Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Irina Slutskaya

TAHbKA

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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Irina Slutskaya for ria.ru (please click the orignal link....)

For most of the athletes their age is a relative number. No point hiding it – it’s all online. They don’t have time thinking of the past: the sports past decides upon their future life. It was the same case here. When asking about her age Irina shrugs:
IS: A round number? Oh well..
EV: any round number is a reason to recall. Do you often think of figure skating, I mean the part when you were competing?
IS: Not really. Sometimes the funs make me when they remind me: you were the first to do this and that, the others followed you. Often am asked about the Olympics so yeah, I have to recall that as well.

EV: Which one out of 3?
IS: The SLC of course. I can’t think of a more scandalous competition in our sports. Even the 2018 when the team were competing under a neutral flag. Because the judges were doing whatever they felt like. Take the gold medals in pairs – it’s insane re-considering the results and give the gold to two pairs.

EV: Had the two medals been awarded in the ladies - to Sarah Hughes and you, would you think differently?
IS: A tough question. But I think Elena and Anton were so much better, even despite Anton’s slight mistake. Am talking as a professional who spend 30 years in the sport. Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze were better than anyone else. They can’t even be compared to Sale/Pelletier.

EV: What as a professional you think was better?
IS: I think highly of Sale/Pelletier – they got to the top so fast – they beat everyone. But the Olympics are a competition where everything has to go right. Yes, there are moments when an athlete takes an ice and there is no one for him to compete with.

EV: Like Pluschenko in 2006?
IS: Well, you can’t argue that Olympics he had no competition? He was 10 points above everyone and it was obvious no one would get near. The same was in Sochi with Hanyu where he won even despite the falls. Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze were such a pair in 2002. Not just a pair, but a brand. Sale/Pelletier were more of a decent hard workers. Yes, they were skating great, just not great enough for that Olympic gold medal. Lena and Anton were spot on in every element, the programme integrated them so well, it was a whole that even Anton’s mistake didn’t ruin. When you inhale and after 4 minutes recall to exhale.
Besides, many times we forget that there are athletes, people who win despite the hardships. Lena and that terrible injury. No one even believed she would walk again after. Not only she came back on the ice but every competition she improved. So elegant, light as a feather who was flying above that ice…

EV: Following that logic the gold medal in Turino should had been yours – you came back from a terrible injury when no one believed you would come back.
IS: I failed an element in Turino, it was my fault. Though even before that it was obvious no one would let Russia win all 4 gold medals. It was easy to calculate. My SP was one of the most complicated, yet the judges made sure to hold back. We were already using the CoP and while the Japanese Arakawa got +2/+3 for every element I got a 0. Had I not fallen in the LP I wouldn’t get enough GOE to win the gold. Frankly, I let it go in Turino myself. I knew it was useless. That the medal was sold even before the competition began.

EV: One of my biggest impressions from these Olympics was you saying after the victory ceremony `yet another piece of Olympic metal. Nothing more’. How long did you need to come to realize it was an Olympic medal. That you must be proud of, because not many can have it.
IS: Those were the emotions of that moment. After all the Olympics are a competition you aim for during your whole life. That defeat is a tragedy.
Frankly, I don’t even remember how did I find the energy to work so hard further. Before the Olympics there were so many other things: the Worlds where I was on the podium not understanding why with two 3/3 combos I would end up 2nd or 3rd. Under a different circumstances I could had been a 5 times World champion, but I only won twice, because someone decided a Russian skater should not win in the USA. Why? Well, it’s rather obvious: USA is where all our business was – we were skating the shows a couple of months a year, the Olympic season they lasted April till August. That’s were we earned the money and the USA needed their own champions, their own stars so the public would come to these shows.

EV: Did you realize it only later or you knew it when you were still competing?
IS: Understood, but didn’t accept it. There were things going on in the sport that were hard to accept. For now I recall how I was heading to the airport and a phone rang. It was a girl from the rink, who was in the same group with me. She said `I wish you to [email protected]#$ up royally at the Olympics’.

EV: What do you think when you see the rivals hug on the podium and then tell how much they wish the other one did great?
IS: Frankly, I can hardly believe it. Only very strong people can keep it friendly after all that sports life. I was never friends with the girls who were in the team, yet I could always communicate with them – that was never a problem. With Elena Sokolova we still see each other in the training camps, wish each other happy birthday. Elena used to coach in my school. Not long ago I started speaking to Maria Butyrskaya. A couple of months ago we sat down and figured our relationship. It was a long and a complicated one: each would bite a piece of gold from the other. And then there were so many people who were among us who always set us against each other. She was told one thing about me, I was the other, according to them we were not far from ruining each other’s blades. Now, at our age it looks funny. However, at that moment it was a true rivalry, boarding with hate. Fortunately there were no social networks back then.

EV: Yet there was the situation with Harding/Kerrigan before the 1994 Olympics when one organized an attack on the other.
IS: There were enough situations in my career that I never spoke about. I was given doping – they were trying to kick me out from the team. In 1999 I didn’t make it to the team and more or less missed the season. After winning the Nationals I got a phone call from our doc Victor Anikanov, who said `Ira, please recall, did you take any medicine?’

EV: I.e. the sample wasn’t clean?
IS: Yes. Viktor Ivanovich knew I was a very `right’ person and before taking a pill I would call and recheck a 100 times. I am so afraid of the needles that I faint just seeing them. Hence the sample seemed odd to the doctor – there were traces of something that can only be injected. I immediately redid all the tests and they all came back clean.
Remember that story when at the end of 1999 someone burnt Maria Butyrskaya’s car? I was called to the police. I was sitting in the office with that huge dude, who not only explained how and when I did it, but that I will be jailed starting tomorrow. I was so afraid, you can’t imagine. I was recalling the day minute by minute, what I was doing, who I was with and was explaining why it couldn’t possibly be me…
In general the sports taught me no matter what happens you must always remain human. And deal with the defeats. It’s, let’s say, a valuable lesson to be able taking the hardships. Hence am not going to blame someone in my defeat in Turino – I landed on my butt, nothing to talk about.

EV: Had you won the Olympics in SLC would you retire?
IS: Absolutely. Perhaps I would had skated the Worlds, but that would be it. But guess it is decided above us. I was destined to win two Worlds and three Europeans and to try making it at the Olympics again and win another medal there.

EV: The short life of a skater is discussed all the time now. Do you reckon it’s ok Sotnikova and Lipnitskaya retired so early and now everyone predicts the same destiny to Zagitova and Medvedeva?
IS: I guess the right thing to say is that each has a different path. A different destiny and different decision. Every athlete has that moment when she has to decide: why keep skating when the little girls are stepping on your feet and they have nothing but the junior competitions behind them. They are fearless. But I was the same.
Do you think at the age of 16 I cared much beating the great and unbeatable Surya Bonaly at the Europeans? Not at all! I just went there and did what I could. It’s the thing to do at the age of 15-16. You go out there and you are free. Then the avalanche starts rolling over you when you owe so much. And you need time to understand that there is nothing to lose and you can just go on. But after the Olympics it was indeed hard to find the inner force.

EV: I.e. the skater with the highest chance if not repeat your longliveness but at least get anywhere near is Medvedeva, who lost the Olympics in Korea?
IS: I think she must stay. But the real question is this: next season Kostornaya, Scherbakova and Trusova will switch to the seniors. I am not sure how can they be beaten should they keep the elements they do now. Neither Medvedeva nor Zagitova will be given marks for their previous achievements. And their mistakes will not be overlooked. Now the judges support them a bit – many might not like it, but it’s the figure skating. As long as you are a World or an Olympic champion you will be supported. And it’s a right thing – it’s kind of a chance that the great athletes are given to overcome the hard period which always comes after a great victory. But it might not work for the next year. And then after Trusova/Kostornaya/Scherbakova there is a queue of at least five more athlete. I was lucky in that, of course. Even missing the season 1999 I came back to the same level of the technical complexity where all my main rivals stopped. What we see now is not the same level. And I don’t quite understand how will figure skating develop. I would hate to be in their shoes now, frankly. Though I more or less was. A couple of days ago I opened Tara Lipinski’s Instagram, where she published her skate from the 1997 Worlds. Such a energizer bunny who goes with no stops with a beaming smile and does all those combos and jumps. We looked almost handicapped next to her. Even though we were doing the 3/3 combos and all that. Hence on one hand you have to overcome when all goes wrong, but on the other hand understand that in order to remain competitive you have to progress. If you stop and remain on the same level things will not change.

EV: You were the first female skater to land a 3lz3loop - the combo that Zagitova won in Korea with.
IS: I was also the first to land a 3s3loop. Not because I was trying for some incredible difficulty. The system was different and did not demand the high complexity. You needed your five triples. The 3/3 was an advantage, but not necessarily. Hence the coach and I were not pushing things.
I started learning the 3A, but was injured – I fell back on the ice and am still afraid even the 2A. In 1998 Olympics I was doing a 3T3T combo, but it was always a tough jump for me. I would speed up through the whole ice, would jump the 3T from ¼ of the rink, because the second 3T was only possible if I had enough speed. Landing the combos with a loop was easier. Hence I started doing 3S3Loop and later a 3Lz3Loop. I was also doing a step sequence on one foot. I was also the only one who did two bielmann spins – all the rings and helicopters that give points now, were supposed to give points back then as well, but no one gave them. But still I kept doing them. I liked it.

EV: Surely there were things that you hated working on?
IS: That’s something to thank my mom. After every competition we would sit down and go through Michelle Kwan’s programmes in details. Mom would tell me stuff like: see, you beat her on a lutz, but she beat you on a spiral. Here while you are doing one jump it’s enough time for Michelle to land two.
Every day I was working on those spirals – I asked mom to help me with the flexibility. I was shouting as if I were butchered alive – it was so painful. When I realized am losing with the 2nd mark I started working with an amazing choreographer Elena Matveeva. The coach Zhanna Gromova kept saying: if you want to win you have to be two steps higher than everyone else. So I was working very hard. With the gym coach Viktor Kozlov we used to spend 2-3 weeks in the height every summer. A 1800m above the sea level – what used to be a ski resort where they would open two rooms and a dining room for us. The only thing around was a shop that opened once in five days and more or less the same with the post office. There are no people, no dogs, nothing, but two weeks of hard work. 5 hours every morning and 3 hours every event. I don’t remember how would I fall asleep – just drop dead on my bed. Every morning I would wake up with one thought: I’m done. Enough. Viktor Vasilievich would repeat `think what is your goal’

EV: Judging by the height you are talking about Courchevel?
IS: Are you kidding? Of course not. We didn’t even remotely had the money for that. There were no sponsors. For the JW that I won in 1995 the ice rink manager gave Zhanna Gromova and I 500$. That’s it! All the choreography, costumes, flights, coaches, food, expenses – I was paying myself with what I was earning. There was only once I was given money for the preparations – before Turino. But I didn’t get to use them. After the games I asked to use that money to pay for the costumes and the choreography and was told the money is gone – it was distributed among other athletes. Those were the times.

EV: Many don’t even remember it now.
IS: Those who want to find out will. Those who don’t – won’t even hear. More importantly – I don’t consider myself poor or pity worthy. Some things worked out, some didn’t, but am not sorry about a single day in my career.

EV: At what age have you realized you are the one who needs the figure skating and not your parents?
IS: I don’t even remember. Probably after the age of 20.

EV: And prior to that you were forced?
IS: Well, how should I put it. No one made me skate. Mom always repeated – if you don’t want to – don’t. Retire and don’t go to the rink. But if you do want to – work. Work hard. I was always scorned when I wasn’t working hard. I was going to the morning practice alone, but the evening practice my mom always watched how I was working. Someone will read the interview and think I had a crazy skating mom. No, I my parents are sane. And am forever grateful for teaching me working hard. And be accountable for my actions.
It’s easy really: every victory is a result of overcoming yourself. I don’t think there is an athlete who works day and night and says `I love doing this only. I love not having a live. I love homeschooling. I love being hungry when you can’t think of anything but the food’. Every kid is first of all a kid. The understanding why you do the things you do comes eventually.

EV: There is another side of the medal: the parents who beat their kids and make them work hard. Who live off their child and quit their jobs waiting when their child will provide.
IS: Unfortunately it happens quite often now. It’s obvious why – if you win the Olympics you get a flat, a car and a life long scholarship. Is it bad? Many come to Moscow from the regions and are willing to get all they can from their kid to get some contracts and earn money. On one hand nothing wrong with that if the kid is really talented. If the parents can see that talent and let the kid develop it’s one thing. When the parents are killing their kids for the result – well, god should be their judge. You can’t make your life based on your child. I take my kid. I understand my daughter is talented. She is small and thin. At the age of 4 she said `I want to be like mommy’. She absolutely loves skating. Well, if she loves it she can skate.

EV: Should her skating go really well will you be able to give up what you do and become a skating mom?
IS: What does it mean becoming a skating mom? Giving up my job? No, I will not. My projects? No, I will not. I will give everything up should, god forbid, my child be ill and my help will be needed. But to go such an extreme so a quite a big girl would attend the competition?

EV: I.e. sitting on the balcony and shouting `work, you lazy cow!’ is not your thing?
IS: That’s what the coaches are for. No, I’m kidding, but if I send my daughter to work with a specialist it means I trust that specialist. Though it’s harder for me – I can see from half a second when things are wrong.

EV: Poor coaches.
IS: Indeed some couldn’t take it. You know what my kids are lucky with? They have a grandmother who can explain anything and be very strict.

EV: What is your life right now?
IS: A lot of things. I still skate. Not so often. For ten years I have been participating Arakawa’s show in Japan. Am very well accepted and they always look forward for my coming.

EV: Does Arakawa herself skate as well?
IS: Yes, amazingly so. She is a mom of two kids. She is in a great shape, kudos to her! I work in the New Year shows like all the skaters. If previously I was joining other people’s projects this year am slowly coming up with my own in Dobrograde – a city in Vladimir region, we are skating on a frozen lake. Together with the local sports union I produce sports festivals in walking for the elderly people. It’s interesting, that the younger people start joining the project. I hold the kids competitions. In March we’ll hold a competition in Vladimir for the 4th time and for now 400 participants are expected. In the summer I hold training camps there. And now am starting working on a TV project, which I can’t yet reveal. And the politics. A lot of stuff.

EV: I can’t stop thinking of you saying you are still afraid of the 3A.
IS: Well, fortunately now it’s a historical jump. But I was landing the triple jumps easily last year.

EV: It’s not what I meant. Why do you need a 2A at the age of 40? To prove you are not yet an old woman?
IS: Ah, a good question. I like feeling in shape. Like a spring. I still land the loop and the flip and understand should I start practicing I’ll get all five triples back in three months. What for? I don’t know. Just that sometimes I really want to…
 

text_skate

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Reading that interview, it reminds me, Irina Slutskaya was and is my favourite Russian skater (she wasn't in her first outings, but she was growing constantly on me)
 

Japanfan

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I loved me some Slute back in the day - always rooted for her against Kwan - but WRT 2002 Pairs comp, Russian bias, much?

Also, she come across as bitter to me in this interview.:(

Lena and Anton were spot on in every element, the programme integrated them so well, it was a whole that even Anton’s mistake didn’t ruin. When you inhale and after 4 minutes recall to exhale.
No, Irina. Anton made a mistake.

Yes, they were skating great, just not great enough for that Olympic gold medal.
Erm, like it or hate it, they do have an Olympic gold medal -regardless of whether one agrees that they deserve it.

Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze were better than anyone else. They can’t even be compared to Sale/Pelletier.
They were, and they will be. They shared a gold medal with S/P.

That would be IYHO, Irina. If you had followed the discussion at the time, you would know that some people did believe the gold belonged to S/P. But many believed it could have gone either way. . .sorry.

Frankly, I let it go in Turino myself. I knew it was useless. That the medal was sold even before the competition began.
Under a different circumstances I could had been a 5 times World champion, but I only won twice, because someone decided a Russian skater should not win in the USA. Why? Well, it’s rather obvious: USA is where all our business was – we were skating the shows a couple of months a year, the Olympic season they lasted April till August. That’s were we earned the money and the USA needed their own champions, their own stars so the public would come to these shows.
O-kee-do-key, carrying on with the 'pity the downtrodden Russians' theme.

It’s easy really: every victory is a result of overcoming yourself. I don’t think there is an athlete who works day and night and says `I love doing this only. I love not having a live. I love homeschooling. I love being hungry when you can’t think of anything but the food’. Every kid is first of all a kid. The understanding why you do the things you do comes eventually.
This is what I mean by a sense of bitterness.
 
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Zemgirl

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Lena and Anton were spot on in every element, the programme integrated them so well, it was a whole that even Anton’s mistake didn’t ruin. When you inhale and after 4 minutes recall to exhale.
No, Irina. Anton made a mistake.
Which she acknowledged. She still thinks they skated a better program at SLC. Let's please not rehash that one.

That would be IYHO, Irina.
An interview with Irina Slutskaya will, not surprisingly, reflect the opinions of Irina Slutskaya. She's allowed to think that there was politikking during her career. Note that she also holds herself accountable for her own mistakes.
 

Domshabfan

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Which she acknowledged. She still thinks they skated a better program at SLC. Let's please not rehash that one.

An interview with Irina Slutskaya will, not surprisingly, reflect the opinions of Irina Slutskaya. She's allowed to think that there was politikking during her career. Note that she also holds herself accountable for her own mistakes.
I agree with you on this. It is always interesting when people want to hear want athletes really think, but once they speak their opinion and then they are branded bitter because it offended someone.
 

snoopy

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That’s some rough internal behavior she notes.

>>For now I recall how I was heading to the airport and a phone rang. It was a girl from the rink, who was in the same group with me. She said `I wish you to [email protected]#$ up royally at the Olympics’.<<
 

Zemgirl

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EV: It’s not what I meant. Why do you need a 2A at the age of 40? To prove you are not yet an old woman?
IS: Ah, a good question. I like feeling in shape. Like a spring. I still land the loop and the flip and understand should I start practicing I’ll get all five triples back in three months. What for? I don’t know. Just that sometimes I really want to…
Adult Worlds!!!
 

barbk

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"Not long ago I started speaking to Maria Butyrskaya. A couple of months ago we sat down and figured our relationship. It was a long and a complicated one: each would bite a piece of gold from the other. And then there were so many people who were among us who always set us against each other. She was told one thing about me, I was the other, according to them we were not far from ruining each other’s blades. Now, at our age it looks funny. However, at that moment it was a true rivalry, boarding with hate. Fortunately there were no social networks back then."

Nice that she and Maria have some distance from that. I think her comment about social networks is spot on.

Thanks for a great interview translation, @TAHbKA!
 

Lis

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Thank you for a great interview Tanja!

Irina is one of my favorite Russian skater. So interesting to read her comments.

I actually agree with her on many things. I wanted to throw my TV out the window when the gold winner was announced at the SLC OG hehe... The (Swedish commentator) was chocked too but the good part was, Irina then stayed in competive skating for a few more years.
I saw Anton and Lena and S/P live and it there was a big difference in skating skills so not surprised Irina talks about that either.
Its not the first time its spoken of that certain countries or skaters should be at the podium at the OG. Its well known
 

YourBorneo

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SP at OWG 2006 with 12 judges: 15 2’s for Arakawa compared to 19 for Irina

FS: 8 2’s for Arakawa (spread across more elements compared to the SP of course) compared to 9 for Irina

Arakawa didn’t have a +3 in the entire competition. 0 & 1 were very common among the top 3. Other than pointing out a failed element (the fall on 3Lo in the free program slow section), I don’t think Irina goes far enough in accepting personal responsibility for the outcome.
 

Finsta

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If she still believes she should won SLC Olympics she needs counselor. 😳. Worlds? No. She should watch her skating again. Her 3/3s sloppy and skating sloppy. Unfortunate she can not get over losses and see she was not winner. I feel sadness for her
 

stillalive

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EV: Surely there were things that you hated working on?
IS: That’s something to thank my mom. After every competition we would sit down and go through Michelle Kwan’s programmes in details. Mom would tell me stuff like: see, you beat her on a lutz, but she beat you on a spiral. Here while you are doing one jump it’s enough time for Michelle to land two.
Even her mother called her out on telegraphing the jumps :rofl:
 

Tinami Amori

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Love the thought that Slutskaya could have been the one to set fire to Butyrskaya's BMW:irina1: :EVILLE::watch:
That was a messy story, and i read all i could at the time. Maria's BMV was left outside of her apartment, where she usually parked. Her car was insured. It was Dec 24/25th, a practice day during Russian Nationals 1999. The witnesses reported that 2 boys, 16/17 years old, breaking the back window, and throwing a bottle full of liquid, which set the car on fire, burned back seats and the trunk. Maria stopped at her apartment between practices, then returned to her hotel near the skating rink (all skaters stayed there during the event) and got a call from police.

She immediately assumed the fire was arranged, basing it on the fact that "auto was insured, people must have known it, so the explosion was intended not to damage her property, but to distract her from skating at RN".

When questioned that night by police, she was asked to give a list of those people who may wish her harm, a list of "suspects". She put the name of Slutskaya almost on top of this list, and Slutskaya was called in for questioning. (Questioning by Russian police usually takes an "accusative" form). That was not right!

What Maria failed to presume and to know, is that in the late 1990's (the accident was in 1999), having an expensive car, possessions, money, brought a lot of envy and resentment and hate from neighbors, as the economy was going on decline and the "rich" and "poor" was becoming more obvious after the initial "free market economy boom, free for all" in early and mid 1990's.

All sorts of idiots "key" other people's cars, often specifically expensive cars, just to "stick it to the rich dude for having luxury"... sometimes even cause more harm. In Russia a lot of such happened. When i worked in Latin America, expensive cars were damaged often..

There could have been a lot of reasons why 16/17 years old boys from the neighborhood may want to blow up an expensive BMW... Envy, just for fun, on a bet, gang initiation, boys' drunken parents (neighbors) hated Maria, had a confrontation with her over something or a parking situation, many things.

Then in 2002 Maria's boyfriend was killed, and few other disasters came her way.... Certainly it was not Slutskaya who was after her..
 
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Michalle

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I am in awe of the skaters who made it through the Soviet Union/Russia transition and its aftermath honestly. Those seem like tough tough times and what is happening in Russia today with skating wouldn't have been possible without them. This goes double for coaches like Mishin and Moskvina.
 
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I find Irina's assessments of some of the results at past competitions rather inaccurate. First, her assessment of the outcome in Torino. I did not see anything wrong with the judges' decision to place Cohen ahead of Slutskaya in the short program. Yes, Irina had a difficult program (harder combo and difficult spins), but her elements were rather sloppy compared to her 'peak' years of 2000-02. Frankly she was getting scored very generously all year long, the SP result in Torino was quite fair to me. I'm not so sure if Shizuka merited such a high SP score, but I thought Fantasie-Impromptu was a great vehicle for her, she had top-notch execution on all elements except the lip, and she had the best skating skills among the top ladies. I'm not convinced at all with her opinion that the 'medal was sold even before the competition began'. She is not vastly superior over the rest of the field, like Plushenko, Totmianina/Marinin, or Navka/Kostomarov were. Nevertheless in the long, I actually thought Irina would have won if she didn't make mistakes.

"Before the Olympics there were so many other things: the Worlds where I was on the podium not understanding why with two 3/3 combos I would end up 2nd or 3rd. "

.. exactly what was she talking about?? I thought she was robbed at SLC, but she lost fair and square at all Worlds other than 2002 and 2005, when she won Worlds.

Finally I don't agree at all that Hanyu was way above Chan in 2014. It's only that the judges made it seem that way, and even then the margin was hardly unsurmountable.

But overall, that was a really enjoyable read. I am sorry Irina had to receive the 'hate message' from her training mate before the Olympics, and for the tense relations that she had with her rivals. Great to read her honest and heartfelt opinions.
 

Jarrett

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I think Irina has a valid argument that she should have been further ahead in the short program. She was so far ahead of everyone else the rest of the year and the year prior at worlds but when the Olympics comes around the judges practically tied all three. I understand her being bitter about a five triple program winning an Olympic gold medal but she also is being asked questions with follow ups. She is not writing a memoir venting all of her frustrations, cut her some slack.

She is not the first person to say B&S were better than S&P in SLC and all of those with that opinion are not Russian because I am one of them.

The story about being taken in for questioning for Maria's bombing attack is interesting, maybe she should write a book. Lol
 
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Japanfan

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She is not the first person to say B&S were better than S&P in SLC and all of those with that opinion are not Russian because I am one of them.
I'm well aware that non-Russians felt that B&S deserved the win - and some Russians went with S&P, actually. I followed the debates and discussions closely at the time and read innumerable analyses - in fact I checked off the planet for several days. Emotions ran high, and no clear consensus was reached.

Sandra Loosemore gave a very nuanced and insightful analysis of that comp.

In any case no point in flogging that dead horse any further. Such a situation would not happen again under CoP, and I think that the situation demonstrates exactly why the judging system needed to change.
 
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Vash01

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I loved me some Slute back in the day - always rooted for her against Kwan - but WRT 2002 Pairs comp, Russian bias, much?

Also, she come across as bitter to me in this interview.:(
She does complain about a lot of things. Some of them may be true. She did admit that she made a major mistake (fall) in the 2006 Olympics. I don't agree that Shizuka's Gold was predetermined. Shizuka had an opportunity, after Sasha fell twice, and she took advantage of it. She has a point when she complains about the 2002 result, because she was placed second (to Michelle) in the SP. Had they given her the correct placement (1st) she would have won the gold. That was hindsight, however.


No, Irina. Anton made a mistake.

It was only a step out; not a fall, or a single axel. One small mistake does not undo a good performance. It was not the kind of mistake that disrupts a performance. Irina was right. B&S were in a class by themselves, with many finer points in their skating. They were superior in so many things, like basic skating, posture, lines, transitions, and the most complex choreography in the entire competition. S&P skated an easy program because they could not handle a difficult one.

It's not a Russian bias. It is independent of anyone's nationality, except may be Canadians. Many fans all over the world will agree that B&S were the better pair.

I have seen S&P win unfairly at times - 1) with a fall (GPF 2001); 2) with a major mistake in the SP and a single axel in the LP, at worlds 2001 in Vancouver. Those were much bigger mistakes than Anton's step out, and S&P did not have better skating skills than B&S. Their positions were always an eyesore for me.

Your Canadian bias does not surprise me.


Erm, like it or hate it, they do have an Olympic gold medal -regardless of whether one agrees that they deserve it.
To me, B&S were the only gold medallists. I watched it in the arena. The result was correct until our media got into it and falsified facts (e.g. writing that they (B&S) fell, and replaying Anton's small mistake a million times to make people believe that one mistake negates an entire program). Jamie did her part, crying on the podium, and whining until she was given that gold medal. It was Given, not Earned. Even Shen & Zhao said that B&S were the real winners and S&P got the second gold by crying. So S&Z refused to attend that silly double gold medal ceremony.


They were, and they will be. They shared a gold medal with S/P.
Only because of politics.


That would be IYHO, Irina. If you had followed the discussion at the time, you would know that some people did believe the gold belonged to S/P. But many believed it could have gone either way. . .sorry.

Sure, fans always believe that their favorites should have won, even when the result says otherwise. I am among those who would have accepted if the result had gone S&P's way, whether I agreed with it or not. It was a close competition and it did not deserve the kind of outrage it generated. Scott and Sandra led the complaining as soon as the results were announced. When I returned to my hotel and turned on the TV, I could not believe their comments. They made it sound like B&S were third rate skaters, and how could S&P possibly lose (after skating their Love Story)?

B&S were classy and gracious even though they were treated unfairly. Very unlike whiny Jamie.

I don't know what IYHO is. First time I read that.


O-kee-do-key, carrying on with the 'pity the downtrodden Russians' theme.

How about the Canadians whining after every loss? Examples- frequent complainers Bourne & Kratz, Lloyd Eisler, and fans of Elvis Stojko (I don't remember if Elvis complained about the 94 results but his fans certainly did).


This is what I mean by a sense of bitterness.[/QUOTE]
You sound awfully bitter when it comes to Russian skaters- may be because they were winning? Fortunately for you, there are hardly any great Russian pairs, men or ice dancers now. So rejoice.
 

Japanfan

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Vash01 said:
To me, B&S were the only gold medallists. I watched it in the arena. The result was correct until our media got into it and falsified facts (e.g. writing that they (B&S) fell, and replaying Anton's small mistake a million times to make people believe that one mistake negates an entire program). Jamie did her part, crying on the podium, and whining until she was given that gold medal. It was Given, not Earned. Even Shen & Zhao said that B&S were the real winners and S&P got the second gold by crying. So S&Z refused to attend that silly double gold medal ceremony.
So you do want to rehash it again?

Do you have a source for S&Z saying that? What I recall is that they were disgusted because China had just won its' first bronze medal in FS and this historic event was entirely overlooked because of the scandal. So, the Chinese team went home.

I'm quite familiar with the arguments, and the Sale-hate that followed. But please - remember that Jamie's whining did not lead to the award of the second gold medal. You do remember what happened with the French judge?

Yes, to many B&S were the deserving medalists. But they were not all. As I said, I followed the debates and discussions (not only on this board), and it really was a 50-50 split for one pair versus the other. Although this board
was more for B&S, there were some here who preferred S&P.

And 6.0, not CoP, was the judging system in place at the time.

Your Canadian bias does not surprise me.
Well it should, as I often do not favor Canadians. For example, in 4CCs I rooted for S/H to overtake MTM. At the 94 Olympics, I rooted for Urmanov over Stojko. When Mao competed with Rochette, I rooted for Mao. Not to mention there are some Canadian skaters I don't care for, or root for.

And given Canadian bias - don't people in other countries have a similar bias for those countries' athletes? Or is it only the evil Canadians?

And IMO, B/S were over-rated, although I recognized that they were a great pair. But S&P were also a great pair IMO.

And Vash 01, they say your bias is Russian. And to me, it looks like some anti-Canadian bias as well (i.e. 'whiny' Canadian skaters).

Fortunately for you, there are hardly any great Russian pairs, men or ice dancers now. So rejoice.
Oh please, I have ubered many Russians skaters. Tuk Tuk is my fave lady at the moment, I've always been a Perkova fan. Loved both Yags and Plush (and Abt), though was firmly in camp Plush. Always rooted for Slute or Butyrskaya over Kwan or any Canadian lady. K/P 'Air' is one of my favorite free dances of all time, and D/M's 94 Free Skate another all time fave.


I am among those who would have accepted if the result had gone S&P's way, whether I agreed with it or not. It was a close competition and it did not deserve the kind of outrage it generated. Scott and Sandra led the complaining as soon as the results were announced. When I returned to my hotel and turned on the TV, I could not believe their comments. They made it sound like B&S were third rate skaters, and how could S&P possibly lose (after skating their Love Story)?
I didn't think Scott and Sandra made B&S sound like third rate skaters. It was just that they thought the clean program should have won. The two pairs were presented as equals going in to the competition, so the expectation that the team that went clean would the win over a team that did not go clean was understandable. One small mistake can make the difference first and second, although it is no longer so cut and dried under CoP.

Debbie Wilkes (commentator) said the decision was perhaps do to S/P bringing back an old program - which it could have been, in part.

And I think there was a lot of politics in play. This was an Olympics in North America, and the first time a North American pair had a chance to win in pairs - Russian pairs having taken every Gold in 40 years or more. The North Americans wouldn't give it up without a fight.

I have seen S&P win unfairly at times - 1) with a fall (GPF 2001); 2) with a major mistake in the SP and a single axel in the LP, at worlds 2001 in Vancouver. Those were much bigger mistakes than Anton's step out, and S&P did not have better skating skills than B&S. Their positions were always an eyesore for me.
Yes, I remember 2001.

But just because S&P won unfairly at those comps in your view does not mean S/P won unfairly at the OG.

How about the Canadians whining after every loss? Examples- frequent complainers Bourne & Kratz, Lloyd Eisler, and fans of Elvis Stojko (I don't remember if Elvis complained about the 94 results but his fans certainly did).
I don't think Elvis complained about the results. And this fan certainly did not. Urmanov was the rightful winner that Olympics, and I think plenty of Canadians agreed. I think he may have had slightly more difficult tech content, but not enough to offset the advantage Urmanov had artistically. Personally I thought Elvis's Dragon was a masterpiece artistically, but it could not compete against Urmanov's lyrical, classical style

Elvis did win worlds in 1994, so did get some redemption.
 
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allezfred

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I loved me some Slute back in the day - always rooted for her against Kwan - but WRT 2002 Pairs comp, Russian bias, much?
She is 100% correct. In terms of difficulty, there was no comparison between Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze and Sale/Pelletier. Under CoP, the bobble would have been a -1 or a -2. The Canadians couldn't handle the difficulty of their original free that season which is why they went back to Love Story.

Might want to check your own national bias on this. ;)
 
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I find it funny that Bute had the "diva" reputation during her competitive years, but in these recent interviews, Bute's analyses appear much more level-headed and thought-out than Slute's. :)

And 6.0, not CoP, was the judging system in place at the time.
Ditto. Let's judge the competition through the lens of the judging system in place in 2002. It doesn't matter what people think about which system is better.

With that said: I love both B/S and S/P, but thought B/S were clearly better that night.
 
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