a true theater fan. She gets me behind the scenes. She knows everyone – Bluev, Kharatjan, Karachentsova.
How do you determine one someone is “one of us”? Do you see it in the eyes, or how?
I like normal people. If I don’t like something, I close up and stay quiet. If I feet comfortable, though, I open up. I am very happy to have gotten to know Katya Gordeeva. She spent half the tour with us, and we became friend. To me, Katya is a role model of feminine beauty, charm, and faithfulness.
And they say the women’s friendship doesn’t exist!
I certainly couldn’t agree with that! I have friends that I would do anything for. In any situation.
Interview by Natalya Chernyx
“Moskovsky Komsomoletz” newspaper in Petersburg #32/61 from August 10, 2005