Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2
Results 16 to 27 of 27

Thread: Artur Werner on Olympic pairs

  1. #16
    Custom Title bekalc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    3,100
    They don't have an immigrant culture as we do in the US. I was watching pairs with a Polish friend and when S&S were introduced as a German team, he remarked that they were not Germans.
    He absolutely is German. The man's mother was German, so he has half German blood anyways. And didn't even know his African father. Besides in Germany, I believe they do have some immigration. My brother was in military service in Germany and dated a girl there who was original from Africa but is now a German citizen. One of the reasons it didn't work out was because she didn't want to live in America, she'd miss Germany too much. But yes in European countries there is more of a homogenous type of thing. In Russia though there really are all kinds of ethnic groups anyways, but I think some of the issues with this particular team is the fact that Yuka wasn't trained in the Russian/Soviet system for most of her career. I.e that she's essentially an inport. I mean it would be one thing if Aliona who was from the Ukraine (and was essentially it seemed trained by Soviet coaches when she was younger, I believe) to be skating for Russia. But for a country with the greatest pairs skating legacy to have to import skaters its a whole different feeling (hurt pride). It would be one thing if it was a sport they didn't have this great tradition in. But for it to be pairs skating, its a whole different feeling.

    I also think that K/S really didn't fit the classical Russian style in personality, and instead of working to find a style that suited her team, Moskvina tried to make them something they weren't.

    However to be rude to Yuka is really not right.
    Last edited by bekalc; 02-17-2010 at 10:33 PM.

  2. #17
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,977
    Quote Originally Posted by 76olympics View Post
    I have never cared for Rodnina, and this is another reason to cement my dislike. That was a very hurtful comment and it makes me angry when I think how sad and alone Kavaguti looked after the disappointing free skate. I am glad Werner pointed out that Rodnina was no beauty queen herself ( perky at best). Thanks as always for the translation. I think you are right. The Soviet atmosphere is gone now.
    “I think one could find a nice Russian girl for such a gorgeous guy as Alexander Smirnov. The choice of partner is questionable here.”"

    Was she referring to her looks? From the translation, I got the impression that Rodnina meant that a gorgeous guy like Smirnov would not have trouble finding a nice Russian partner to skate with and that his current partner fell short. I took nice as meaning good Russian partners- as in no need to pair him with a Japanese skater when there are so many nice Russian girls to skate with. Maybe it can be meant as looks but I thought that she was referring to skating skills. Gorgeous for him could be handsome and also strong/magnificent.

    Kawaguti is a very good skater- Moskvina packaged her as a Japanese Berezhnaya with the delicate haircut.

    Maybe Rodnina felt that Moskvina had bypassed a lot of quality Russian girls due to her personal regard for Kawaguti. I believe that in an interview with Vasiliev, he remarked that Moskvina didn't want to work with difficult skaters in her old age and that she would rather work with Kawaguti who does as she's told.

    I really don't know what the story is behind that comment. I too feel bad for Kawaguti. It's not her fault that the Russians dropped the ball on their pairs program.

  3. #18
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,977
    Quote Originally Posted by bekalc View Post
    He absolutely is German. The man's mother was German, so he has half German blood anyways. And didn't even know his African father. Besides in Germany, I believe they do have some immigration.
    My Polish friend just looked at their last names and was like, not German. However I don't want to sidetrack this conversation. I am not doubting Robin's heritage. The man was born and raised in Germany and has German blood. With all the immigration and intermarriage, there is a mixed generation that is now part of the cultural and ethnic landscape of Germany. My mother is German and would never accept him as German. Younger people do consider him German.

    In another 20 years, Russia may experience the same shift.

    Very different situation from Kawaguti who is Japanese and became a Russian to compete. However she did train fairly extensively in the Russian system- since she was 16 yrs old. Japan has no pairs program so she did learn everything from Moskvina. It should be enough of a credit to the Russian system.
    Last edited by soogar; 02-17-2010 at 11:02 PM.

  4. #19
    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,398
    Just one more note: In translation at least, Rodnina's quote also hints at Soviet style arrogance in disregarding Smirnov's preferences "Who cares if you want to skate with Kavaguti, we've chosen a nice Russian girl for you, now shut up and skate."

    Yeah, I might be overanalysing things a little but I don't feel like giving her the benefit of a doubt.

    That said, I think of Kavaguti as a Russian citizen and not an ethnic Russian (the distinction is well known in Russia AFAIK though it applies more to the local populations than immigrants). In Polish the expression would be she's 'a Japanese woman with a Russian passport'.

    I think of Szokolwy as completely German as that's were he was born and always lived (the German mother is slightly less relevant).

    Finally, I detest the citizenship based Olympics, an intellectually bankrupt idea that needs to die a horrible death. I think Kavaguti should have been able to represent Russia without changing her citizenship just as she could in Euros and Worlds. It should be between her and the Russian federation.

  5. #20
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Mafke, good post. Yes, the "Russian" thing needs to be put into context. For example, Jewish people (like myself) always identified ourselves as "Jewish", not "Russian"; I still don't like being identified as "Russian" by Americans. In fact, when Werner says "she is in fact now a Russian", he actually uses a slightly different word. It just doesn't translate all that well - the traditional word for "Russian" is "russky"; the word that's often used now to identify with the country of Russia is "rossijskij" (this wasn't necessary in previous decades as we could always just say "Soviet").

    Rodnina is just one angry lady. She's not a nice person. Interestingly, the Protopopovs say they "forgave and forgot" what skating-related people said about them after they defected; besides, they say most people, while not having apologized formally, have at least acknowledged that things have been said that shouldn't have. One exception, they say, is Rodnina. They say she's the one person they won't shake hands with when given a chance. And I think Rodnina has a special hatred for Moskvina and her international fame, respect, and success.

  6. #21
    L'art pour l'art Medusa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,752
    Quote Originally Posted by soogar View Post
    My Polish friend just looked at their last names and was like, not German. However I don't want to sidetrack this conversation. I am not doubting Robin's heritage. The man was born and raised in Germany and has German blood. With all the immigration and intermarriage, there is a mixed generation that is now part of the cultural and ethnic landscape of Germany. My mother is German and would never accept him as German. Younger people do consider him German.
    Huh? My grandma had a Polish last name. It's not new in Germany to have slavic-sounding last names. There were several Germans in the 19th and I think even 18th century with slavic-sounding names.

  7. #22
    Custom Title 76olympics's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    469
    Ptichka, I noticed that both Rodnina and Vasilev have been very dimissive of America in the interviews I read. It does not come off well. There isn't any law that they must love America of course, but both of them profited financially by working here. If Russia is so much better, they should have sacrificed all to stay there. Both of them were "in" with the system and they weren't fleeing any kind of persecution by coming here. ( I know that sounds a little nasty on my part, but both of them just irritate me so much).
    Last edited by 76olympics; 02-18-2010 at 09:57 AM.

  8. #23
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    1,977
    Quote Originally Posted by Medusa View Post
    Huh? My grandma had a Polish last name. It's not new in Germany to have slavic-sounding last names. There were several Germans in the 19th and I think even 18th century with slavic-sounding names.
    My mother is German and has a Polish last name as well. A huge part of Poland used to be a part of Germany. In spite of that, growing up in old time Germany, her family was referred to as Polish even though they spoke German and were ethnically German. As recently as 10 years ago, there was a family tragedy and one of the townspeople inquired about the Polish family (specifically referring Polish).

    From what my mother told me about growing up, they were given a hard time for being Polish. Most likely that was small town living but that was how it was for her.

    To bring it back to skating, you could live for generations in a country, speak the language, go to school and not be considered a native of the country by other natives.

    I think it defeats the purpose of the Olympics NOT to have a citizenship restriction. The Olympics are a very special event - not only are people competing for personal glory but in doing so are representatives of their country. The viewers have an opportunity to get a glimpse into different cultures and be exposed to different ethnicities. I was watching the opening ceremonies with friends and we were so fascinated to see how different people look. Each European nation- majority of whom are Caucasian- had athletes that shared distinctive features that were unique to their particular origin.

    For me (IMO) the practice of country hopping for competitive purposes cheapens the overall purpose of the Olympics. When I see athletes competing for countries that are not their own and they have no ties to, it brings the Olympics down to the level of any other competition. Why even have athletes represent countries if they are just going to go where it's easiest to qualify?

    I know that it makes it difficult to field pairs teams, but instead of easing the citizenship restriction, the ISU needs to get involved with helping countries develop their own pairs/figure skating programs. That is one of the purposes of the ISU is to increase and spread skating. You see what happened to skating in Japan and Korea once they developed bona fide skating stars. Those stars help generate revenue.

  9. #24
    Forum translator Ptichka's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,430
    Quote Originally Posted by 76olympics View Post
    Ptichka, I noticed that both Rodnina and Vasilev have been very dismissive of America in the interviews I read. It does not come off well. There isn't any law that they must love America of course, but both of them profited financially by working here. If Russia is so much better, they should have sacrificed all to stay there. Both of them were "in" with the system and they weren't fleeing any kind of persecution by coming here. ( I know that sounds a little nasty on my part, but both of them just irritate me so much).
    First of all, I don't consider either one of those individuals all that bright. Compare that to the interview that the Moskvins give - a good example is a recent one by Igor Moskvin (http://ptichkafs.livejournal.com/45277.html, scroll down to "American Solitude"); he isn't saying he was happy here, but he explains the reasons rather than saying anything was "bad".

    Also, I have to speak in Rodnina's defense for a second here. She left Russia in 1992, largely at her husband's insistence. When their marriage broke up, she actually wanted to go back, but her ex-husband wouldn't consent to their daughter going to Russia; so in essence Irina was stuck here until her daughter grew up.

    Finally, let's no simplify things into "good" and "bad". One may love some things about a country, yet despise others.

  10. #25
    Custom Title 76olympics's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    469
    Thanks, Ptichka. I didn't mean to generalize, but the translated interview with Vasilev fired me up! LOL! He was generalizing there himself with the line about American obsession with money. Well, I love to discuss literature and culture myself and don't worship the dollar- despite my nationality. LOL ! Actually, I have always been very interested in Russian history.

    Thanks for reminding me about Rodnina's circumstances; actually, I had forgotten them. I just don't care for her though and wasn't surprised about her remark regarding Kavaguti/Smirnov. She doesn't strike me as open-minded or bright. ( But, she was one of the fastest skaters that I remember and no bundle of nerves on the ice for sure).

    Tamara Moskvina-OTOH- was very much a product of her background, but I like her very much. Different people, same country and different impressions as you said!

  11. #26
    Custom Title
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    2,753
    Quote Originally Posted by bekalc View Post
    In Russia though there really are all kinds of ethnic groups anyways, but I think some of the issues with this particular team is the fact that Yuka wasn't trained in the Russian/Soviet system for most of her career. I.e that she's essentially an inport. But for a country with the greatest pairs skating legacy to have to import skaters its a whole different feeling (hurt pride). It would be one thing if it was a sport they didn't have this great tradition in. But for it to be pairs skating, its a whole different feeling.

    I also think that K/S really didn't fit the classical Russian style in personality, and instead of working to find a style that suited her team, Moskvina tried to make them something they weren't.

    However to be rude to Yuka is really not right.
    She followed Moskvina in 1999. It's been more than 10 years. Sandra Bezic and co. said they have the classic Russian style. Moskvina made sure every single hand movement, foot placement Russian. Yuko skating is more Russian than Maria Mukhortova. You think vs. Sandra, Peter said. I say they win.

  12. #27
    Rinkside
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    5

    Let all of us not be narrow-sighted on this one!

    Quote Originally Posted by soogar View Post
    I kind of agree with Rodnina- though I'm not exactly a tactful person. No offense to Kawaguti, but how sad is it the top Russian pair consists of an "imported" skater. For a country with such a deep skating tradition, it certainly is a sign that the pairs program is remiss.

    I can see how that would not sit well with Rodnina.
    No offense, but I don't agree with this opinion. I believe that outstanding foreign athletes joining Russia showed how strong Russia is and what a wonderful land this nation can be and the hospitality the Russian people give to the world.

    Speaking fluent Russian, Kavaguti is a Russian citizen with a dream of an Olympic medal. As a Russian Olympic athlete, she deserves respect from everyone in and out of Russia.

    Rodnina is a legend in pairs figure skating. However no one is perfect in this world.

    I think the pressure of continuing Russian's 12 consecutive Olympic victories in pairs figure skating and resentment Yoko encountered, ruined their performance.

    However, we all saw that this pair has the highest techniques already. Though they made solid improvements one competition after the other and year by year, they were just teamed up for less than four years. All the Chinese pairs are more than 10 years.

    Let us wish all the athletes "Good Luck" and we will cheer for them because we know how hard this sport is.
    Last edited by cxb; 02-21-2010 at 08:37 PM.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 1 2

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •