"Life is a precious gift given to us by God and we should cherish it."
Pasha and I
Finally we met again.
At first I want to thank Pasha's family for their hospitality. I want to thank www.shop-orthopedics.com for the back support for my pain. It has truly been a blessing. My sister and I had a wonderful time and we felt right at home. Thank you so much! I think I have to start on the day my parents and I did some brainstorming how it would be possible for me to visit Pasha when she would be in Germany and we thought of the idea to fly over to Hanover. A lot of things had to be arranged before everything was settled, passport, tickets etc. Don't ask me how we managed to do it, but we arranged everything in one-week time.
(Thank you mum and dad for doing that for me!).
So when everything was settled I called Pasha to tell her that I was going to be there in Germany when she would be there as well and she was thrilled to hear I could come.
Now the time came to start counting the hours till June 25th. The days went by really fast and all of a sudden it was Thursday night June 24th and I didn't get much sleep, also because I knew that Pasha would arrive in Germany this evening and I prayed she would arrive safe. Friday was kinda hectic. I think my sister and I have checked our luggage a thousand times, before closing the bags. At 14:30 we left to Amsterdam airport ( also known as Schiphol). Everything went really fast and before we knew it we had to board, but the bus, which was supposed to take us, had closed its doors and started to drive away, so a separate bus was ordered for us. The flight was comfortable. It took approximately 50 minutes to fly to Hanover and because the sky was really clear I could see everything, which was really neat.
At Hanover airport we went to pick our luggage, but my sister's bag wasn't there. We filled out a form and they promised us to bring our bag to our address later that night, because according to them the bag was on the next plane to Hanover. Vladimir (a good friend of Pasha's family) came to pick us up (Thank you for picking us up and taking us to the airport!) and drove us to Sarstedt, which was a drive of approximately 30 minutes. I ouldn't be nervous while we were thinking about the missing bag.
We went to Pasha's mum's house and when we drove into her street I started to get nervous. Vladimir went to ring at the door and we stepped out of the carů My sister and I both looked up and there we saw Pasha waving to us and the next minute she was downstairs kissing and hugging us. And Pasha's doggy, Vanya, who is sooooooooo cute, was jumping up and down. We went upstairs hugging and kissing all the way up and then I met Pasha's mum, which was so great. Her mum is so tremendously sweet and we felt at home right away. We also met Pasha's grandma and her husband, which was also really nice. Then Pasha, my sister and I started chatting. She was showing us pictures from
LA and telling us about how her life is in LA and we chatted about ourselves. Pasha also told us about her acting classes which was very interesting: She follows these classes with a lot of other people and every week you get a partner and you have to practice a little script together and then during the classes every couple has to play its piece in front of
the whole group and the acting coach. The classes take place in a little theatre which has different parts for different kinds of scripts, like for example a sort of club location for when the story takes place in a club etc. Then her aunt walked in with her husband and it was so wonderful to meet them as well. They are also very sweet. While Pasha's mum was putting dinner on the table we talked about skating and music. She is doing really well and she hopes to be ready to skate in public in the beginning of fall. Then we had dinner all together, which was very nice and we talked while we ate. Pasha told us that she went parachute jumping once. She is even more courageous than I already thought. I would never ever jump out of an airplane, unless the plane was going to crash. After dinner we made some pictures and we exchanged presents, but we had to go to Pasha's aunt's
house, because of the missing bag. When we came there the bag was still not delivered and we called the airport and they said we had to wait another ten minutes and call back and when we did that nobody answered. Fortunately my sister could borrow some things from Pasha's aunt and me. We got ready for bed and we talked for a while with Pasha's aunt and went to bed.
Saturday: the day of the fan meeting.
Have to say I slept only two hours, but I had wonderful dreams. I tried to fall back into sleep, but it didn't work and I started reading some skating magazines with new interviews with Pasha (The June issue of ASW and "Sdorowie" LA magazine or "Health" LA magazine among others) and I looked at some photo-albums with pictures of Pasha and Pasha&Evgeny. Then I decided that it was time to get showered and dressed and by that time everyone was awake. Pasha's aunt went to pick up Sandrine (a girl from France) from the railway station. And when she arrived we all had breakfast together and we talked about what the plans would be for today. There had to be arranged some things for the fan meeting and I decided to help out arranging the programs of Pasha&Evgeny which would be shown at the fan meeting, which I loved to do of course. My sister needed to buy some
clothes and we went to the city center of Sarstedt to do some shopping. Her bag was still missing. We didn't succeed in buying something (the shops close at 13:00 in Sarstedt), so she would borrow something from Pasha or her aunt. Pasha and her aunt came to pick us up and we went to Pasha's aunt's garden, which is beautiful and full of fruits and vegetables and flowers, where we where going to have a barbecue. Pasha's mum was still at home and Pasha and I and Vanya decided to go and pick her up. Pasha and I just talked about all kinds of things while walking to her mum's house. She is so intelligent and I always learn so much from her. When we got back to the garden we ate very quickly since we had to be at the hotel in an hour time and we went over to get changed (My sister was thrilled to see the airport had delivered her bag) and I still had to finish arranging the
programs. And I got the chance to hold Pasha's Olympic and World Championship's medals in my hands. They are so heavy and very impressive. My sister and I had picked out the programs and we had checked it with Pasha if she was okay with it. Then we sorted out the order of the programs which was like:
1) Rock and Roll free dance at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer and the medal ceremony,
2) Adagio (Albinoni) exhibition at the 1995 World Championships in Birmingham,
3) Libertango (Astor Piazzolla) original dance at the 1997 European Championships in Paris,
4) The Long Eurosport interview (see our articles section for this interview) taken in January 1997,
5) Arabian Passion (Peter Gabriel) free dance at the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne,
6) Memorial (Michael Nyman) at the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano,
7) Interview with Pasha in Germany after the Nagano Olympics.
There were balloons, lots of flowers and a big board with the subscription "Welcome home Pasha Grishuk Ice Dance Goddess" at the place were the fan meeting took place. There were also three big cakes and one of them had a picture of Pasha&Evgeny (Memorial pose at the end), the Olympic and World Championship's medals, another picture of Pasha&Evgeny (if I'm not mistaken the 1991 free dance) and Pasha's skate on it. Pasha's medals were placed on the table behind which she would sit. Then Pasha came in and she thanked everyone personally for coming. Pictures were taken from every side. Then
she sat down behind her medals and her aunt told some things about Pasha and then Pasha told something about what she was doing at the moment, about living in LA. She loves living there and when she first came to live there and she would see famous actors she would be so impressed, because they would be big stars to her, but nowadays she has gotten a little bit used to it. She mentioned as an example seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger with his little daughter walking by. Then she told about her career plans. She still takes acting classes (see before), but skating is her number one priority. Someone asked Pasha about her role in Beverly Hills 90210 and she told how she got asked for that tv-serie. One day she got a call from a friend who told her that there were auditions for a skating role for a popular tv-serie. She went to the audition and coincidentally it was at the same rink she had been training for her singles skating. It went well, but she didn't expect to get the part and she was thrilled to hear that she got it. She had to say five lines and she was allowed to use her own music and she choose "Frozen" by Madonna as a tribute to her partnership with Evgeny Platov. She had to improvise and after she was finished two actors Luke Perry (playing Dylan) and Brian Austin Green (playing David) came up to her and said:" You know we are not gay, but your skating was so emotional that we just held each other and said to each other " I love you, man". This was not the first time Pasha improvised with so much success (Remember Pasha's second performance for former Russia's President Brezjnew's birthday, see our biography section). Then fans were allowed to ask questions. She was asked about her future plans regarding her skating. She has started single skating, but she wants to do it differently. She wants to give single skating a new fresh look by using her ice dance skills. She won't do all kinds of triples, but is planning to have the triple salchow in her repertoire, which she hopefully will be able to do somewhere at the end of the fall. At this moment she is using music from the Gipsy Kings called inspiration. She calls it instrumental classical music, which is very dramatic at certain points, but is also very peaceful. While listening to this music she can see a story playing in front of her eyes and she believes that ice dance or figure skating is not just about dance steps, jumps and spins, but every dance step, jump or spin is a word forming sentences and the whole dance forms a story. She wants to use a long skirt and a Spanish fan with this dance and somewhere in the dance she will take the skirt off, because it will be easier to do the jumps without the long skirt. She wants to start her singles career with doing some shows (in Sun Valley and in Australia where she will do a tour) and probably at the beginning of next year she will start competing at pro competitions. After the questions Pasha's new sponsor FORTIS official cosmonauts chronograph presented her gifts (a jacket and a hat among others) and wanted to take pictures with her. So we all stepped out and made a lot of pictures (it was extremely hot that day). After making the pictures we went back in and the cake got cut and I started the videos. On which Pasha
commented. Because I was sitting near her and later on next to her I asked her some more questions during the dances.
Most fans will remember that magical moment of Pasha&Evgeny winning their first Olympic Gold medal and I asked Pasha if she could believe what was happening. She answered:" I couldn't understand it because the scores were so strange. Natalia Linichuk was reading them for me since I didn't wear my contacts and I couldn't understand what was happening until someone out of the audience who could look at the computers from the judges signed to us that we had won. Then I knew that we won."
During Arabian Passion I asked Pasha why she changed her costume at Worlds (remember her wearing the dark red one during Europeans) and she said she liked the blue one better. The blue costume was actually her training outfit, which existed out of a blue top and pants. She cut the pants and they made a skirt out of it and later on she had red pants made for the red top, which she used during her training. She asked me if I liked the red
one better: On which I replied that it wasn't really that I liked the red one better, but the red one is so similar to the outfit of a Hindu bride and the jewelry she wore was also very similar (I'm Hindu BTW) and my mum and I thought she looked so beautiful and the dance was also amazing. I never thought Oriental or Indian dance could be translated onto the ice, but Arabian Passion was just marvelous in my humble opinion. Arabian
Passion is one of Pasha's favorite dances by the way.
During Memorial at the Olympics Pasha explained to all of us what her feelings were before and during the dance: Pasha and Evgeny were so nervous and normally Evgeny was the one who was the calm one and she would always get calmer when she saw he wasn't nervous, but this time she looked at Evgeny and his face was white and he was praying out loud and crossed himself which was something she had never seen him do before, so she got even more nervous. Tatiana Tarasova then got a bottle of water and splashed it into his face and over his costume and Evgeny was so shocked that he calmed down. Pasha on the other hand started crying and Tarasova asked her if she also like some water on which Pasha of course said "no" and she tried to get a hold of herself. The whole week one of the movements would always go wrong (The Spread eagles from Evgeny where Pasha has to go underneath him in the same position) even during the warming up. She would always get stuck and couldn't get through. During the training of the program Pasha was used to talk to Evgeny and when she noticed that they were getting tired she told him to hang on. They could do it. She pointed out to us where she said what and before the last lift she told him:" Just one more lift, we can do it". She also showed us the lift where she thought she would fall, because her hand hurt so much (The one were she is wrapped around Evgeny's leg in a straight position with her head towards his skate). And at one of the last turns she makes a fist movement (which is something she never did before), because she knew they did the program without mistakes. She wasn't sure if she had won though, but was so
relieved that they had skated without any mistakes.
The last program we saw was an interview with Pasha which was taken in Germany right after the Olympic Games in Nagano when she was in Germany for a short visit to her family (March 1998). The interviewer asked her about her hand, because it was bandaged and asked her if it was broken and if she had skated with a broken hand. On which she replied that she had. Then the interviewer asked about the rivalry between competitors, especially between Anjelika Krylova (part of the Russian ice dance team Anjelika Krylova&Oleg Ovsiannikov, who won the Olympic silver medal behind Pasha&Evgeny) and her. A lot of things were said about their relationship during the Olympic Games, but Pasha answered that she liked Anjelika very much and that nothing was wrong between the two of them, but that the press always wants to make an exciting story about a big rivalry between the top ice dance couples. The last thing she was asked was if she was going to stop skating. On which she said:" No, skating is and always has been my first priority and I will keep doing it for at least a couple of more years."
After this a journalist came up to Pasha and asked her if he could ask her some questions for an article and she agreed, because I was sitting next to Pasha (and poor Vanya was sleeping at her feet. It was so hot) I asked if I could ask her a question first, because I wanted to write a report for my page and since I just had one question maybe it would be better to do that one first and then the journalist could have her full attention.
My question: " I believe that bad experiences in life always have a
valuable lesson it. This past year hasn't been very easy for you, but do
you think that you learned something from it?"
Pasha: "Yes, I believe that something bad always gives something good
eventually and actually I don't think I have anything to complain about.
God gave me this life and I'm grateful for what I have. This past year was
difficult, but I always remember people in this world compared to whom I
have the best life one could think of. For example people who are disabled
or people who life in a country, which is in war, people who are starving.
I'm really lucky."
Journalist:"What is the difference between pro shows and amateur
Pasha:" You have more artistic freedom when you are pro. There aren't any
rules, which you are obliged to follow. In pro shows people who were once
winners can still skate and do what they love most, skating in front of an
Journalist:"So the audience is the most important during a pro show?"
Pasha:"Actually for me the audience was always the most important also
during my amateur years. When I'm out there on the ice I try to connect
with the audience first not to the judges. Most important for me is to have
a connection with my partner and with the audience."
Journalist:" Is that what you meant before with every step is a word? Are
you telling a story to your audience?"
Pasha:" Yes, as I said before every dance step, jump or spin is a word,
which form sentences and the whole dance is a story. With this story I try
to make a connection with the audience."
Journalist:" How long are you still planning to skate?"
Pasha:" For now I will say another five years at least."
Journalist:" You were born in Odessa, Ukraine, why did you compete for
Russia instead of the Ukraine?"
Pasha:" When I started my career I skated for the Soviet Union and then I
moved to Moscow and Russia was still the Soviet Union and when it became
Russia I still lived in Moscow and kept skating for Russia."
Journalist: "What do you think about the situation in Russia?" Do you
Pasha:" Yes of course, I'm very sad and worried about the situation there.
I was born there and it worries me very much that everything is so
Journalist:" What is your connection with Russia now?" Do you still go
Pasha:" My family lives in Germany, so I go to Germany when I visit Europe,
but sometimes I will go to Russia to visit friends or for something like
meeting President Yeltsin (after the Olympics Pasha received an order in
the third degree "for great services performed for the fatherland", which
is the highest order you can get in Russia, from President Yeltsin)
Journalist:" How does your training schedule look like nowadays?"
Pasha:" I will train five days a week and I have the weekend off, although
it's not really that I have some time off from physical training, because
in the weekends I will still work out. I don't like running very much, but
I will work out on the Stairmaster and do some yoga, which I love. And I
like to play tennis, which of course also makes me run."
Journalist:" Don't you ever get tired from appearing in public after
Pasha:" Sometimes I'm really tired and I will have jetlag, but as a skater
you will have to make compromises and besides that skating for my fans is
what I love most and my fans always make me feel so happy. I also love
travelling. It all has to do with making compromises."
Journalist:" Do you think partners should have a good relationship when
they are skating together or do you think that isn't necessary?"
Pasha:"It's very important to have a good relationship with your partner.
You will have to be good friends, like a brother and sister. And you will
have to be able to make compromises. Sometimes when I was skating with
Evgeny he would be tired and I would try to cheer him up and whenever I
would be tired he would do the same for me. You have to look out for each
other. So I think it's very important to have a good relationship."
This was the end of the interview and also the end of the fan meeting. It was so hot and everyone was tired. Pasha, my sister and I were sitting in the car together and the balloons were all surrounding us and Pasha thought that we looked very cute and made a picture of us. Some went to the restaurant to have some dinner, but most of us went back home to get some rest.
Again I didn't sleep very well and I was quite tired. I tried to stay in bed longer and around 8:00 I thought it was time to get showered and dressed. My sister, Pasha's aunt and I had breakfast together. The plan of today was to go sightseeing in Hanover. Pasha's family is really great and I was quite sad that this was the last day. At 13:00 we went to pick up
Pasha at her mum's house. And because we would leave this afternoon it was also time to say good-bye to Pasha's mum and Vanya, which made me very sad. They are such wonderful people. Both Pasha and I were very sad that we only would be together for just another couple of hours. From the moment we got out of the car in Hanover we didn't let go of each other. It was so great being able to talk to her about everything. She always listens to me and never judges me. We were supposed to go sightseeing, but I didn't see much. I think Pasha and I should call it Pasha&Anushka seeing. Everyone went up
on the tower of the city hall of Hanover, but because I was really tired and I didn't think I would be able to climb the stairs Pasha and I stayed downstairs and went to sit on the stairs in front of the city hall and we just chatted for approximately half an hour. When everyone else came back we walked to a restaurant. Pasha and I walked and talked. I will cherish these moments the rest of my life. When we arrived at the restaurant we sat down behind a table together with my sister and Sandrine and ordered something to eat and drink. The four of us talked about all kinds of things, but my sister and I had to hurry, because we had like 20 minutes to be at the airport. We made some more pictures and then it was time to say good-bye to Pasha and her family, which was so difficult.
Vladimir and his wife took us to the airport (Thank you so much!) and I already started
missing Pasha and her family and I still do, but I will never forget these past three days. They were magical to my sister and me. My family and I are so grateful for everything Pasha's family has done for us. Thank you a million times! I don't think I have to say that I will miss Pasha like crazy, but like she did this past year she will watch over me as my Angel.
"I believe Pasha is my guardian angel sent to me by God." Anushka