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Ekaterina Gordeeva is a Russian figure skater who, with her late partner and husband Sergei Grinkov, was a two-time Olympian and four-time world champion.
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Born on May 28, 1971, Russian Ekaterina Gordeeva is not only a champion ice skater but also a symbol of grace, strength, and courage. In their 13 years of skating together, Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were first co-workers, became friends, then fell in love, married, became parents and won four world championships and two Olympic gold medals. In 1995, at age 28, her partner and husband Grinkov died of a heart attack.
Skater Ekaterina Gordeeva's journey from triumph to tragedy and back, is not only a champion ice skater, but also a symbol of grace, strength and courage.
At age 11, Gordeeva (called Katia by her friends) became one of a pair -- a pair of "G's" -- Gordeeva and Grinkov. In their 13 years of skating together, Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov were first co-workers, became friends, then fell in love, married, became parents, and won four World championships and two Olympic gold medals. However, in 1995, the magic tragically ended when Grinkov died of a heart attack.
At only 24, Gordeeva became a widow, a single mother, and a solo skater. As she told Time writer Steve Wulf, "Skating was the only thing that could bring back my confidence because it's the only thing I can do. I'm so happy to have a place to express my feelings." Fans worldwide, including former Olympic champion and commentator Dick Button, were also happy again. Button, in Time, described Gordeeva as "a very elegant snowflake, but one that is made of steel."
Gordeeva was born in Moscow, Russia, on May 28, 1971. Her father, Alexander Alexeyevich Gordeev, a folk dancer for the Moiseev Dance Company, wanted Gordeeva to become a ballet dancer. Her mother, Elena Levovna, was a teletype operator for the Soviet newsagent Tass. Gordeeva's parents both worked hard and traveled so much that Gordeeva and her sister, Maria, often stayed with their grandparents. Gordeeva's grandmother read Grimm's fairytales to Gordeeva, not knowing that's how Gordeeva would later describe her life -- like a fairytale.
Gordeeva, in My Sergei, also commented that "I was the luckiest girl on earth, wanting for nothing." At four, too young to try out for ballet as her father had wanted, Gordeeva was invited by a trainer at the Central Red Army Skating Club in Moscow for a skating tryout. By the time she turned five years old, Gordeeva was practicing four times a week. In My Sergei, Gordeeva remembered, "I can't miss it. It's my job." However, pushed by her father, Gordeeva did try out for ballet school at age ten, but failed. She continued skating and one year later was paired with Grinkov.
In December 1983, after a coaching change and just one year of training, Gordeeva & Grinkov finished sixth in the Junior World Championships. The next year, they won. Gordeeva was 13 and began to see Grinkov as more than just her skating partner. In My Sergei, Gordeeva recalled, "I remember becoming aware that I found him attractive, and that it was nice to be with him." However, they never spent much off-ice time together.
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