Regarding Plushenko's recent pull out of the men's skate in the Olympics right now, I can't help but think of him when he was just starting out.
My sister and I have been huge figure skating fans since the 80's. Sis has been writing music since she was 9 and has made several demos of her music in Los Angeles using professional musician's. For a couple hundred bucks an hour (probably way more now) you can hire the pro's who've played on movie soundtracks,etc. It's all pretty exciting as I've gone with her on a couple of occasions to watch. It's really amazing how the musician's can step in the studio,look at your sheet music for the first time in their lives and an hour later you have a CD that sounds like they've been rehearshing your song for the past 6 months. I know how to read sheet music but wow!
We have always paid close attention to the music that the skater's use during their programs. Wouldn't it be something to have a skater actually skate to one of sis's songs? Well,I'm sure you know where this is going,lol. Sis did write a song for a skater that wowed us back in the 90's...Alexi Yagudin. She wrote words to it and had her Russian friend who was also a singer translate it into Russian and took him down to L.A. to record it. It translated into "To Bloom" in Russian though I can't recall exactly what that was in English...however,the lyrics referred to a young man growing up and blossoming I suppose. Which made sense because Alexi was only about 15 or 16 back then with this incredible talent.
Now the hard part. How to get the song to the skater for him to listen to and maybe consider? LOL. Of course,this was all on "speculation"...just a big dream for us at the time. I can't remember how we did it but somehow we got his coach's phone number in Russia. My sister had her friend call the coach since the friend spoke Russian and we weren't sure if the coach knew English or not. The coach actually gave us an address to send the song to him. Turns out the coach did know some English...so there were some phone calls back and forth with my sister also over a few months time. We were hoping that even if Alexi didn't use the song during competition that we could film him skating to it at least. We thought it would be cool to send a "video" of him skating to her song along with her music to record companies.
Alexi had won a few medals in competitions but nothing real big yet so he was still "accessible". In 1998 sis and I had tickets to go to the World Figure Skating Championships in Minneapolis,MN. Alexi was going to be in it and my sister told his coach we were going to be there so we set up a time to meet. We were ecstatic to say the least. Here we were going to the Championships and actually getting to meet the coach of one of our favorite skaters! AND the skater!
We agreed to meet at one of the practices. If you're a ticket holder you have access to go see the skaters rehearsing their programs before the competition which is pretty exciting itself. So here sis and I were sitting on the benches watching the skaters and we see Alexi and Mr. Mishin the coach come into the building directly across the rink from where we're sitting. We get up and go over to them since they have no idea what we look like. We introduce ourselves. And Mr.Mishin starting talking about the video and where we might film it and it was a slow conversation because of the language barrier. Alexi didn't say anything...he was standing there and then went off to the ice.
But there was a young skater sitting next to Mr. Mishin...his new student,Evgeni. We'd seen him, I think, once on t.v. but he was a real rookie and up and comer,only about 14. Mr. Mishin kept trying to get us interested in him...he was sort of "offering" Evgeni instead of Alexi to skate in our video. But Alexi was the "name" at the time and we weren't too interested in Evgeni,lol. So we chatted a bit more and were encouraged. Everything sounded like it was a "go".
I don't know if Mr. Mishin understood that we weren't exactly film-makers or famous...we were just "fans" but I know he was looking for any way to help promote his skaters,as well.
After our "meeting",sis and I retreated back to our seats across the ice and watched the skaters. We noticed Mr. Mishin looking in our directiion and conferring with Alexi. A minute later Alexi skated right in front of us on the ice and did a HUGE triple axel. We thought it was Mr. Mishin's way of showing off his skater and impressing us,lol. But,then again,it might have been just practice :)
Well...wouldn't you know. Alexi wound up winning the Gold Medal while we were there.
He was the 1998 World Champion! Evegeni came in 3rd.
|Men's singles||Alexei Yagudin||Todd Eldredge||Evgeni Plushenko|
(Todd Eldredge made the silver. I walked right past him going into practice rink one day. I almost stepped on him he was so short,lol. The skaters are all much tinier then they look on TV.)
To make a long story short (or is it too late for that? lol) we found out that as soon as Alexi won he changed coaches!!
So all of the negotiations between Mr. Mishin and us were now a NO instead of a GO. We would have had to start all over with his new coach.
And then Alexi's career really started taking off. So did Evgeni's.
Sis and I made it to the 2002 Olympics to watch them win Gold and Silver.
|Gold||Yagudin, AlexeiAlexei Yagudin||Figure skating||Men's|
|Silver||Plushenko, EvgeniEvgeni Plushenko||Figure skating||Men's|
By then we kind of gave up. They were getting too famous for us "dreamers".
Now we just have our memories and the "To Bloom" CD.
Ah,well. That's the way the ice melts!