On figure skating
"Again, the scandals in Salt Lake City have caused the big loss to authority of figure skating. Maybe someone thought that interest about the Olympics will raise, but for figure skating it wasn't. In my opinion, the audience has got confused and has mistrust to all the event."
"It was no possibility to get out of the country. You have to disappear (i.e. escape) from the Soviet Union, or you can go into sports and get good results and see the world." [On FS in Soviet Union]
"Last year we had exhibitions in Sarajevo. And there on the screen have shown the record of the Valova and Vasiliev's Olympic program. Maxim Stavisky told: "Oleg, doing this program you can be a winner nowadays!" I agree, that the pair figure skating develops slowly. Why? Show me a coach who will give a good single skater to pair?"
"America is a big village. While the conditions for trainings are better there. But when the Academy of figure skating will be constructed, we will skate here [in St.-Petersburg]. Now everything we do, we do for a victory. "
"The owners of the house concerned to me very dearly. And I longed. I could not get used to a life in America - to a crazy rhythm. I remember, how I forced myself to study driving a car, in fact in the USA it is the only way of transportation. I wanted a solitude, my own habitation." [On "American hospitality"]
"I think, that we couldn't get used never. It is absolutely other culture, that neither soul, nor the body does not perceive and tears away. We have grown in one country, and there we have simply arrived to comfortable conditions to work."
"We always consider Chicago as a place of long business trip. Simply at home we haven't such opportunities for trainings. We expect the end of construction of Academy of figure skating with impatience. It's much more comfortable to live in Russia."
"I calm myself that the person is a cattle which gets used to everything. Faster to good. The first year was the most difficult. And then we made friends. And life for us, as well as for the majority of Americans, - first of all is work. Now we are not ready to come back - here is easier to live."
"We have come to train in the States because we could not train on the native land. So it was better for us and for our results. But we have always acted for the Russian team! Moreover, I'm sure: if not America, we've never become those who we are now. Though I do not exclude that already in the future season we shall finally return to St. Petersburg to train there."
"I really can't meet a girlfriend because I don't like americans! They like hamburgers a lot..."
: "If we talk about in general [about people's perceptions], about all Americans who watch figure skating, I don't think they know us as humans, as a people." [About American fans]
"At the end of my career I'd like to live in St. Petersburg. I don't like Moscow and America is too boring. Besides that, the Petersburg's registration is necessary to make easier to receive visas. In America I have rented the apartment in Chicago and now I live alone."
"Of course, it's better in Russia. But what should we do, if all our good coaches live there [in America]?!"
"We like skating here [in St. Petersburg]. The audience here is warmest we've ever seen."
On the Chineses
"Everyone talks about "the Chinese syndrome", a fashion on the Chinese skating. I do not know, whether there is a fashion on Chineses - nobody tries to imitate them. But Chineses try to imitate Russians! Look at the music from ballet. Of course, their technical level is height. Nevertheless the style is ours."
"I won't dissemble: to bypass the Chineses is simply impossible today. First of all because it is nothing new to do. The second, because they are Chineses."
"It is uneasy to bypass the Chineses nowadays. However our programs are well too: two triple throws, two different triple jumps, our lifts are more difficult... But the pair figure skating cannot be reduced only to the elements even ideally executed: when two people skate it is always partly art. Therefore we try to work more above expressiveness of figure skating."
"Sometime they'll kill each other. And we didn't swear at them. Simply there are some frameworks which it is impossible to leave. They do."
"Since 1964 the Olympic champions in pair skating were only Russians. Probably, now everyone want something new, it doesn't matter who will win, the main thing that it won't be Russia."
On the new judging system
"Everyone understands that it is absolutely other approach. But someone doesn't understand the mechanism of work of this system. Perhaps, technical elements estimate more objectively. Criteria of artistry is missunderstood till now. But the same was in the old judging system."
On the falling at "Skate America"
"I don't remember how I fell. I just remember being on the ice (before I fell), but how it happened I didn't remember. In pairs skating you fall sometimes. Not once in your life, but a couple of times. Actually, it wasn't something unusual; it was just a simple lift. It wasn't successful."
"Sometimes I envy Tania: women experience stressful situations another way! I always respected her, now - even more. In hospital I have seen her with a huge bruise, she looked at me one eye and at the same time she tried to smile, speaking that everything is ok!"
"Just wait, me and Max will come back – of course. What do you think, I'm going to die?!"
"To be afraid? If so, it's nesessary to finish skating. But I decided: let it becomes simply a vital stage. It wasn't something unusual. It is necessary to overcome this stage and everything will be ok."
"I understood that I was alive and we can still do what we did before. Why should I blame him? I know it's painful for me, but it was more painful for him."
"It's like you're watching a movie. You still
can't believe that it's you. I didn't sleep the whole
night. When I closed my eyes, it was still running
around in my head."
On signs and rituals
"We are trying not to do any rituals. Imagine, if something goes wrong?! Suddenly you should wait for superfluous minutes before skating, and you have already executed the ritual. It is better to live in the present time and to try to operate on a situation."
"Any sportsman doesn't admit to you the superstitions. All of us are inspired: someone more, someone less. In our world many sprinkle themselves with sacred water, carry talismans. But to speak publicly about it is not accepted."
"We are religious and also go to church. However, in Chicago the Russian orthodox church is opened on holidays or when we train. I could get there only once. But in St. Peters it happened more often. Maxim trusts in God too."
"I was christened in Volgograd, not in the church as it is necessary, but in the handicraft image. When I have grown and moved to Petersburg, there was a real christening in the Vladimir church. My godmother is Tania's mum, Natalia Vasilevna."
On their instructors
"Of course, we need time to understand each other. The main thing - we want to train, it doesn't matter who is your coach, he won't skate instead of you. And Oleg managed to direct our energy to the necessary channel. I think, our cooperation is a great advantage: it is interesting to him to experiment with us. And if something is impossible, Oleg does not hesitate to invite people to help him. Believe me, not each coach is capable to overcome his own vanity."
"To put a female part of the program which Oleg represents only theoretically, he often consults with his partner Elena Valova. Sometimes she comes to help me with death spirals, throws and lifts, to prompt something, proceeding from her own feelings. It is pleasant, that Oleg always tries to understand, why something is hard to do. It has never been sometning like "you are lack of talent, and I am an ingenious coach."
On their off-ice relationships
"We spend too much time together on trainings to meet also at the leisure time. After trainings we prefer to have a rest from each other. It is better for our results. When we arrived in America, the conditions was complex enough, and we have had argues quite often. It became easier to live only when we spent some time in America."
"We are connected with business relations. The majority of pairs, certainly, become couples in life. Sometimes the feelings begin in the first minute being together, but in my opinion, it happens because we haven't got enough time for our private life."
"I am the fighter of contract service, today I work here, tomorrow - there. Nobody doesn't want to wait for such person, that is why I don't have a constant girlfriend. I don't communicate with anybody for long."
"To be in a good mood a woman have to change somethingin herself. I would say, her basic applicability - to look well."
On each other
"Every day there were the infinite tears, the scratched hands, well though not faces, complaints that I am bad and constantly offend her. Periodically we abused and sometimes wished to stop teamwork. But when we cooled down we understood, that were not right and recognized the mistakes. In general Tania is good person, but very uneasy, especially she's Scorpio on the Zodiak. Well, for so many years we already have got used to each other. Now I know when it's better to keep silence and when it's not necessary." (On their first year together)
"He's pretty handsome."
"She's really beautiful. I think girls need to change themselves. It is good for their emotional conditions. Tania became easier and friendlier."
"Women are complex. The main thing is to feel good. I have never seen Tania with long straight hair, because naturally her hair is curly. But I like it. Other people like it too. I wonder why people say that all men like
blondes? The color of hair does not matter, the main thing is what kind of person she really is." [About Tania's long hair]
"There were good and bad times, but we've always believed in success and supported each other. That's why we probably also have reached the Olympic top. I'm sincerely touched by the gesture of my partner who has thanked me, having kneeled and kissed a hand." [At the Olympics]
"To combine personal and work is hard for us. Well for example. At the competitions we live together. Before the performance Tania likes to take a walk all over again, then to have a sleep. And me on the contrary. She'll come from a party and wake me up. Then I do. And as a result both of us haven't a rest. Or Tania madly likes shopping. Even without money, simply to resemble, to look at beautiful things, to dream, that she will buy it when it'll be an opportunity. This idea inspires her. But tires me. I don't like to choose long. When I go to a shop I precisely know what I want. And we have solved: first of all - the business-interests and then already the private life..."
"...We have separated private life. And we do not get each other. Therefore we have not quarrelled."
On the Olympics
"I feel the atmosphere inside the ice rink was going up, so it was like a stone fell off my shoulders when we finished. It was just more concentration on the skating. Maybe that looks like I am really nervous, but it is not that."
"We have made all we could. We've received our maximum points in the career for the long program. In the sum the record also has turned out. Before departure to Turin we have looked what elements should be finished and which it is possible to strengthen. As the main reserve have counted emotional filling. We wanted the crowd to stand up and applaud us!"
"We did not think that we shall win. We simply tried to show the best skating. And to explain what I feel... I have no words. Olympic gold is the purpose to which hundreds, thousand people aspire, and units reach. We send in addition. I'm sure, we have deserved it."
"Truly, it's not ostentatious. I did not want to cry, but so it has turned out. Max and me have given too much to reach this victory."
"I drove from myself ideas on a victory. You pile the loading on yourself which is not absolutely necessary to you. When evrybody goes around you, clap on a shoulder and speak: Go, go, Russia did not lose for years! But we knew on what we are going. When the program has finished, Tania approached me and speaked: Imagine, that is all! That all has already ended! I looked she was stunned, and I could not believe. The fairy tale has ended. Amazing..."
Quotes on them:
"If I were them, I wouldn't do it! Tania and Maxim are the leaders. Therefore it is a sense to remain even for a couple years. To compete, to win gold for the country. If so, in fact they will regret if stop. But maybe they simply got terribly tired for these years..."
Maria Butyrskaya on their decision to turn professionals
"Specially for them I have created 30 versions of "Romeo and Juliet". We have worked above this melody a lot till haven't found the best version. We managed to reach that music emphasizes each movement of skaters, they made with music a whole on ice. Their performance was such great because they were in harmony with the music."
Adwin Marton on the Olympics
"It was a really brilliant performance. It was the highest achievement. And performance from the beginning up to the end has passed in a very high rate. When I observed of this pair, my breath has simply intercepted."
Katarina Vitt on the Olympics
"Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin beared an unbelievable psychological cargo: being in the lead after the short program, they have remained as much as possible self-controlled and not having admitted any mistake, which the judges for certain would treat in favour of the Chinese sportsmen, became the Olympic champions. They have proved, that the domestic school of figure skating still remains the best in the world."
Leonid Tyagatchev, the ROC president, on the Olympics
"The fact that Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin will become the Olympic champions was clar for us because of their shape in the previous competitions. Many can envy to their courage with which they met all the problems, going to protect sports honour of the country, honour of Russian figure skating. Sincere congratulations on a brilliant victory, it is necessary to give due to new Russian Olympic champions 2006 in a pair figure skating for their human courage, diligence, filigree skill, a "staunch stability" of execution of the highest professional level and backbone."
Liumila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov on the Olympics
"I love their new program. Nevertheless I don't count it as a "leap" but as a next step to the Tourino podium. They go to this podium slowly and tormently."
Artur Verner, the journalist
"When I first saw Tatiana and Max perform, they were very tentative and did not relate so well to the audience. This was a difficult task to overcome, but with their hard work ethic and increased confidence, now they are able to connect with the audience and allow them to feel the passion that they have in their skating. We are now beginning to get a sense of their personalities on the ice, which is drawing people to them."
"Very beautiful and stable pair. Stability. I know, how many works stands up for this word. And guys are doing well, I wish them all the best."
"They are actually very perspective young guys but now it is still rather early to fight for gold medals at Olympic Games because there are some lacks of skating and elements. The main thing: actually they are people who will skate and win after we will turn professionals, and there will be other Russian pairs."
"I agree, their skating was too cautious today, there was no shine. But don't forget what stands after this - a dramatic falling in the beginning of this season. Anyway, I due to them. I like very much their soft skating, in the best Russian traditions. It has won technical but not too bright pair."
Irina Rodnina about WCH 2005
"If there won't you, further a comma, Oleg Vasilev, sing him Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin. And with you, Oleg Vasilev, there won't be Elena Valova, and with you, Valova - Vasiliev, there won't be your coach Tamara Moskvina, and with Tamara Moskvina there won't be her partner, Alexey Mishin, and with them there won't be their coach, Igor Borisovich Moskvin, and with him there won't be Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin, etc. If there won't be all of you, what should we do?!"
Vasili Soloviov, the journalist
"They are really great guys! They have noticeably grown in skill, change the level. They have changed music, began skating more gracefully, more confidently, and also, that is very important, more stably."
"The main thing - Tania and Maxim became partners. They became contant with each other. In fact in pair skating it is possible to be simply assistants, and it is necessary to be partners. Look how they skated earlier: he is good, and she is good. But a little bit separately. Now the pair became more harmonious, beautiful. And the beauty in figure skating is the most important thing. Skaters who skate beautifully, never become old!"
"Notice that our subjective impressions and it can seems, too strict judgements and requirements, are based not on amateur criteria, but on professional: as it seemed to us, the coach of Totmianina and Marinin, excellent prepared a technical part of the program, has connected the monotonous musical background precisely corresponding on duration of the program. We realized all importance of a choice of music and that without musical mood there is no art. We have worried for them, waiting something but we have not seen it. The pair is a dancing dialogue, the main thing is contact to each other, not mechanically when he lifts her or holds her hand, but musical, choreographic and spiritual. We read interviews of these awesome sportsmen, dreaming to return back gold medals of world championships. But with such musical program (even with ideally correct skating) it will be very difficult to do it in struggle against the Chinese world champions.
Liumila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov
"Your skaters are ewesome. Other level. The phenomenon."
Sandra Stivenson, the journalist
"It is sad that our 2nd couple didn't take the place on the podium, but also it is naturally. The Chinese pairs proved that they CAN do the most difficult elements and claim for the Olympic medals. The coach should be engaged in a problem of endurance right at the beginning of a season, however it does not happen. The result is that guys didn't become. Besides, Alexey is 33 or 34 years, as for me I know how it's difficult to do complex elements which are the modern programs of Olympians are sated by." [About Petrova-Tikhonov at the Olympics]
"I think Slutskaya was too nervous. Ladies single skating was the last discipline at the Olympics, it was long waited. Besides all the Russian sportsmen applying for gold medals have received them. Irina thought that nobody will "give" her the first place. All the season Ira was on a head above the competitors. From my position I do not see occasions for excitement because if you are really strong, it is not important when do you go skate: in the beginning or in the end." [About Irina Slutskaya at the Olympics]
"The gold medal of Shizuka wasn't something unusual. During the last 4-5 years in Japan there is an obvious rise of ladies single skating. There are some sportsmen who are capable to win a medal, one of them is trained by me, therefore on her example can say about Japanese skaters. In Japan people endow all for the sake of sports. If a skater goes for a medal, it she practises 24 hours per day of 7 days per week." [About Japanese skaters"]
"The winter Olympics is the great celebration. I've taken part in two Olympics - in 1984 and 1988. This time there will be 80 countries to take part - the absolute record. The Russian skaters have a chance to win 4 gold medals."
"When you're doing a performance in front of 10,000 people and you fall really hard, it stays in your mind an extremely long time, a very long time. Maybe for the rest of your life." [On the falling at "Skate America"]
"In the beginning, they were more like a cat and a dog. They fought; one would say, "I like red color." The other would say, "I hate red". With their personal relationship, you weren't able to see that; nothing was there. It was just very good work, very good elements, strong jumps and throw jumps, maybe not very strong lifts, but still good, but nothing else. But eventually, like family, when you spend a lot of time with someone, you understand each other better. They worked together and they worked hard together. So
it is good. Maybe because they are working together, they are both changing."
"Tatiana and Maxim fight with themselves at every tournament.The task is extremely simple: to skate better than previous time. It's not important who goes on a step below you."
"A pair skating is technically very difficult sport. As last events shown, sometimes it's dangerous. Plus the problem of psychological compatibility in a couple. It's easier to skate alone. Now the pair skating of a decent level remains only in Canada, in the USA it revives efforts of the Russian coaches. Moreover China rises rough rates, using the Soviet technique approved by years. There is all preconditions to that the number of the countries-participants in a pair skating will be reduced even more strongly."
"It's absolutely other approach, other philosophy. Everything should be estimated later. Technical elements are judging more objectively now. Criteria of artistry are still unpredictable. But situation like this was for years: in Salt Lake City and in days of my performances."
"There was a psychological struggle in which my students were better. There is such hackneyed phrase in figure skating: "The short program cannot be won, but it is possible to be lost". It has happened. I do not know, that Chineses wanted to do - I don't understand Chinese, but the fact is - they haven't sustained a nervous pressure." [On WCH 2004]
"Everything was free. Coaches were free. Skates were free. Ice was free. Costumes were free. The government took care of it. But after we started making money, government took money as well."
"When it was a big competition on TV, the streets were empty. Every family was watching figure skating. Everyone knew names and the results." (On FS in Soviet Union)