Vaitsekhovskaya talks to Browning: don't turn the competition into a war
The 4 times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993) world champion was having his breakfasto n the rink and was watching the russian ice dancers practices closely. He was so focused on his food that I wasn't sure it would be polite bothering him with questions. Nevertheless, I approached and sat.
EV: Kurt, perhaps you don't remember me...
KB: Of course I do. We met in the competitions before, right?
EV: Well, just that quite a lot of time passed since I interviewed you as a skater. I'd love to interview you as a commentator.
KB: Not that! I feel awkward coming to the competitions and being the focus of the journalists. Everyone are interested in exactly the same question.
EV: I was wondering what do you think about the contemporary figure skating watching it as a viewer
KB: Right, it's exactly the question I'm being asked. I can't really say I follow the amateur skating too closely, but more thanks to working on the TV I sometimes get to go to the competitions. It is sort of going back to the previous life. Which is nice, but hardly more.
EV: What do you like the most in the skating now-a-days? The way the skaters are fighting for the medals or the artistic side?
KB: Ideally both. I mean when those who have interesting programmes are fighting for the metals. Reckon the viewers and the journalists would agree.
EV: The question comes from my point of view that there is nothing more interesting in the sport then the fight for the medals. But can admit now: when I'm feeling low the programme I rewatch is not an olympic winning programme, but your `Singing in the rain'. Am not trying to flatter.
KB: So you are saying I was not one of the skaters who were fighting for the medals? I'm kidding, of course I understand what you mean. It's not easy to create a programme that would get so much attention in my times nor now. Of course I'm a much more spoiled viewer than people who attend the competitions. I spent too many years in figure skating. When I hear a piece of music the first thing I think `I skated an sp to that music in that year. Or an lp in that...'. As for the programmes today under the CoP they remind me of flowers arrangements - everyone uses the same flowers but not everyone can come up with a good arrangement.
As for the programme you mentioned... I have special feelings for it as well. So much that I agreed to repeat it for the TV this year. When it was first filmed I recall taking my sister's old skates for the shooting
EV: What was wrong with yours?
KB: I didn't want to ruin them. Thought that if I'm supposed to skate under a rain on some strange ice made between the decorations it would do nothing good to my boots and blades. I was a bit worried going to the shootings, but was so swept by the process that forgot everything but the skating.
EV: Do you miss the competitions?
KB: I still participate the shows.
EV: You mean Stars on Ice?
KB: Yes. It'll be 22 years this year since I've joined. I decided I'll stop after 25. And then... Oh, I'll come up with something to do.
As for the competitions - I miss those Dick Button was holding in the USA (the professional worlds). I think it was a show in which the organization and the sport were on the top.
EV: I attended Button's competitions for several years.
KB: Then you know what I mean. The competition that continued for several hours yet no one left the rink nor took their eyes off the ice.
EV: Are there any competitions of the kind in the USA or Canada now?
KB: That's the thing: no. I'm really sorry about it.
EV: You seem to be very interested watching the pairs practice...
KB: I like your pair so much (he points on Volosozhar/Trankov). Out of all who are skating now I think they are the best. I wouldn't predict they'll necessarily win in Nice, think there are several teams that are technically equally good, but when I see Tatiana and Maksim skating I enjoy every move they make. the speed, the completeness of the moves, the expression - everything I've always praised in figure skating. In addition Volosozhar/Trankov are so `alive' - their emotions make you feel. It's another form of art. I've seen many beautiful skaters who skated well but the glance was as if they saw you via the aim. It's even worse when the ladies are skating with that expression.
EV: What about the male competitors? You must be cheering your compatriot Partrick Chan?
KB: Actually I'm equally fond of Daisuke Takahashi's skating. But yes, indeed Chan is really really good. Not his technique - he has nothing left to prove there, but that ability to make a gesture in a way it catches the crowd and gives the programme a whole new meaning. It's not an obvious skill. When I just started adding the 3A and two 3/3 jumps in my programmes it took so much off me that nothing left to think of the artistic side.
EV: Of all the elements you ever performed which was the hardest?
KB: Hm.. am not sure. Though wait, the throw 3 jump
EV: Excuse me?
KB: A thow 3 jump. I was thrown by Piter Oppegard. Jill him and I were working in Stars on Ice and Piter offered to try.
EV: How did it feel?
KB: Weird. Without having enough of experience you don't really understand how high are you flying and where is the ice. I somehow landed the throw a couple of times without falling, but I was very uncomfortable.
EV: I've always wanted to ask how were your relationship with your rivals while you were competing.
KB: It was great. I still speak to some of them and in general I was always against turning the competition into a war. What's the point, when everything depends on who you skate and not what the others do on the ice?