95 Urmanov interview translation
Vaitsekhovskaya interview with Urmanov in 1995 after Europeans.
......He showed up at the press conference in skates, and I remember his phrase, “Sometimes I don’t have enough strength to take them off right away.”
We met the next morning. 5 Minutes earlier, I meet with the great coach Carlo Fassi, who complained that rules that prevented someone who skated such a brilliant free from being champion were wrong.
Urmanov disagreed: “In fact, it was all correct. I lost the short to all those skaters who didn’t make a single error. That means they really were better.”
Q. Upsetting? .
“Of course, I was really terribly upset, to be honest. I don’t know about what more – that I lost the chance for gold or that I made a mistake that I didn’t have to commit.”
Q. About: reducing and changing jumps?
“It varies. For example, I didn’t plan to do the quad. I knew that Zagarudniuk hadn’t managed it, and I knew that even with an ideal skate I couldn’t win. Although in warm-up everyone saw I did it and decently too. But in the short. .. You know when you skate all kinds of things go through your head.”
Q about that’s what she’s been dying to hear for years!
“Of course, you think. It happens that you remember your whole life in a few seconds. Here I mentally got stuck on the lutz. I hadn’t even started the entry, but knew something was wrong. I started to turn the whole jump in my head. And so many times that when it was time to attack and jump, I just didn’t have the strength.”
- Q. Maybe because there was nothing to lose, it went so well in the free?
-“ You don’t have to believe me, but as soon as I woke up on the free, I felt everything would be good. I didn’t just feel it, but was certain.”
Q about wanting it just to be all over.
“I had such a condition a few days before Euroepans. It was a colossal effort to make myself work and even travel. I even told the coach.”
Q. What did Mishin say?
“That he could see it and understand, but there was nothing to do other than tolerate it.”
Q. Are you ever ashamed of your skate?
“Very rarely. Sometimes I really don’t want to skate. Everything annoys me then: food, the noise of the fans, the surroundings. It starts to feel like everything is against me, that all the wishes for success that people say are fake…”
Q. about - It seems the public and athletes do like you?
“On the whole, yes. Yesterday I was even surprised how many people stopped by my room to congratulate me. Of course, I didn’t get enough sleep as a result, but it was nice.”
Q. When you skate, does it matter who is watching you?
“Of course. If I could, I would take my mom to all my competitions. Sometimes even one person in the stands can mean more than the rest of the crowd all put together. Even at practice, I skate differently when people are watching me.”
Q. For whom did you skate in Lillehammer?
“I can say that I skated for Natasha Mishkutenok at my first Olympics”.
Q. Re; go pro-return like her.
“First of all, unlike Natasha nobody made me such offers. If there were some, I think my coach would have told me. But I’m not interested in pros for now. I realized during Collins Tour last year how easy it is to get out of shape as a pro. Although I should note there is something to learn from pros.”
Q. For example? -
“Your attitude to yourself. Last year I was invited to Olympic champions exhibition, Skates of Gold in Philadelphia. I saw the first time for real how Olympic champion Scott Hamilton skates. And I was jealous – at 30-something he jumps triples better than many in eligible skating. And just before New Years I performed in Garmish-Partenkirkhen with Denise Biellmann. She still does all her old jumps, famous spin, but you really need to see how seriously she prepares for each skate, how she warms up before going out on the ice…”
Q: Re – then what’s the problem with pro skating?
“During long tours, you practically don’t have time to train. You can forget how to skate so fast. At first I was skaing “Yellow” a program ALeksei NIkolaevich had done recently and hadn’t rehearsed much. In comparison with my free, honestly, it was just hackwork. You can’t imagine how exhausting and disgusting it was for me to skate it each day with such feelings.”
Q. But doesn’t the skater choose his number on tour? –
“Not always. It’s a commercial tour, and naturally, Collins is looking to see if the program has popular success. But you know when I realized I was degrading before my own eyes, I couldn’t restrain myself and recommended that I change my number to the free. He was clearly skeptical, but we agreed to give it a try. After a few shows, he said, in principle he was pleased. So then the change was confirmed for good. I could tell that despite his busyness with organizational affairs, he sees absolutely everything that happens on the ice and in the troupe.”
Q. Re; Sanctions
“Of course, I’d been told when one girl was sent home for spreading gossip. Sometimes he interferes with technical issues. After Albertville ( I wasn’t on the tour), Mishkutenok-Dmitriev were doing single axels instead of double. Natasha was struggling with the harder jump and he told them openly, “that’s enough relaxing guys, start working.” So when I got in the tour, at first I was afraid to fall in the eye line of Collins an extra time.
Q. re: Pros make more money…-
“Money is far from the most important thing. I don’t want to say that I don’t care how much I earn. It’s quite important to me. We live with my mom together and because of circumstances, she isn’t working now. The military factory where she was working hasn’t got any orders and she had to leave. But some of her lady friends visit us and they’re making less than 30,000 rubles a month (Trans. This is before they dropped the 1,000 in Jan. 1998. I don't recall the exchange rate at that time, but suffice it to say the amount is likely a pittance.) So it horrifies me to think about how we would live if I didn’t skate as I do. Figure skating thing is the only thing I’ve ever done. In any case, I don’t yet know how to do anything else. But if I go out on the ice and only thing about money, then very quickly you could go nuts over it. I’ve seen enough cases to draw my own conclusions.”
Q. do you remember when you brought home your first salary?
“Of course, my grandma and grandpa were still alive. My salary was a bit more than grandma’s pension and I was terribly proud.”
Q. LEsha, the more I talk to you the more I conclude that you’re one person on the ice and totally different off. What is in common between these two people?
“Recently, I’ve started wanting to dress nice everyday. A tie, suit, and long coat. I even felt uncomfortable when I wasn’t properly dressed. But then I realized that you need to operate on a principle of comfort. You can’t ride around in a car all day and come out unwrinkled. Then jeans and a jacket are more proper.”
“I realized again that victory calls for maximum output. Here at least 5 skaters could have one. At worlds, there will be more. If I make a mistake, I need to realize that others may note. Like Ilya Kulik didn’t err here. To be totally open, it would have been easier for my morale to lose to Zagarodniuk. But I see possible problems that Ilya could face very soon. Maybe I’ll even tell him sometime.”
“Well, while we’re fighting for the same medal, it’s not in my best interest to do so. Right?”
Thanks for the translation! It's interesting reading these old articles.
What a remarkable young man he was (and still is). The lack of desire for major financial gain is most unusual in the skating world - and very refreshing.
Plushenko noted that Urmanov was one of the (comparatively) few people who were really nice to him when he arrived in St. Petersburg -- and Yagudin has said that Urmanov was the only one from his old training ground who spoke to him after he left Mishin. During the entire feud, I don't think Urmanov said a bad word about either side. A very remarkable young man, indeed!
I was never a big fan of Urmanov as a skater but he always came across as a real class act.