Elena Liashenko-Eremenko Interview
Maureen: For those who'll skip the article, she's pregnant and coaching kids, married to Andrei Eremenko (brother of Galina Maniachenko-Eremenko's husband). It's personal, but she's quite open and a good conversationalist, IMO.
Q. Re: Competing so long
"Even though my sport got a lot younger, I don't think there is a real censure on age. I always skated with pleasure and insiration. I think I was lucky in life to do what I love. I gave so many years to elite sport and don't regret it a bit. I didn't have to force myself."
Q. After last competition - what have you done?
"Turin was the last competition, but I did participate in Ilya Averbukh's great show. It was wonderful."
Q. re: meeting brothers-husbands
"Galya met hers first. Then Andrei came to the rink, where he saw me. Basically, we liked each other right away. Maybe from first sight."
Q: Yulia Lavrenchuk, quit because of weight problems?
"Yulia really quit early because of weight problems, but because she was underweight, not overweight. She weighed so little that she couldn't handle the huge demands of our sport."
Q. Lot of figure skaters struggle with extra weight. YOu?
"It's not just figure skaters, but all female athletes. Few people have been privileged by nature to eat everything and not gain a gram. As for me, i can't say that I'm terribly strict with myself. But I try not to eat before going to bed, to eat more vegetables and fruits and of course to get on the scale regularly. It helps to maintain form. In short, I probably haven't tol dyou anything that everybody who tries to stay in shape doesn't already know."
"I'm very calm about changes in appearances. It's natural after all. I know that women with more fragile bone structures, like myself, often gain a lot more weight than larger woemn. The Ukrainian version of "SOI" is postponed for organizational reasons, so it will help me to have the baby calmly, get back in shape and continue my life in skating."
Q. Your first marriage didn't work out. Is it because it's hard for female athletes to keep a family?
(Maureen: Dang, that is a question!)
"As they now say, my first marriage was "common-law" and it wasn't so short-lived - 6 years."
Q. Do you know they are calling all marriages that aren't in church "common-law"?
"Well, then my current marriage is totally legitimate, because Andrei and I married in church. As for my first spouse, I can say the answer is banal - irreconcilable differences of character/personality.
As for whether it's hard for female athletes to hold a family together... maybe 2 athletes should get along great, just as 2 artists should, for example. Of course, it's great that Andrei and I are both from the sorts world. Sometimes before an important competition, he wants to be alone. I understand it perfectly and try not to bother him."
Q. What changed after you found out you were pregnant?
"The thing is we planned it, everything was very conscious. maybe for women who are surprised there are a lot of life changes. As much as I pay attention to myself, I haven't noticed any changes. Probably this will happen after the birth."
Q. Do yo plan to continue coaching children or do you see yourself doing something else?
"Naturally, I'll continue with my beloved profession - training children. I finished my first year as a coach, and gathered a group practically from nothing. It is hard to be on the ice from morning til evening, but I don't regret choosing this job. You just can't imagine what a pleasure it is to work with kids and transfer your experience and skills to children.
"In general, there are no easy professions. Could a journalist or computer programmist's job be easier than mine? of course not. I don't seek easy paths, and I don't see myself as any other kind of person*. At least not for now. " (*maureen: She uses the term "ipostas", which is the term used to describe the three persons of the Triune God in Orthodox theological language, so not the easiest thing to translate).
Q. You're considered a lyrical skater, this is probably your preference in art, musci, film, etc....
"Of course, it's true that soem things developed in me naturally, but I was also trained by experienced teachers - coach Marina Amirkhanova and choreographer Irina Chubaretz. I love our films, I mean by that old nice Soviet ones, especially melodramas. So there, you're right. Music - again you're right, I prefer classical, but I'm also on good terms with contemporary music. As for art, it all depends on my internal state. Sometimes I really feel the abstractionist pieces and am bored to tears by the classical. It's hard to say for sure in this field."
Re: costumes and clothes
"My main principle when it comes to clothes is comfort. And of course, time and place. If I go out to walk the dog, obviously I'm not going to pick out jewelry and wear high heels. In the same way, I'm happy to wear a romantic outfit for a party. I love all my skating cstumes adn chrish them. Though i can't use a sweing machine, in old times when it was toughter to make costumes, I made them by hand... Now everything is available, but before there was a sequin deficit. In general, if necessary, I can sew something, fix it and if there's no time to run to the seamstress then I'll sit down and do it myself."
Re: Strong character
"I try to be a strong woman. Although I don't raise the bar too high or it could get extreme. But family life, well, is full of tons of compromises.