<a href="http://www.eg.ru/Publication.mhtml?PubID=4022&Menu=&Part=63" target="top">Express Gazeta</a>
by Segei Klinkov
Translated and courtesy post by Maureen Diffley
After the European championships in Sweden, many people sympathized with hter. ELena Sokolova won the short program and skated the free program well with only one error. Her main competitor, world champion Irina Slutskaya fell on a triple and still won. When the marks came on the board, Slutskaya didn’t believe her eyes. In the halls, there were talks about how Sokolova was simply pushed down.
Q. Lena are you offended by the judges?
A. “I gave them an argument. If I had done the second combination of two triples, then I definitely would have won. Of course, it’s upsetting not to get the gold that I could practically touch.”
Q. There is an opinion that they gave Slutskaya first place because she has more titles than you.
A. “Ira and I started skating at about the same time, just in different groups. We always competed on ice but were friends in life. At the Olympics 98 we went together. It was my first serious tournament, I had just made the time and saw the future as being rosy. “Then everything came undone. The next season, I couldn’t make the pedastel at nationals and was off the team. Same thing the next year. Two years later, fourth again. I feared nationals like fire: I always thought something would be missing. Moreover, Ira Slutskaya also skipped Euopeans and worlds in 1999. She didn’t make the Russian team, but she corrected things quickly and I’m only back on the team now. After five years.”
Q. Has your relationship with Ira changed now?
A. “No, we can still go bowling together or sit in a café. True, Ira got married and we get together less often. I’m a single girl, but she has new worries.”
Q. Do you have a boyfriend?
A. “It’s not important how many men were in my life. It’s important how much life was in my men. That’s from Shopengauer. I don’t want to expound on this theme anymore.”
Q. How can you explaine your sudden break from Kudryavtzev in 2000 when you left for Aleksei Mishin?
A. “I wanted a change. I thought that Viktor Nikolaevich was giving me less attention. The results weren’t getting better. I asked my parents and they supported my decision to move to Peter. “Everything was normal at first. But after about a year, problems started. Mishin was annoyed by everything about me. He thought I don’t jump right, I don’t this right. I couldn’t just wait endlessly for his praise. Aleksei Nikolaevich has a favorite student – Zhenya Pliushenko. The coach put his main mark on him, but me… Mishin didn’t let me train at the same time as Pliushenko, I wanted to see how one of the best skaters in the world trains. It’s very helpful.”
Q. Last year you left Mishin. Why? Not because of Pliushenko?
A. “No, just me and the coach mutually failed to enjoy working with each other.”
Q. Mishin said you skipped practice once, broke the regime..
A. “All young people skip! In Peter, I lived by myself, in the evening I looked from the window on the Finnish sea and became sad quietly. Then I went to all the museums there – in Moscow I never went to so many places. I found friends, fellowship and if once, I got held up… so what? Mishin could refrain from talking about it in the press.”
Q. Probably you are not a very careful girl?
A. “I’m a born lucky girl.”
Q. They say that this past summer you had a concussion. Did it happen on the ice?
A. “No, in the plane. I was returning from Sweden to Petersburg. The landing was let’s say, not very soft, the plane bounced and a suitcase fell from the baggage on my head. With skates. Worst of all, it wasn’t my bag. I thought it was ok, I went home and it got worse. I lost consciousness. The doctors tried to calm me down and said forget about training for the next 7-8 months. If I would have listened to them, I would have lost the whole season. I only needed two months of doing nothing. I decided to return to the ice, but not to Mishin rather Kudryavtzev.”
Q. Last winter you vacationed in the Dominican Republic. IF it’s not a secret how much did it cost?
A. “ I didn’t pay. Ice show organizers decided to do a show in this exotic country for the rirst time. I think people had never seen ice there before. I was in two pretty shows, then spent two whole weeks doing nothing but swimming and tanning in the sun. And that was in February!”
Q. Lena why did you choose singles and not pairs?
A. “My character is such that things wouldn’t be sweet for my partner. For example, let’s say we do synchronized jumps and he made a mistake, I could start a real scandal. How is it so: I did it and he can’t!”
Q. Can you do unplanned things.
A. “Yeah, five years ago, I went to practice and realized I forgot the main thing – skates, at home. Good that my dad found them. I called him and he brought them to the arena. And how many times have I forgotten the keys to the car! You know what else, recently I met the actor Dmirti Pevtzov by coincidence. He was walking down the street and we caught each other’s gaze, I said, “I know you from somewhere.” He answered, “Your face is also familiar.” Usually I don’t meet people on the street, but now we call each other.”
Q. Does his wife Olga Drozdova know about it?
A. “Oh, you! There’s nothing like that going on…”