I was in a real hurry when I translated it, so if there're any mistakes -- I'm sorry. I'll try to correct them later. The comments in square brackets are mine.
"It's time to begin a new life."
Late in the evening on Sunday, the most titled Russian skater, Alexei Yagudin, said farewell to amateur sport.
The audience in the packed-to-capacity sport arena in Mississauga (where the second event of this year's Grand Prix took place) was on its feet when Yagudin made his entrance. Just as it had been during his triumphs at world championships and the Olympics in Salt Lake City. After he kissed the ice and skated [his/their] favorite programs, the skater promised to continue making his fans happy in the future, as well. [It was] Simple and moving. Unfortunately, his countrymen couldn't witness that moment.
- I would love to say good-bye to amateur sport back at home, especially in my native Sankt Petersburg, but the practices for SOI have already started, and that's why I can't go to Russia right now - Yagudin told "Novye Izvestia."
- Was it difficult to come to the decision to leave amateur sport?
- It was normal. It wasn't a sudden move. I've had it at the back of my mind during the last few months. The surgery was a success, Tatiana Tarasova and I were getting ready for a new season, we did a new free program... But I knew very well that my injury was not fully curable; the pain was back from time to time even after the surgery. My dream was to win the Olympic Games. It has come true. I always wanted to skate with SOI -- I've got that, too. Of course, if I had made a goal to win another Olympics, it would've been a great motivation to prolong my career in the sport. But I decided not to do it. I want to start a new life; try my hand at different things. I think it's a great moment for this. Later it might be too late.
- What will be now the main thing for you - coaching?
- Skating will be the main thing. I'm not hanging up my skates. I'm going to skate in the tour [SOI]; in professional championships... I won't limit myself to coaching alone. I have many ideas and projects.
- In summer you said that you'd like to open a bar in some warm place, remember?
- After I started having problems with my leg and had more free time I was constantly thinking about things like that. I do like warm climate, probably because I've spent my whole life in cold rinks. So, perhaps everything that I talked about will come true. I would also like to learn another foreign language; French, for example.
- Did Tatiana Tarasova get upset after she heard about your decision?
- In my opinion, she was ready for such a turn [of events]. Of course, she wished it would've been different. We were getting ready; making plans for a new season. But, on the other hand, I think that she'll find me to be an excellent assistant in her work. [I swear I see him making a similar face when he said that, lol]
- Usually, when people are ready to start a new life, they themselves change...
- I've become calmer. I calmed down after the Olympics. And the injury has put everything in perspective. Earlier I was careless when it came to my health, now it's changed. I know where and when I should stop. I've grown up.
- What's the main outcome [for lack of the word] of your career?
- I'm proud of the fact that I've conquered myself. For some time I was on top, and then I got down and found enough strength in myself to get on top again. I've won with myself; did what I think every athlete should strive to do.
- Many people regret that they won't be able to watch Yagudin and Plushenko's competing with each other anymore.
- We really motivated; pushed each other forward, and the rest stroved to keep up. Now, I think, it's different. Zhenya's too far in the lead, and I don't see a strong competition between him and other skaters.