I just watched a friends tape of Worlds and found out that the reason Irina has been pushing herself so hard and trying hard to win this season is, in fact, because she needed money. They said her mom needs a kidney transplant and Irina needed to earn $50.000 to pay for this. This makes me sad for Irina and her family.
I had wondered all season long why Irina, who is so sick that she was seen with an inhaler after programs, would be compromising her health for competition skating and not coaching, and now I think that has been answered for me.
I remember back when it was suggested on another board that Irina posed for those photos because she was in desperate need of money and some posters were very firm that that was not the reason and that Irina was very well off. I think Irina's own story is probably the truth. She needs money and she needs it badly.
I feel bad for her. She has won a lot this season and that money earned still couldn't help her to help her family. I know Russia has universal health care and that Irina's own medical bills were being paid for by the Russian Skating Federation (also read this on another board), but Irina is soley responsible for her 2 parents that are (apparently) disabled (meaning unable to work and take care of themselves). Does Russia have social security and disability?
One can only hope that Irina stays healthy enough to skate. She must have so much pressure on her. From the Russian Federation to continue skating at top level despite her illness that makes her so weak and ill, and from her parents that are so dependent on her to be their caregiver and only source of financial means. I hope her husband doesn't put any pressure on her, or the poor girl will blow!
She has my respect and sympathy during this time in her life. I think she needs all the support she can get. No wonder she broke down in tears after her long program. If she didn't win her mother would not get the transplant she needs.
Where can I find out more about Irina and her family? Is there a charity set up somewhere for them? I think this would be a great charity for fans of skating to donate to. I hope there's something in the works because I think Irina is pushing herself to the limit and I worry for her health and sanity. I wish Irina luck next year in her quest for Olympic Gold. I just hope she can stay healthy.