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10 August 2007 @ 07:59 pm



Yesterday, the champion of the Salt Lake City Olympics of 2002 told the “SE” correspondent of his decision to return to eligible competition.



Born March 18, 1980, in Saint Petersburg. Olympic Champion of 2002.

4-time World Champion – 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2002. Silver World medalist of 3002. Bronze World medalist of 1997. 3-time European champions – 1998, 1999, and 2002. 2-time European champion – 2000 and 2001.

Junior World champion of 1996.


Back then, we failed to track down Yagudin himself. The only thing I managed to get out of Tarasova is that the doctors insist the athlete be monitored constantly for two weeks to make sure the first rehabilitation period passes without complications. Tarasova therefore asked Alexei to take it easy in his leg, and to wait at least a month.

Yagudin himself called me. He confirmed that the surgery went well. He then shocked me with the following, “You know, I’ll call you later in the day. I want to hit the gym before the interview. I want to exercise, may be run for an hour or so.”

At the appointed time, the phone rang again.

“I am sorry I wasn’t returning your calls for awhile”, started Yagudin somewhat guiltily. “I was afraid of saying anything too early. I wanted to first understand if my scheme of returning to the eligible ice is at all realistic.”

“So, you did make that decision.”

“Yup. That’s why I flew to America for the tests. I would need to go to the hospital sooner or later anyway. I saw the X-rays of the hip joint. One didn’t need much medical knowledge to see that the joint was completely ruined. In addition, there were inflammation and swelling around it.

I flew in a few weeks before surgery, since the preliminary tests had to take a long time.”

“What exactly did the surgery do?”

“When I saw the X-rays two weeks after the surgery, the first thing I thought of was that I was now like the Terminator. I have a titanium hip. It looks menacing on the X-ray – a metal pin with a titanium head, and the joint mechanism itself is also made of titanium. I chose this metal myself. I was told, it acts very organically in the human body. It’s like it becomes a part of it.”

“Are you sure you’ll be able to train like before?”

“I want this badly. I understand well that I am now 27, and that I will be 29 by the Vancouver Games, that figure skating does not stay in place, and that the nervous system can’t handle the load as well; however, if I did the jumps cleanly before competition, and even did a triple axel at time, surely it won’t now be worse.

It will all depend on how the rehabilitation goes. I’m inspired by the example of Rudy Galindo, who replaced both of his hip joints in under two weeks, and skated in the Collins Tour six months later. If I medal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, I’ll consider it a great accomplishment.”

“What if there is simply not enough place for you on the Olympic team? After all, there is no guarantee that Russia will be able to send two athletes to the Games.”

“You know, I once told Nikolai Morozov, who has already agreed to work with me permanently, that it will be good if Zhenya Plushenko returns to the sport by the next World championships. This way, Russia would have at least two places in the pre-Olympic season. He replied – if you already think you may not have a place on the team, then don’t even start.”

“So, Morozov will train you?”

“Together with Tarasova. We have already discussed it. We decided that we should combine efforts to win a medal in Vancouver. Of course, I’m scared. Getting there will be a hell of an effort. But I want to go through that again.”

Complete interview with Yagudin will appear in an upcoming edition .

Sergei ARKHIPOV, orthopedic surgeon, doctor, professor:

“The point of Yagudin’s surgery was to insert a metal implant with a rough surface into the hip bone. The second part of the construction has the same structure - it’s like a cup that the head of the hip goes into. When the bone cells regenerate, they grow into the rough surface. If one works the hip joint to much too early, there is a risk damaging the cell tissue, loosening the joint, and thus slowing down the rehabilitation process. As to the professional outlook, of course Yagudin will be able to skate. However, I’d refrain from prognosis regarding the jumps. You have to understand that the jumps force a lot more strain on the joint than it was ever designed for.”

Tatiana TARASOVA, Russian master coach:

“When Lesha called me to ask if I’d agree to continue working with him, I agreed without a second thought. Yagudin is not just an outstanding skater. He is a man who lives for competition; more importantly, he is the best competitor there is. In the few years Lesha has skated in shows, he has psychologically rested from big sport. I haven’t yet talked to Nikolai Morozov, but I have no doubt that he’ll want to work with Yagudin as well. Though, of course, Kolya will have a lot of work then – he is also training one of today’s best skaters Takeshi Honda. The most important thing now is health. If his leg will really stop bothering Lesha, I don’t doubt for a second that he will be successful.”

Valentin PISEEV, president of Russian Figure Skating Federation:

“If Yagudin is serious about resuming training and fighting for his place on the team, I can only be supportive. I haven’t discussed it with Alexei yet, but once he will officially announce his comeback, we will immediately go to ISU to have Yagudin’s eligibility reinstates to have him compete at the ISU events. I can also assure you that the federation will do everything to insure Yagudin has everything he needs for training.”

Crack-throated mistress of bagpipes and cymbalsandantecantible on August 11th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
Ptichkaptichkafs on August 11th, 2007 01:15 am (UTC)
I know. Don't even know if I am to take it seriously or whatever though.
(Anonymous) on August 11th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for the translation.

Serenity Now
Ptichkaptichkafs on August 22nd, 2007 06:27 am (UTC)
Long discussion of the article here
(Anonymous) on November 23rd, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
Your page is wonderful. We need it. Thanks for the translation and the opportunity to post comment.
Ptichkaptichkafs on November 25th, 2007 11:43 pm (UTC)
My pleasure :)
Ptichka: Linksptichkafs on August 12th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Japanese translation!
Ptichka: Linksptichkafs on August 12th, 2008 05:24 pm (UTC)
Another one in Japanese!