Original - somewhat odd formatting preserves the original.
”Maria’s health is more important to us”
Text by Konstantin Bjalski (St. Petersburg)
World champion and two time European champion Alexei Tikhonov talked to the “Gazeta.ru” correspondent about the reasons he and Maria Petrova a skipping Russian figure skating Nationals at Mytishi. He denies the rumors of them finally and unequivocally leaving eligible sport.
As everyone knows, Russian figure skating Nationals are thee to select a national team. That’s why the absence of the current pair skating leaders Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov from Mytishi has raised so many questions.
To get proper answers, “Gazeta.Ru” correspondent has called Alexei in Saint Petersburg.
”Masha is experiencing some serious health problems. We decided against taking a risk; we’d rather prepare for competitions down the road.”
”Therefore, all the talk of you ending your eligible career has nothing to do with reality?”
“Nothing at all”.
”Have you coordinated your absence from the Nationals with the federation leadership?”
”They insisted we skate and Mytishi, but Maria’s health is far more important to me.”
”Are you still counting on making the national team, and competing at Europeans in Warsaw and Worlds in Tokyo?”
”Masha and I will try to prepare well for both Europeans and Worlds. Whether or not we will end up competing there is not up to us.”
”Prior to this season you were promised a stipend as one gets in an Olympic seasons…”
“Those promises came from federation leadership, but they can do almost nothing.
Olympic support fund is the one that decides whom they should support financially. So, as it turns out, the promises were quite empty.
”Do you have the necessary financial conditions in your native Saint Petersburg?”
“In some ways, yes. The medical clinical that sponsors the city’s figure skating federations has provided for Maria’s medical treatment. We haven’t asked for anything else. We have long become accustomed to solving problems ourselves.”
”Despite your partner’s health problems, you took part in gala concerts in Moscow at the end of December. Is that because you couldn’t get out of your TV contracts?”
“The strain of exhibition skating is negligible compared to competitions. It’s two entirely different things.”
”Do you think you should have withdrawn from Grand Prix Final in Saint Petersburg?”
“I do not consider our performance shameful. If Masha and I had a chance to do it over, we wouldn’t change a thing. We would not have declined the TV project “Stars on ice”, and we would not have withdrawn from Grand Prix Final. Especially since this year in Saint Petersburg two dance teams and we were the only Russian representatives. Besides, we could have skated well. It just ended up being as it was.”
January 5, 2007 20:18