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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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In 1985, Gordeeva & Grinkov had to endure another coaching change. However, this new coach was a tyrant.
Stanislav Zhuk, head coach at the Central Red Army Skating Club, pushed Gordeeva & Grinkov too hard, overtraining them while he drank every day. In spite of this, in their first senior level skating competition, Gordeeva & Grinkov finished second. A few months later, at the European Championships, they won. They then also won the World Championships. Yet,
Gordeeva was not happy. In My Sergei she reviewed their performance, "We just proceeded from element to element without feeling, intent only on not making mistakes." In 1986, after petitioning the Central Red Army Skating Club to remove Zhuk as their coach, Gordeeva & Grinkov found joy once again in their skating with their new coach, Stanislav Leonovich.
In 1987, Gordeeva & Grinkov continued their winning streak by placing first at the Russian Nationals. However, they were disqualified at the European Championships because they refused to reskate their long program after a problem with their music. They quickly rebounded however, successfully defended their world title, and then began their first American tour with skating promoter Tom Collins. Finally, much to the happiness of Gordeeva, Gordeeva & Grinkov spent off-ice time together.
In My Sergei Gordeeva remembered a trip to Disneyland, "Sergei bought me some ice cream. A couple of times he hugged me after a ride, or put his arm around me when we were standing in line. He had never done this before, and it made me excited. This was a wonderful day for me."
Gordeeva & Grinkov's first Olympics in 1988 was filled with nerves, homesickness, and sickness --Sergei had the flu. However, the nerves wore off, Grinkov recovered, and they skated both their short and long programs successfully and won the gold medal. However, Gordeeva being just 16, was left behind when Grinkov, 21, celebrated with his older friends.
In the fall of 1988, Gordeeva was diagnosed as having a stress fracture in her right foot. Gordeeva was sad that she could not skate. Yet Grinkov came up with an idea. As Gordeeva remembered in My Sergei, "Sergei asked, "So you like to skate? Come on. I'll give you a little ride." Grinkov picked up Gordeeva and carried her in his arms as he skated their program.
By now they were both falling in love and on New Year's Eve, they finally kissed. Because of Gordeeva's stress fracture, they did not skate in the European Championships that year. However, they did skate at the World Championships in Paris -- they won and everyone, friends, fans, and judges alike, saw how much they were in love.
In 1990, Gordeeva turned 18 and while she had to adjust to a new grown-up body, Grinkov had to live with pain in his shoulder. At the European Championships, skating to "Romeo and Juliet," Gordeeva & Grinkov won another title. They next won the World Championships, but skated weakly, feeling burnt out. Hoping for more off-ice time together, they rejoined the Tom Collins skating tour.
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