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Thread: Slutskaya Interview

  1. #1

    Slutskaya Interview

    <a href="" target="top">Express Gazeta</a>
    by Sergei Dadigin
    Translated and courtesy post: Maureen Diffley

    She had an incredibly difficult task – to beat the American skaters on their field, in Washington. She was unable to do it at the Olympics in Salt Lake City, the judges only gave her second. Knowing people say that the judges will again play on the side of the home team. But Ira didn’t go to Washington and not because she was afraid to lose.

    Q. Irina are you sure that the fate of the title in figure skating is always decided on the ice and not behind closed doors?

    A. “I know that backstage intrigues happen in our sport. Therefore, I answer: I’m not sure. But I hope that this time it will be honest.”

    Q. Olympic champion Sarah Hughes turned pro. Theoretically would this have eased your task? [Translator: Journalist was wrong. Hughes was at worlds.]

    A. “After the Olympics, Sarah and I met twice and half-pro events. She won once and I the other. Ihad no problems with the judging at either event. But in Salt Lake City, I did. I think that I didn’t lose the Olympics, but they didn’t allow me to win. “Why Hughes is skipping a home worlds, I don’t know. Maybe she’s not ready for a serious fight. Maybe her one victory in Salt Lake City was enough for her and she calmed down. But in addition to Hughes, they have 4-time world champion Michelle Kwan and Grand Prix Final winner Sasha Cohen. I already beat them. Maybe I would be higher in Washington, but…. “At the Grand Prix Final… Tatyana Tarasova.. told her, “Irina, today you are a a hero.”

    Tarasova had heard what the journalists didn’t know. Irina’s mother who came to Petersburg to root for her daughter suffered an attack the night before the final skate. For a long time, the doctors couldn’t tell what was wrong with her and how it would turn out. Irina spent a sleepless night. Fortunately, at the time of the seizure-attack, Irina and
    her mom were in the hotel room together and Slutskaya was able to call the ambulance on time.

    Q. Were you upset with your second place at GPF?

    A. “Then I realized there are things more important than sport. The situation is hard now, I can’t leave at this moment, leave her. I already have this title of world champion and my mom is more dear than any title.”

    Q. You had a hard time this season: only 3rd at Cup of Russia, 2nd at Nationals. What’s the reason?

    A. “I didn’t have time to recover. After winning worlds, I went on an American tour right away. Five months living out of a suitcase, more than 80 shows. I was in New York, Boston, Chicago even small cities where there are modern rinks with all the skaters on the Collins tour. During this tour, I got bronchitis, but had no time to get cured. I took tablets and went on with the show. It was hard. True, I made money.”

    Q. Zhanna Gromova didn’t protest this long tour?

    A. “She gave her ok. She realized I needed it. I train with her since age 6. We’ve been through everything, but I’m very glad that fate put me together with such a coach. Of course, I’m no present. Working with me is tough. But she manages it. By the way, I wound up with her by coincidence. The coach who worked with us little girls for about a year went out on maternity leave.”

    Q. During those 5 months, your husband didn’t go wild?

    A. Twice he visited me for two weeks. And in June they gave us a 10-day break, Sergei and I spent them in Moscow. I rested and got better.

    Q. The press writes that your husband is a physical education teacher. Is that correct?

    A. He is a coach of OFP (general physical preparation) and works with children. I want to say something about the press. One newspaper wrote that my husband is a New Russian who steals. When my parents read that, they were in shock. From April to November of last year, I didn’t give any interviews because I was abroad. All the same interviews were published, people thought stuff up! here were questions like: “From where was figure skating born?” “Who was the first figure skater?” Believe me, I have no idea about these things and no Kolya Zuev is going to put answers from an encyclopedia in my mouth. I have no children, but a journalist writes that I dream of being an ideal grandmother. What lunacy! The newspaper “life” published a notice that my husband bought me a fur coat while in Kazan at the national championships. They even published the price. But my husband was in Moscow at the time!”

    Q. So you came back from Kazan without a fur coat?

    A. “They gave it to me – they love me very much there. Moreover, they gave me a choice of three and I took the one I liked best. That’s what they needed to write, why make something up. There are some publications for which I’ll not do interviews again ever.”

    Q. At Europeans in Sweden, our skater Tatiana Totmianina wasn’t let in to a restaurant late at night. Have you had such things happen abroad?

    A. “Only in Mosocw. When I was still single, I decided to go to a furniture store to get things for the new apartment. I asked the salesman to show me a bed set and he answered me rudely: basically, get out of here, little girl. I was about 18. I was offended and called my mom on the cell phone from the store. She immediately contacted the director who came up to me within five minutes and said, “Please, girl choose what you like.” I answered, “ I wanted to buy from you, but I’ve reconsidered. I’ll look elsewhere.”

    Q. If I’m not wrong, at 18, you were already 2-time European champion…

    A. “Exactly, but that’s not the point. I don’t tolerate boorishness.”

    Q. Irina, are you a believer in God?

    A. “I’m Christian, I was baptized as a child. I wear a crucifix. Sometimes I go to the Saint Danil monastery, where my husband and I married in August 1999. I think that marriages are made in heaven. It should be once and for the whole life. I also believe in fate. Some people are given the chance to be world champions, others aren’t. It seems I’m one of them.”

  2. #2

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    Thanks again, Paula and Maureen.

    To our Russian experts, who is Kolya Zuev? Is he/she a Russian tabloid journalist, or is this a reference to a stereotype from literature or folk culture?


  3. #3

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    No, I think Zuev must be a real journalist.

  4. #4

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    Nice article. Thank you!

  5. #5
    berthes ghost

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    How ironic. All the complaints of journalist making stuff up in an article with misinformation (Sarah going pro and skipping 03 worlds).:lol:

  6. #6

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    She's quite candid about her feelings. Still holding on to the idea that she should have won the Olys in SLC. Her conspiracy thoughts are that judges will favor the home town contestants. Hmmm. She didn't mention that there were six Slavic judges when she won the Worlds.

    Irina is a great competitor, but she gets into slumps as do many other athletes. Her performance at that last competition, she skated beautifully and could arguably have won that contest. I think that was the start of a new Irina and one which will show up in 2003/04 as definite contender.

    It seems both IS and MK have renewed vigor and will go after the forthcoming contests with full force. Baby ballerinas watch out.


  7. #7

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    Joe ... " Baby ballerinas watch out." :lol: :lol: :lol:

    I love that ... I don't know why, but it really satisfies me to see Michelle and Irina come back. I have nothing against the youngsters ... I just don't like seeing some people pushed out the door before they're ready.

    Interesting article, thanks.

  8. #8

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    I'm glad Irina is staying and I prefer the women to the up and comers also. However Irina needs a slight reality check. She did not deserve to win the Olympics whatsoever. She still feels that way. If she skated at Worlds like she did in the season she wouldn't have won Worlds either. I mean what does she feel about losing to Elena. Elena would have probably beaten her also. I mean forget the American ladies.

  9. #9

    Re: Slutskaya Interview

    Actually Irina congratulated Elena when she beat her at nationals(which means to me that Irina knows she didn't deserve to won the national title that year). I guess if Elena skated at the Olympics like she did at worlds in 03, then she would've beaten not only Irina but also Michelle, Sasha and probably Sarah. But that's a big assumption to make because I could also say the same thing for MK(what if she skated in SLC like she did at worlds in 2001) and IS.

    I really don't want to get into this discussion again but when Irina says that she should've won the Olympics, I don't think she is talking about the LP.It takes the SP and LP to win the Olympics, not just one amazing free skate. Many people including skating commentators, coachs(Tarasova and others) believed that Irina should've won the SP, thus giving her the gold medal since she placed 2nd in the free skate. Tarasova even stated that the Russian federation should've protested right after the SP results were in because they really had a valid claim.
    Even British commentators said "she thought she should've won the Olympics and she had a lot of people agreeing with her" I believe they also agree with Irina because they were quoted as saying "beat that" in reference to Sarah at the end of Irina's free skate at 02 worlds.

    I think i've stated in my opinion who should've won the SP(Sarah should've been atleast in 5th, not 4th) at the Olympics and i'm not going to dwell into that anymore because it will just cause more arguments.

    Edited to add: Paula, nice interview, thanx for posting it. Sometimes I think Irina works her self too hard and she should learn to relax because she has really accomplished a lot in her career. I think every season she comes out like she has something to prove and sometimes thats a good thing because the motivation is there. More then 9 years in the game, winning a world title/Olympic medal at the age of 23, I think she has nothing left to prove but to stay in there for the love of the sport.:D

  10. #10

    I was waiting for you Excidra

    You know I can see how Irina should have won the short. If that's her argument then ok yeah but if that was the scenario then who knows what the scenario would have been in the long program. Maybe Michelle would have been more relaxed and put it all out there. Maybe Irina would have been even more nervous than she was. Basically I wished that she were put in first place and Sarah should have been 5th or 6th in the short. If it wasn't going to be Michelle then I would've hoped that it was Irina. It just wasn't meant to be for some reason. I still like Irina and I do root for her at times but I guess you can say things have changed because of a lot of statements Irina made after the Olympics like how American audiences don't understand skating. I don't get that one.

    However I don't get the commentators comments. When they said "Take that Sarah" they were really thinking Irina's skate was better than Sarah's skate? I really don't get that and I'm so not a fan of Sarah's skating but she was on that day. I'm not going to say she should have won the whole thing because I don't agree with the short results but she won the long program.

  11. #11


    That was a great interview. Thanks!!!!!

    I had a good talk with Irina at COI at Ames IA. She is a very warm and wonderful person. It is too bad that the press has to pick on people that are in the light. It seems to make them feel good to run popular people down.

    That's live I guess.

    MinnMan === Old John

  12. #12

    Re: IRINA

    OK, let's see. Irina should have won the Short, with Michelle second and Sarah fifth.

    The correct placement in the Long was obviosly Sarah first, Michelle second and Irina third.

    Does that do it? Yes! It does! Michelle!!!!!!!


  13. #13

    Yeah Michelle is popular


  14. #14
    Custom Title
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    Jan 2005

    Re: IRINA

    Now when I look back. All I can say is the SLC OGM just not meant to be Kwans.

    First leaving LN and Frank earlier in season turned the skating world against her. Litsen to the Sandra comments you can tell. Besides the training she has to deal with all those media issue all by her own. And I don't think judge panel even willing to reward a coachless skater high mark.

    Then come along the pair scandel, US Athlete done better than Russian in Oly in general which cause the Russian federation protest right before ladies final, all these put judges in alarm. If only the US judge would shamlessly put Michelle in 2nd place ahead of IS; which a Canadian or Rusia judge most likely will do if they were in the same position; Michelle would've win overall. I would say it is US judge's vote which cost Michelle's gold. Sarah's lifetime performance gave US judge a chance place Michelle under Irina to shutup Rusian's complain while still able to keep the medal in US lady. Why would you think it took that long for Judge to come up with the score after Irina's skating? Had Sarah placed lower than 4th in short. The US judge might give Kwan 2nd place since this is the only way to keep GM in US. And if not for an already dispution filled SLC I think Judge might just do it. Although it might not be fair. So what, it was not the first time the best skate at the night not won?

    So all said all done. It just not meant to be Kwan's. And like Levand said. If it is not mean to be Kwan, then I'd rather Irina win. Since Sarah should not be in 4th after short in anyway.

    Now look what left us. Last two OGM winner are Lutzless.

  15. #15
    berthes ghost

    Re: SLC not meant to be

    Personally, I think that her 1st place in the SP after that flip was a sign that they we just itching to give her the gold. Her fall on the flip in the LP gave it right back. JMO

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