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    Pasha is the Living Legend

              “Deutsch-Russischer Kurier” November/December 1998. Translated by Svilen Mitev



                                                   Dedicated to Oxana Grishuk-PASHA

          To you feet the flowers of the whole word are lying
          Down to you feet heaven, earth and ice have humbled
          Your star has risen like the sun at morning
          Your star has risen and will never tumble.

          Let God guard you for ever
          Let the mountain peaks
          Be conquered by you altogether
          The star shining over a life’s path is you-
          You are our Olympic Star.

          Let the invisible light of your hair
          Illuminate the raw ice for ever
          Don’t go away, Pasha, without you
          Even happiness isn’t here to stay.

          Who shall be smiling and singing on the ice?
          Who shall, not knowing self-compassion
          Skate the harsh, cold ice again?
          Don’t part! Boredom shall then trail its way-

          Don’t go away, just stay awhile
          Skates and ice subside to you
          Don’t quit- don’t let the sun stop shining
          And its light endure in the darkness glowing.
                                                                                 (unknown fan).

    When emerging on the ice Pasha marvels the audience with her true frankness, brilliant technique and persistently new ideas. She is the only Lady who has won the 26 gold medals – every competition since 1994 was a goal for her -  four in world championships and sensational two at the Olympic Games. No one had ever before shown such a successful performance in the history of ice-dancing. Three Government Warrants eternalized Pasha as a national heroin. The Russian President expressed his deep gratefulness in respect of her at many audiences at the Kremlin in the name of the whole nation for her achievements in the development of ice-skating. Pasha (Oxana Grishuk) became together with her partner the first champion of the democratic land and held this title until the triumphant Olympic Games in 1998 in Nagano. Her style mirrored both the changes, taking place in her home-country and these all over the world. So she marveled it at the Olympic Games in 1994 at Lillehammer with her new art of skating – in spite of performing classical ballet-fragments, she danced burning Rock´n Roll, which was bewildered not only by the audience but also by the demanding experts and firm judges. The twenty-two-years-old Pasha, the youngest Olympic Champion in ice-dancing ever.
    Pasha was called “The Ice Goddess” in an interview with the German television after her second Olympics Gold and this title is the one she still holds in mass-media today in Europe.
    Her performances carry a flair of their own – Pasha´s every movement touches her fascinated observers deeply and the impact evoked seduces them in to the world of their art; it lets them compassionately understand her own feelings, sink into dreams and bewilder her.
    This is the reason why Hollywood shows high interest in her performances. An unforgettable moment in her life was the presentation of the film “Titanic” in Hollywood, where she was invited as an honorable guest. A beauty of Ukraine-Russian-German origin has become the “Marilyn” on ice.
    The love towards sports and art emerged in the very early years of Pasha´s life. Her mother, Ludmilla Robek, now living in Cologne, was in those times a student of the University, and later graduated the second one “University of Arts”; Pasha´s father was a football-player. For some sad reason the young twenty-three-years-old father was more interested in football, than in the upbringing of his little daughter – he left his wife and his daughter at six months after Pasha´s birth. She was to experience all the difficulties an average Russian know mighty well: suffering and half-hunger – it was a hard life on a student’s stipend. At the age of only nine months she learned walking and always held a pillow in her arms so as to fall smoothly. At the age of two she watched ballet dancing on TV and copied the movements she had seen from the dancers. As she grew older, she helped her mother a lot and at the kindergarten she was faithfully devoted to her friends and attentive to the teachers. When she was four, Pasha began skating on ice. This was in Odessa on the  ice rink in the city park. Her first coach was Valentina Kasjanowa. Pasha was invited at the age of ten for a performance in Dnjeprodserschisk, where Brejnev celebrated his anniversary. The leader of the Great Power was enthusiastic about the “Little Wonder” and asked for an extra. Though only one performance had been trained she improvised the second. But it occurred that the latter was even better than the rehearsed one. From that moment on Pasha´s career began. She and her mother moved to Moscow where she was trained at the “Dynamo” sporting club by the coach Jelena Alexandrowa. It was the same ice-rink where the future Olympic Gold medallists Natalia Linichuk and Genady Karponossov were trained. After Natalia began with her coaching career, she invited Pasha to her group. Though it was a joyful moment in her life, it bore also a painful hue – it wasn’t easy to change both a coach and a discipline, and thus to part from single skating to ice-dancing. Her first partner was Alexander Chichkov. With him together she won the Silver Medal in 1987 and the year after the Gold Medal of the  World Junior Championships. This was the first step on her ladder of lightning triumph. Natalia Linichuk said the following in an interview about Pasha: “She’s a genius!” It was vitally important to have a coach like Natalia Linichuk, who saw in her trainee’s face a future world champion and was convinced that Pasha would accomplish more than she herself had. Pasha had become for Natalia a child of her own. Pasha’s and Natalia families were very well acquainted.
     Pasha was trained by many different coaches, but after all remained the trainee of Linichuk.
    In the season 1996-1997 Pasha choreographed herself almost all of her and her partner performances. She put all her soul, all her knowledge in there.
    In Paris, after she had skated her program  to the end, she closed her eyes, waiting for the reaction of the audience... as she opened them again, she saw standing ovations all over the hall, the ice carpeted with flowers. At this championships she became twelve top-score points of “6.0”. One of the judges said: “If one could judge a 7.0, I would have done it!”
    Pasha is one of figure skating’s brightest stars and a true phenomenon. Only once or twice in a century does a skater or performer come along that is blessed with pure talent and charisma. Pasha is just that phenomenon.
    No doubt, being the Number One is very difficult: there are envious, gossiping and even malicious people around you. There has been much provocation from these, who by all means tried splitting the world champions couple, there was much desinformation. Repeatedly were there sent “chic girls” to Platov, the Pasha´s partner, who lured him to a vacation at the seaside. In 1998 there were tries  in Nagano to casually deliver doping to Pasha , or in Milan, during the European Championships Krylova injured her hand with the edge. Just a short time ago her apartment in LA had been set on fire and the next she rented was flooded. Then in 1997, half year before Nagano, the woman appeared – an ice skater herself, with her partner Zhulin had never any chance on Olympic Gold, who was always present somewhere – during training, which actually were strictly closed to any visitors, since tricks were rehearsed which had to remain secret to the competitors; or she was lingering outside the hall, waiting for both to come and use the chance to mock and insult Pasha. There was much trouble, though nothing was capable to force the living legend to resignation. The arm was broken two days before Nagano, Pasha faced the Olympic Games with teeth bit together by the pain, thus it was forbidden to her to obtain any kind of medicine. First after her triumph at the Games, Pasha became a medical help – but for a short time only.This was because the Olympic-Shows in Japan were very highly honored and her coach, and partner didn’t want to miss the chance as to get more money.
    Then there came Moscow, the Kremlin. The next day became Pasha a heart-attack – this was the time when her partner became a prize money for the Olympic victory by the Sporting Club, counting 50.000 USD, the half of which  belong to Pasha, as she was the half of this couple. Nevertheless, she saw no penny of it. As her partner said, in an interview with the IFS he had already made up his mind by the time of the honor-ceremony  in Nagano not to prolong his professional career with Pasha.
    Although Pasha had brought him to this triumph. Platov had  two times knee operations and after each of his surgeries either by the doctors, or by the coaches were told that she shouldn’t wait for him thus he wouldn’t be able to perform on ice anymore. But she never had left him alone, believed in and supported him, and finally took the responsibility in performing all the sophisticated elements, and lead the couple to triumph.
    The news of Grishuk&Platov’s partition after the Olympic tour spread with a vast speed in July and had the effect  of a bomb. He committed himself to set on his future career with the 35-year-old Usova, who was for 17 years partnered with Zhulin. People speak about her having had intercourse with him since the fall of 1997, by which time she had persistently been trying to split the couple, which she finally succeeded in.
    On 8-th August a meeting of Pasha and her fans took place in Germany. All the tables in the county hall were covered with albums with Pasha photos, fragments from magazines and newspapers, posters... More than forty fans summoned up from Bonn, Kassel, Düsseldorf, Würzburg, there were even several from other countries. Pasha appeared in a long, red dress her hair styled just like during the last show in Nagano – an Ice Diva – she greeted everybody and began a warm, hearty, deep conversation which evoked the atmosphere as if being in the circle of a big family. Videos of her performances were shown and she spoke of her rehearsals and feelings during the championships, and her happiness about the victories... Suddenly her breath seized and she tried to  camouflage her tears, finally she had to endure them. Apparently the cause of her pain rooted in Platov´s deed, whom she had so much trusted and helped, who, after all they had gone through, had become a part of her. Despite nearly ten years of partnership he had gone away without saying a word. Pasha cried and so did the fans, who also have broken hearts. The meeting ended with a visit of a liturgy in a church near Hanover – Pasha is known to almost  everybody there. The local newspapers wrote a lot about her in these days. Pasha appreciates of her friends very much and loves her fans a lot: “I live to give joy to the people”, this is how her motto sounds.

    Version: Sonntag, 30. September 2001

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