Perhaps, there wasn’t a duo in the 80s more popular than beautiful Russian couple Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov. “Golden Couple” was loved not less than once Lyudmila Pakhomova and Alexander Gorshkov. Even those who have little interest in figure skating, felt that their love story was a fairy. But the tale had ended too soon. “Maybe we were too good together? – Katia whispered, leaning over Sergei’s grave at the Vagankovo cemetery. Only fairy tales have a happy ending. We’ve all been too good to finish well “..
Today it is hard to imagine that once we lived without TV serials. In 1980s in the top was figure skating. The performances and careers of athletes were closely monitored, and of course, all would like to know more about each pair! But the tabloids in the USSR did not exist, therefore the details were spread from person to person.
The beautiful duet of Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov was immediately considered lovers, and this time reasonably. The romantic duo quickly gained the love of country, proud of their sporting success, their relationship developed in front of the whole country. Sergei and Katia met at a skating rink in 1981, married in 1991, and in 1995, Sergei died.
So, in the mid-eighties in the sky of Soviet figure skating broke out two new bright stars Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov. In 1986 they won the gold of the championship, relegating to second place Olympic champion Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev. In her 14 years of age Katia Gordeeva became the youngest world champion in the history of pair skating and an idol for millions girlies. ‘Our athletes – in blue with silver trim suits’ – informed sport commentator to frozen in front of the black and white TV audience, admiring the skaters.
She was so small! Five feet of beauty and courage, and next to her – a tall, smiling and reliable, fairy-tale prince, not less. In January 1987, Gordeeva and Grinkov became champions of the USSR. They did what no one did! At the European and world championships Katia and Sergei performed an element of “backspin to four times .” Not only commentators but even the judge erred in calculating speed. Difficulty was exorbitant, pulse of Katia Gordeeva after rotation exceeded to two hundred beats per minute.
The year which began with a win at the bravura note had not been completed. In November, Kate received training injury – a concussion. Sergei’s skate caught just at the very moment when he raised his partner in the “star” support. Could not hold her back, and Kate fell down three meters high and hit her head on the ice. They were forced to miss the championship of the USSR , but again won the European championship .
February 16, 1988 Gordeeva and Grinkov “took” Olympic gold. That free program to the music of Mendelssohn, Chopin and Mozart has become a recognized masterpiece in the history of figure skating. “First we won the gold medal for the Soviet Union. And the second – for each other”, writes in her book Kate. Everything was going so well. They were so young, so happy and so in love with each other, which charged the space around them. Katia and Sergei were married. A daughter, Daria , “the gift of God …”, Ekaterina Gordeeva – in the list of “fifty most beautiful people in the world.” But she did not like to pose alone, without Sergei. Kate felt that they were a couple and should be together forever.
Gordeeva and Grinkov moved to the United States. Time passed quickly, minute by minute, counting the hours of their little happiness.
November 20, 1995 during a training session in Lake Placid Sergei Grinkov felt bad. Never regained consciousness and died in hospital. Diagnosis – occlusion of arteries in the heart. In addition, the day before his death, as it turned out, he suffered micro infarction.
Along with Kate stopped by grief multimillion viewership on both sides of the ocean. It was impossible to believe. In the fairy tale characters live happily and die the same day. But this doesn’t relate to real life. Father Nicholas led burial service for Sergei, he, who crowned Sergei with Katya, blessed, then baptized their daughter Dasha, and now has accomplished this sorrowful mission.
Much later, Father Nicholas told reporters that a month before the tragic events Katia and Sergei came to him for confession. “They seem to feel that a point of no return is approaching.” We have different call signs like – rock, doom, intuition, gut feeling, inner voice. The young man thought seriously about the danger of death, disease. Sergei said that “it aches under the shoulder, and pain like a blade in back”. But it turned out that Sergei had a bad heart .
Now Katya’s partner was a dream. Only in a dream she was able to forget everything and take a break from misery, from sympathetic views of the accumulated void. Why God took Sergei from her ? Did he want to show her how hard life was? Previously, Kate had no idea how the heart can hurt. She had read about it in books, but thought it was just words.
Now, she felt physical pain that tormented her. Kate wrote a book “My Sergei. Love Story”, which overnight became a bestseller in the United States. In Russia, there was a lot of “well-wishers” who accused Katia Gordeeva in excess of sincerity. It is impossible, they said, to trust to the crowd such personal things. And she did not address to the crowd. She turned to Sergei. “I am grateful to you for each lived day, for every smile. I will treasure our wonderful tale and tell about it to our daughter”.
Until the death of Sergei, Katia Gordeeva remained stubborn, but still a little girl. “I lived in a world where I always could do what I liked: skate. Was kept near a loved one and my wonderful parents. I’ve never heard an unkind word and did not know what evil is. I did not occur to look critically at the world around me. My attention was occupied only by Sergei. He watched over me, loved, cared for and comforted when I felt bad. Only after his death, I began to understand life. “Youth is left behind, and it has always been associated with Sergei Grinkov”. Katia had to learn to be without him.
She found the strength to live on. Kate was not alone. Dasha, a copy of Sergei, was three years old when her father died. In an interview, Kate said she grew up the daughter of his father, who knows the stories, photos, and her book “My Sergei”. Now the home of Katia is in America, but the New Year’s day, as she says, the family celebrates in Russia, in the countryside.
Her family today – the husband Ilia Kulik, a Russian figure skater, Honored Master of Sports, Olympic champion and two daughters, the eldest Dasha and youngest Lisa. The ice rought to Katia the joy of victory and the bitterness of defeat, the meeting with Sergei Grinkov, and took him from her, the ice saved her after the tragedy. On the ice – a mega popular American ice show ‘Stars On Ice’, she met a new partner and husband. Life goes on.
Soviet and Russian skater performs in the category of pairs skating. Honored Master of Sports, Olympic champion in 1988 and 1994, four-time world champion, two-time European champion.
Ekaterina Gordeeva grew up in a wealthy family – her father Alexander was a dancer in the ensemble of Moiseev, her mother Elena was an employee of TASS. Ekaterina Gordeeva has a sister, Maria, 4 years younger. Katia Gordeeva has been skating since the age of three. She was admitted to the Youth CSKA. Until 1986, the pair Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei was trained by Stanislav Leonovich, then – Stanislav Zhuk. Under the guidance of new coach in January, the pair took second place in the championships of the USSR and Europe, and then won gold at the World Championships in Geneva on 19 March 1986. Ekaterina Gordeeva became the youngest world champion.
In January 1987, Gordeeva and Grinkov became champions of the USSR. At the European Championships in Sarajevo, their result was canceled due to technical reasons. At the World Championships in Cincinnati again they were the first.
Love on ice – Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov
June 10, 2002 Ekaterina Gordeeva married Ilia Kulik. Daughter Elizaveta was born June 15, 2001 in Los Angeles.