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Figure Skating - Athletes
Tatiana Totmianina: «I CAN ADJUST TO ANYTHING»
 Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin
Photo © Alex Wilf
Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin

The two-times World champions were waiting for the event in Paris with noticeable worry. According to their training plan, they came from USA to Europe in advance. They performed in the show in Germany, and five days before the competition they came to the French capital so they can adjust and get ready. However, a series of mishaps happened.

Just before the flight the skaters were sick and the training schedule was a little disrupted. Their doctor and psychologist Elena Deriabina was worried because the event schedule was physically hard for her team, especially on Saturday. The pairs were closing the event while Totmianina and Marinin had to skate their free program a half an hour before the midnight.

Tatiana and Maxim drew last in the starting order and they had to wait for their turn for eight minutes because the of the long pause when the marks were given to Pang/Tong. The nerves let them down so much, you could see how lost they and their coach were after they skated - did they manage to win?

They did. Maxim was taking for doping control, and I came up to Tatiana.

- Your coach noticed that you were unlucky in Paris for several years. Did you think about it when you came on ice?

- I didn't have the feeling we'll be out of luck. We had many clean skates at practice and this naturally gave us confidense but skating last in the free program created certain tension.

- Does it matter for you so much when to skate?

- What can I say, it's not a superstition, but for some reason the thought were crawling in my head that a year ago, we also skated last at the first Grand Prix event, and it ended up very badly. So, it wasn't easy to focus here at Berci. In any case, I was more nervous than usual.

- Was it also because your main rivals skated right in front of you?

- When you enter the arena, you don't think about it. Of course, we saw and hear everything that was going on on ice, but it was sort of distracted. All the thoughts were focused on our own performance. Nothing bad happened, really. I could've not thought I can mess up the throw jump. I don't remember when it happened the last time. I just wanted to skate really well. It's our first event. We missed the competitions. Many skaters qualifed for the final already, and we are still waiting and waiting.

- What was going on in your life in the last month and a half?

- We flew to America after the test skates in Novogorsk. We had several exhibitions, but we weren't able to skate our new free program in public. We decided not to risk when we were in Japan as the flight was too long and tiring. Then we skated in the charity event where it didn't made any sense to push it extra hard. We skated the short program at the show in Japan. So, we mostly skated that program in practices. We build our work to gain strenght, skating the big parts of it and its model in entirety to train the breething.

- Are you going to fly to the Grand Prix Final in Japan directly from Russia?

- First of all, we didn't make the final yet. Second, last year's experience taught me not to predict anything. In any case, we are not going to return to America until March. It makes no sense.

- Is it more pleasnt to train at home?

- From the work point of view, it's the other way around. We are used to skating when we want and how much we want in Chicago. And we are working on the ice alone. In St. Petersburg, there are constant problems with ice, lighting, and even the ice makers. There are only 50 minutes given for the pairs, and pretty often 5-10 minutes of this time was simply stolen from us because the ice makers are not used to working according to the schedule exactly. Moreover, during the training for the serious competition, 50 minutes is not enough, especially when the country's top five teams are on the ice at the same time. Sometimes there were even more when we didn't plan for it and came to St. Petersburg from Novogorsk to try on the costumes. I can't understand how other skaters constantly work in these conditions.

- Still, you are gong for those same conditions anyway?

- We have a backup plan. Valentin Piseev promised that the base in Novogorsk will be open for the skaters until the Olympics and that we can spend as much time as we need there.

- It's very cold overthere!

- But is a closed base with the good food. What can we do? This year, everything is for the one and only goal, and we have to sacrifice our personal lives and convinience. If I have to, I'm ready to adjust to any conditions.

- Being isolated this way for a long time is a serious challenge. How long can you work like that without feeling discomfort?

- Honestly - a week. Then I start to suffer because I can't do my laundry. It's sounds funny but it's true. In this case, my mom usually comes from St. Petersburg, takes my dirty things to wash at home and comes back to Moscow again. On the other hand, our life is on the road and we are used to the hotels. Having hot water and a bed is important. I don't like the planes because I can't sleep there. By the way, the flights are even harder now so we try to keep them to a minimum

- Maybe it would make no sense for you to compete at Grand Prix Final if you make it?

- We don't have a right to decline it. I agree there would be too many competitions. Almost right after the final we have to fly to Kazan to the Russian Nationals.

- The first team in the country alway has the right to decline the Russian Nationals.

- I don't want any exceptions made for us. I don't think the federation will go for it. These are the trials.

- Do you follow other skating disciplines?

- With every year, the competitions get harder for us. We have to be so focused on our performance, we can't even talk about coming to the rink an extra time when it's not necessary. That's why I prefer not to think about the skating outside the pracitces. I go to the stores to take my mind off things and have fun.

- It's expensive.

- I don't go buy things, I just go to please my eyes. Anyway, I couldn't get distructed from the thoughts about work.


© Елена Вайцеховская, 2003
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