Ari Zakarian interview

Ananas Astra

Get woke, go broke!
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Upon further review, I now recall that a mutual friend who worked on Wall Street introduced me to Ari at 1996 Skate America in Springfield MA as they both skated at Chelsea Piers in NYC. We reconnected at 1997 Europeans in Paris when I was credentialed with Grishuk/Platov and I remember hanging out with him at the Gala at the Old Paris Opera House, the primary setting of Andrew Lioyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. I am embarrassed to admit that POTO is my all-time favorite Broadway musical, having seen it live in NYC circa the late 1990s and 2019, and I didn't realize the staircases and chandeliers at the Gala were later sets in Phantom!

It was at 1997 Worlds in Lausanne where Ari showed up with his bandaged wrist following the car accident, so I definitely had met him prior to the incident with Baiul. He's a very charismatic guy and seemed to know everyone connected with figure skating and took time to get to know me due to my connection with Oksana and Evgeny in U Delaware.

I haven't seen Ari since the initial public performance of Evgeny with Maya at Harvard University for the Jimmy Fund in fall 1998, where he performed with Akop in the fundraiser. Definitely an interesting dude and yes, he's the force behind the ISU Awards.
Please enlighten me.

I have to say I always love your stories.
 

Sylvia

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Please enlighten me.

I have to say I always love your stories.
Post #9:
The first or second time I met Ari Zakarian around 25 years ago, he still had his wrist bandaged from being the passenger when Oksana Baiul wrapped her car around a tree in her infamous drunk driving episode!
January 1997:
 

Marry

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The funniest part about all this is the Ilia is so Westernized and seems to not care one bit about Russia. Does he even speak Russian fluently?
It's his first language, of course he speaks Russian well. You might be interested to know that he gave an interview in Russian to the Russians after the GPF. He, Maxim and Andrew also gave an interview fully in Russian back in 2020. Ilia speaks with his parents at home and grandparents in Russia (since his grandpa can't visit them in the US anymore, they communicate via skype), he is also friends with Artem Kovalev who just recently said he and Ilia spoke in Russian with each other when they were hanging out in Linz as juniors. Ilia has literally family in Russia, you saying he doesn't care about Russia and mocking his roots is just weird to me. Oh, and his favorite skaters are Trusova and Kolyada :)
 

Karen-W

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It's his first language, of course he speaks Russian well. You might be interested to know that he gave an interview in Russian to the Russians after the GPF. He, Maxim and Andrew also gave an interview fully in Russian back in 2020. Ilia speaks with his parents at home and grandparents in Russia (since his grandpa can't visit them in the US anymore, they communicate via skype), he is also friends with Artem Kovalev who just recently said he and Ilia spoke in Russian with each other when they were hanging out in Linz as juniors. Ilia has literally family in Russia, you saying he doesn't care about Russia and mocking his roots is just weird to me. Oh, and his favorite skaters are Trusova and Kolyada :)
Ilia has stated many times that he most looks up to Yuzuru and Jason as skaters. He has also stated that he appreciates/admires Trusova, but I've never heard him mention Kolyada.

He has also made it clear that while he can speak Russian, he doesn't know how to read or write in Cyrillic, which calls into question his overall fluency/literacy in the language.

I wouldn't say he has mocked his Russian heritage or is ashamed of it, but I think it was also pretty clear from WTT that he is very happy and proud to be an American and represent the country of his birth.
 

Marry

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Ilia has stated many times that he most looks up to Yuzuru and Jason as skaters. He has also stated that he appreciates/admires Trusova, but I've never heard him mention Kolyada.

He has also made it clear that while he can speak Russian, he doesn't know how to read or write in Cyrillic, which calls into question his overall fluency/literacy in the language.

I wouldn't say he has mocked his Russian heritage or is ashamed of it, but I think it was also pretty clear from WTT that he is very happy and proud to be an American and represent the country of his birth.
I didn't say HE is mocking his Russian heritage, but the posters here who are denying his connections to Russia 😉
His fluency sounds good, it was the Russians who said his Russian is "excellent", they will know better than us. The fact that he is bilingual ( he also talked about this) also means he has typical bilingual problems when switching languages, nothing out of norm. He said back in 2020 that he feels 30% Russian and 70% American. And he did talk about Misha being his idol, many times. You never watched his Insta lives?

His Russian interviews ( if the links work, idk how this works lol)

In 2020
https://youtu.be/llihrI55KW8

After the GPF
https://youtu.be/n99WoXxkdqY
 

karmena

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:lol: People aren't denying his Russian heritage. They are mocking the Russians for claiming him as one of their own. Those aren't the same thing.
...and, on the same time, no one of them claims poor Stephen Gogolev like their own.... even thought Gogolev is the one who learned his first steps in skating in Russia....ha! ha! it is as miserable as it is, Russians do not need him
It is undeniable that one needs to have a great success and then he/she will be claimed Russians... these claims are made in the arrogance at its highest! and, yes, why didn't Russians embrace that beautiful girl who skated for Russia, Ksenia Makarova?? Ha! wasn't it because she was not successful enough? of course it was so. Its miserable.
 
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Sylvia

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Translation of a new Ari Zakarian interview by sport24.ru's Konstantin Lesik (June 14): https://fs-gossips.com/ari-zakaryan...-it-would-have-raised-the-level-of-our-sport/
Excerpts:
How much should a quadruple axel be worth then?
AZ: I asked Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, Evgeni Plushenko, and Viktor Petrenko this question. They are all Olympic champions, people who know their craft. They all unanimously believe that its value should be increased. They mentioned a range from 15 to 22 points.
In reality, if the world had been properly informed that there is a guy named Ilia Malinin who performed quadruple axel at the World Championships for the first time, and if this element had been scored appropriately, it would have raised the level of our sport on a global scale.
Currently, figure skating is watched by fans, but we need figure skating to be watched by spectators. It would add popularity, money, sponsors, and everything would be good in the future. Unfortunately, marketing is severely lacking in our sport today.
If Ilia’s jump received the recognition it deserves, sponsors would come to American figure skating as well. Figure skating in Russia has gained significant traction over the past 5-6 years. Other countries don’t have that. In Japan, it’s popular largely because of Yuzuru Hanyu. And if the world knew about Ilia, it would only benefit the entire figure skating community. But our officials don’t understand how crucial of a marketing move it is for themselves, for everyone. It would bring tremendous income to the entire community.
In your opinion, does the figure skating community feel a lack of Russians, or are they happy to compete without them?
AZ: When phrases like “they would come and tear you apart” or “no one in Russia watches the World Championships because no one cares” are heard in international figure skating, such moments definitely do not contribute to public opinion.

Should we strive to establish contact regardless of circumstances?
AZ: There is no need to belittle or scorn anyone. I know examples where great figure skaters are asked if they will watch the World Championships, and they respond, “What is there to watch?” Such statements do not bring any honor. For example, I enjoy watching championships from various countries, even those not known for their strong figure skaters. It’s understood that the level is different there, but I’m still interested in observing how things develop.
It’s important to understand that the longer people in Russia say, “Everything is bad without us,” the more others will strive to prove, “We can manage without you.” The World Championships in Japan went quite well overall. There was a good level, and the men’s competition was simply stellar. It was the strongest championships in men’s skating. If our guys had competed, it would have been very tough for them. There was strong competition in ice dance as well. In womens’ singles and pairs, it’s clear that Russians would have contended for top positions.
 

Sylvia

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Blog interview with Ari Zakarian by Alisa Barladyan [link to her profile] (April 19, 2024):
 

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