Petrova / Tikhonov interview
I don't know if this has been posted yet. There's an interview at novye izvestija with Maria and Alexej with the title:
Чемпионы мира по фигурному катанию Мария Петрова и Алексей Тихонов (World figure skating champions Maria Petrova and Alexej Tichonov)
«Свадьбу отложили на год, чтобы еще покататься» ("We postponed the marriage for one year, to go on skating" rough translation by me... sorry for that...)
They talk about the last world championships, about their participation in the tv show and about a possible marriage next year.
Last edited by IS79; 01-10-2007 at 05:52 PM.
Reason: edited to translate the title...
I know it's already two months old, but I just found it and didn't know if anybody has posted it before.
I wish Maria and Alexei all happines -- but could someone please translate the entire interview?
World Figure Skating Champions Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov
“We’ve postponed the wedding for a year to skate”
This Friday in Paris will see the fourth Grand Prix event – “Trophee Eric Bompard”; it will be the official season opener for the Russian team veterans, World pair skating champions Maria PETROVA and Alexei TIKHONOV. They have an interesting athletic fate. At the beginning of her career, Masha was a Junior World champion with Anton Sikhuralidze. Alexei competed, without much success, with a Japanese skater for the Country of the rising sun. Having paired up, Petrova and Tikhonov became World champions in a year, and remained within reach of gold medals for the next six years. The past Olympic year was supposed to be the last one in their complicated career, but just before the start of the new seasons the skaters shocked everyone by deciding to stay. Masha and Lesha talked about their reasons for this move with “Novye Izvestija”.
“As I know, it took you a long time to decide whether you should stay or go. Who convinced you?”
A.T.: “Normally, I always urged Masha to skate another year. Here, though, everything just happened. I awaited Masha’s decision, didn’t pres here, and just thought that if she doesn’t want to, that’s OK. We’ll do something else. However, turns out that thinking about it quite apart, we both made the decision to stay.”
M.P: “A lot of people asked us to stay. Russian skating federation did a lot of convincing. They said we were the only ones they could rely on this season. They asked us to at least stay for the Grand Prix series, given that the Finals will take place in Saint Petersburg, and how can you have a Petersburg final without a Russian sports pair? It’s very important for the federation. However, the last word was ours. A lot played into this. We wanted to have some more fun for ourselves and our loved ones. Also, the World championships will be in Tokyo, where we’re always well received. And the Grand Prix final, of course, is in Peter.”
“At the last World championships in Calgary, which was supposed to be your last, you were openly robbed. Tatiana Tarasova said at the time that’s she was hurt that the Russian delegation chose not to fight for Masha and Lesha. Truthfully, they never fought for you. Did the federation president Valentin Piseev promise his support as he convincing you to stay?”
M.P: “Yes, I hope they’ll help us. Russia has to show that we didn’t stay for naught. If not – well we’ll just skate for ourselves. We have our viewers to skate for as well. They value us.”
A.T.: “Actually, Valentin Nikolaevich always liked us. It just turned out that even when we skated our best – in Calgary we were head and shoulders above everyone else – we only got the third, or the honorary place. Yet that medal is still very expensive, it is worth real “gold”.”
“You didn’t make any mistakes, while both Chinese teams had falls…”
A.T.: “It’s politics. Just three weeks prior, Russia won three out of four possible gold medals at Turin Olympics. That could have been four. Just so Russia didn’t get it all in pair skating, this time they didn’t give us anything. China indeed now has very strong pair skating, so why shouldn’t they get a bit of help? In this situation, we were the victims. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the first time.”
“What, then, is the advantage of the new judging system that was supposed to prevent exactly this?”
M.P.: “There are no advantages. Now we’re used to it, but at first we just didn’t understand why things happened a certain way. For example, we’d look at the print outs, and see that the difficulty levels of elements does not correspond to what’s written there. That made us angry. Now, we’re always waiting for a trap as we prepare for competitions. Even when we know that we have fourth level elements, we don’t get surprised when judges mark them as second or third. It’s all unpredictable. In Calgary, we knew that we performed our programs not just cleanly, but perfectly. Our competitors fell. When they were still marked higher, that just didn’t jell for us. Even as we stood on the podium, the people who were giving out the prizes were saying that we should have been first, but that it just didn’t happen that way. The judges, you see, didn’t expect you to skate that well. How many times has it happened that we skate well when no one expects it?”
A.T.: “Even the Chinese, not the ones that competed in Calgary, but Turin bronze medalists, the famous Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao, came up to us and said – guys, to us you are the champions. It meant a lot to me… You know, that moment when we didn’t receive our “gold” likely played a part in our decision to stay. Had we won, I don’t thing we’d come back. What for?”
“Do you realize you difficult a problem you’ve made for yourselves? What do you expect from this season?”
A.T.: “Of course, it will rankle if we can’t perform the way we did in Calgary again. On the other hand, we can’t we? When I saw Artur Dmitriev at his second Olympics at 31, I thought – God, he’s the oldest! That was such a long time ago. Now, I skate at 35, and I’m just getting better. Age is not that important anymore. We’ve stayed because we have the energy for it.”
“What are your secret weapons?”
A.T.: “First of all, past experience. You already know how you can and should win. Secondly, something inside us has changed for the better. We’ve stepped onto a new platform, one that has more space for creativity, more understanding of what’s happening. Thirdly, we’ll try to create a program that won’t just be a set of required elements, but tell a story, even though the new rules make this difficult. Last but not least is the help and support of the federation. This, though, will only come through if we really skate well. For now, we – knock on wood – are doing well. So many people want to help us! Tatiana Anatolievna Tarasova and Sasha Zhulin have been asking when we’ll show our programs. The only downside is that we don’t have time for proper training. We’ve lingered in the “Stars on Ice” project, we thought we’d be out much earlier. On the other hand, this lack of time has made us more disciplined. We come to Peter, and the do exactly what we planned. Extra discussions like we used to have are out. I guess we’re gamblers at heart. Just a few days ago, Masha told me she’d be bored with just training each day, doing nothing but the sport”.
M.P.: “Everyone is astonished at how I opened up in this TV project, but it wasn’t a surprise for Alexei or me. However, if others think I changed so much, it’s a great boost to our career. Finally, the fans and the judges saw us from a different side. I hope they’ll see us differently at competitions as well. The whole world is watching this project, and I’m sure it will help us. Taking part in the “Stars” has given us a lot of new positive emotions that I hope will be reflected in our competitive programs. It won’t be the elements we do on Channel one, but it will be the same attitude. Everyone will notice.”
“Alexei, Masha’s partner Igor Bootman at least did hockey. Is it true that your Anya Bolshova has never been on skates prior to the show?”
A.T.: “When she first put on skates in July, I was surprised that Ilya Averbukh didn’t tell her, “Listen , Bolshova, go back to your Lenkom, you’re doing quite well there…” It was awful. Yet Ilya could see that she will learn. I am amazed at how quickly she learns. Can you imagine what it’s like for a person to go on a lift, being two meters of the ice, for someone who has never been on ice before? She managed to do this. Here’s another reason the project is interesting and useful for me. Sometimes, Anya says, “I don’t understand how to do this. Explain it again”. Then I try to do it so that she understands. This way, she’s teaching me how to be a coach. That’s very welcomed, since Masha and I have firmly decided to dedicate ourselves to coaching in our native Peter after we end our career.
“In you opinion, what do the stars get out of this?”
A.T.: “They learn to concentrate at a specific moment in time. Even thought any profession, including acting and music has this, this is an incredible experience for them. Also, any sport is beautiful, and it makes the person more beautiful. Take Igor Bootman – he lost five kilograms skating with Mshka. Anka is toning up as well. They’re trying to translate the emotions they normally express on stage onto the ice… These are very difference sensations, which I think are quite important to them as well.”
“You’ve mentioned your post-sport future; what about you long-awaited wedding with Masha?”
A.T.: “Before, Mashka wanted a real big wedding, but me… It’s just not a big deal for men, especially since we’re already together. Now, I ask her – what kind of wedding would you like? She just says – if we invite everyone, that’s just so many people, it will be like a workday. Now, she too recognizes that a fancy party is not what matters. We want a quite wedding. We just want friends and relatives around, so we don’t have to worry about impressions, but can just spend time with our loved ones. Though it turns out that there are at least fifty friends that we’d like to see. Bottom line, we decided to postpone this for a year, skate some more, and have more time to prepare.”
Thanks for the translation!