Interview with Bobrova/Soloviev


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Marina Chernysheva-Melnik's interview with Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitrii Soloviev for

* the interesting part: Ilinykh/Soloviev will announce what are their plans in February 2020. The rest is kind of fluff.

MCM: There are a lot of worried talks now about the Russian athletes not being allowed to the Olympics in Japan and China. You were in the similar situation in 2018. Taking the meldonium story - did you feel there was a risk not making it to Korea?
DS: Of course there we were on the edge that season. On one hand - all the accusations were dropped. On the other hand there were so many years of hard work, pain, problems and it all could be for nothing in one moment with no reasons given. I don't think we were in a more danger than our teammates. But yes, we were down and didn't understand whether there was a point continuing working. The coach seeing our state said `guys, either we are working here or get out from the rink!'. Those words shook us - Zhulin is usually very cautious in his words, but here he showed the emotions - at the right place and time. Katia and I decided we'll do all we can and got back into training. We were in the top shape for the Olympics and were ready for any decision. After the training camp in Japan once we were at the Olympic rink we knew it was all up to us.

MCM: What can you advice the athletes who are in that state now?
DS: It's tough when other people decide on your destiny. I think you should just keep doing your job.

MCM: Katia, when did you decide to retire?
EB: When I realized I wanted to have kids and my husband and I made the decision. For my second family - Dmitrii and the coaches it did not become a surprise - I said in advance I would be retiring after the Olympic season. Fortunately it was not a retirement because of an injury or a misunderstanding. Just a human will that became my priority. Fortunately it all worked out well.

MCM: The spring 2018 you said you were stopping competing but not retiring. For almost a year your fans were waiting till you made the final decision. When have you realized that you were done with the sports?
EB: In 2018 I couldn't really admit it right after the Olympics. you see, finishing the competitive career is a tough decision. For 25 years I was an athlete, I lived to reach the goals together with the team. It's really hard to finish that stage and be done. Dima and I discussed it a lot - he wanted to keep competing. He thought may be I'll skip a year and after giving birth will leave the kid with the nanny and come back. But after becoming a mother I understood I wanted to raise my child. Hence I was sure am retiring. Am now watching the competition and not sorry at all that am not there. But it's just me.

MCM: Dmitrii, will you come back to the competitive sports with Elena Ilinykh or someone else?
DS: There are so many questions about that in the recent months am afraid to open the social media. Let's put it this way: Lena and I will announce what are our plans at the beginning of February 2020. Right now am not willing to announce anything.

MCM: Katia, how do you deal with the shows and being am om?
EB: A huge thanks to the grandparents! If my husband and I take the kid with us somewhere at least one of our parents travels with us. My husband also skates in the shows, so during the night practices and the TV programmes the parents really help us out. I don't know how would we deal without them.
It happens that I'm the only one who travels while Andrey stays home or the other way around. Sometimes we both have to travel just for a couple of days and then there is no point dragging the child with us. So he stays with the grandparents. We haven't yet looked for a nanny - it's nicer when he is with our relatives.

MCM: Are you taking him to your shows?
EB: Of course, he enjoys watching it and he can feel. He is always quiet when there are love scenes on the ice and shakes his limbs when something fun happens there. Not long ago I took him to `R&J' in Malta and he was sitting under the raincoat. Am sure he understood it all. I hope he'll like the next children ice show.
We don't watch the TV at home, so he doesn't know what the cartoons are. The live shows on the ice with his parents and their friends is a wonderful replacement.

MCM: Which shows is your husband participating
EB: We have a big ice family of Ilia Averbukh and Andrey is, of course, part of it. He has different parts - individual and group parts. In `Morozko' you'll see him as a witcherer, he'll be skating with Kristina Astakhova. We are trying to participate the same shows and travel together.

MCM: Do you plan for your son to become an athlete?
EB: Depends on him. It's important for him to really love the sport, await the practices, enjoy them. We missed the swimming already: they should join the pool at the age of 6month, he is already 8. Because of the travelling we can't take him to the practice. But at any rate I want him to be able to swim and skate. It would be weird if a child of two professional figure skaters who met thanks to the sports would not be able to skate. But the choice will be up to him. And perhaps he will not become a professional athlete.

MCM: Dmitrii, what does your son do?
DS: Hockey and he is pretty good at that. Am glad he didn't pick figure skating - he is more into the team games.

MCM: Do you keep in touch with your coaches?
DS: Of course, they are our second family. We lived through so much with Zhulin, Durnev, Petukhov and Ionov! We always trusted each other and could discuss anything. Sport sometimes creates relationship of a `coach' - `working material'. Once the working together comes to an end there is nothing left to talk about. People just call each other to congratulate and say hello when walk near by. I know a lot of such coaches and am glad our team is different. It's a family that stayed with us. Katia and I are still very fond of our coaches, we come visit them. It's people that we want to go back to.

MCM: What about a professional collaboration with Zhulin's team? As a coach or choreographer?
DS: For now am not thinking of coaching. Doing shows is much more interesting. But yes, I can choreograph a programme, I had my experience with Sergey Voronov. I am also often invited to various master classes in different cities. I advice the young athletes what to pay attention to, what the ice dance judges would note. A lot of skaters say `the jumps are not working for us'. I think if the skater can't skate the jump will not help. It's important to show the gliding, the choreography, the feeling of the music, the edge control. Especially in the ice dance.

MCM: Katia, last season you were commenting the competitions on the TV and took acting classes. What are your interests besides your family and figure skating?
EB: It was a great gig while I was pregnant and couldn't skate. It's a great experience and the acting classes helped to struct the speech. This season it just doesn't happen - all the important competitions collide with our shows. And if the competitions are during the weekend it's more important for me to spend the time with my family. I hardly ever see my parents, my sister. Except for the shows my husband and I invest a lot of time in our skating school. You can't do everything at once. But I might keep commenting. I'll be in my future plans.

MCM: Dmitrii, you are a professional photographer. Have you thought about blogging?
DS: it's my hobby. I have a lot of material sitting on my shelf that I should organize, produce and show the world. Perhaps I'll have time to do it soon. I also want to try some new lenses. I'm self taught and I just love the process. But it's a hobby that was never supposed to become a job. As for the blogs - I understand it's a trendy thing now. My friends are telling me my instagram account is all wrong because there is no concept. But my social networks are just for the public events I participate. If I do some ads it's not much and only for the particular things - for example when there is a new ice show. I don't really like photographing everything all the time - where am I, what do I eat and what do I think about. I don't share everything that goes on in my life, some things should remain private.

MCM: You have two main parts in two Averbukh's shows. Tell me about it.
EB: Not long ago we did a `Jesters' wedding' in Malta. I was depicting the Empress Anna, Dima - her favourite Biron. It depicted an amazing historical atmosphere, the play! We were skating on the open rink and even when it started raining the audience remained.
DS: It's nothing like Averbukh's previous shows. The 17-18th century Russia is not really known on the stage. Am ashamed to admit, but I hardly knew anything about these times, but I had to educate myself to play the part. Ilia had a tough job - to set a play on the ice that he was given and not that he chose. It was obvious how hard it was for him. All and all it's not really a show but the colours of these times, the people. The Empress Anna and her surrounding - are people who left a mark in Russian history. Now we are working on another show - `Morozko' based on a folk tale.

MCM: How does Averbykh decide on the roles?
DS: He always chooses people who would suit the most. He doesn't go after his personal preferences nor the medals. For example there is no `Yagudin is the most famous, he should be a Romeo'. With all the respect to Alexey - he is no Romeo. Maksim Marinin, on the other hand, is.
EB: He is a well deserved Romeo!
DS: Except for the actual skating there are also acting skills, the relationship between the partners and the characters. Everyone should be in their place. We bring a lot of ourselves as well. When Ilia starts a new project he sets a goal for everyone and then we get into the character and get creative.

MCM: Are there roles you would love to play?
DS: A crazy one. A jocker for example. Something unreal, that never happened on the ice, to go crazy!
EB: I don't think that far. I only started working as an actress in the ice shows. Ilia is watching me playing the good and the evil characters.

MCM: Perhaps some general ideas? A lot of artists dream of certain characters: a ballet dancer would dream to be a white swan or a Carmen, an actress - a Julietta etc.
EB: Nope. Am good with what Ilia sees me doing. Am sure he'll come up with a lot of interesting things. Perhaps he'll even write a story about our pair.

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