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INTERVIEW, Chicago Champions on Ice Show

April 21, 2001
By Lynn Fischer

The following interview took place on April 21, 2001 backstage at the United Center in Chicago in between COI shows. Please note that I did not have a tape recorder or someone to transcribe the interview while I talked, so this is all from memory. Therefore, the interview is not literally word for word. However, I feel that I have captured all of their answers very accurately to the best of my ability. Maya, Evgeny and I were in a small room with a few soft couches, and M&E were wearing matching navy sweat-suit type outfits. They were both gracious to do this interview despite the fact that they were obviously tired, and I thank them for that.

LF: Do either or both of you keep up on the eligible ice dancers?

EP: Yes, it is difficult when we are on the road but we try to whenever we can.

LF: Did you get to watch the recent Worlds Ice Dance competition?

EP: Yes, we watched that.

LF: What did you think of the competition? There was a lot of controversy about the judging this year.

EP: Well, the first two not bad. But to go from third to sixth (the Lithuanians) is not right.

LF: I agree-- I thought that the judging was really accurate at last year's Worlds, and thought it went a step back this year again, which is a shame. Who are your favorites for the Salt Lake City Olympics?

EP: Oh, for gold it will be between the Italians and French, of course. But the bronze will be a battle. There are many good couples out there.

LF: Are either of you planning on going to the Olympics as a spectator?

EP: (Looking at Maya) Oh, I don't know if you are going, but I am!

MU: I would like to go.

(I then told Maya and Evgeny about how Shoko and I will be driving two hours each way to the skating events because all the hotels in Salt Lake City are booked up, reserved for the athletes-- Maya seemed suprised at this, saying "all booked??")

EP: Shhhhh, don't tell anyone, I will ski all day, then watch skating at night!! I hope to get Russian Federation credentials. (MU nods)

LF: There weren't many opportunities for Pro Ice Dance competition this year-- as a matter of fact, only one competition, World Pros. How do you feel about that??

EP: Ohhh, I think this is bad. This country does not think that Ice Dance is popular, but it is. They like singles singles singles, especially in this country.This only shows one way, you know? Also, there are not enough Pro couples to compete-- who's going to show up, us and Jerod (Swallow) and Liz (Punsulan)? (LF interjects-- And Oleg and Anjelica just started to compete again) It will be the same couples over and over again. I think after the Olympics it will be different-- I think the French and the Italians will go pro, and other couples. Then we will be able to compete more because there will be more competitors.

LF: I'd like that, I watched you compete at Sears Open in 1999 and missed seeing Dance this past year. I know that Shoko has asked people to write letters, requesting that Ice Dance be included in Pro-Ams again.

LF: When you are finished skating, do you plan on coaching or doing choreography full time?

EP: Yes, of course. When I was young in Moscow, I would coach other skaters in the rink. Maya is already doing some coaching, and we do clinics. When we are finished skating-- and the time is getting close-- we will have other things to do. We are working with Ultima Blades too.

LF: What have you been doing on your days off on the tour?

(At this point, Liz DeSevo(U&P's Agent) had walked into the room)

LD: (makes snoring noise)!

MU: Sleep!

EP: We go home once in awhile when we have days off. I just was home.

LF: What can you tell me about Artur Dmetriev's show in Russia in May?

LD: It's a celebration of the 300th anniversary of the founding of St. Petersburg.

EP: Well, actually the 300th anniversary is in three years. But it's a celebration, and they are honoring the coach Tamara Moskvina.

LD: (To Evgeny & Maya) Hey, did you know that Tamara will skate with Artur and Anton??

(We all gasp at this, especially me!)

EP: Really?????

LF: That's so neat!! I guess I have to save some money to fly to Russia in May!!! (Little sarcasm, here!)

(We chatted a bit more about the show, but nothing monumental)

LF: So you plan on living in the States for a long time?

EP and MU: Forever!!!!!

LF: Great, because we love having you here!!!

EP: Yes, we will finish the tour, then go on vacation...

LF: Are you going anywhere? Or do you just want to stay home?

MU: I want to go home!

EP: I will go home...but then after about 10 days or so, I will probably get bored and get on a plane and go somewhere...

LF: To play golf?

EP: (Looking at Maya) Play golf EVERYDAY. (Maya laughs at this). Everyday!

After this, I thanked them because I knew they were hungry for dinner and they still had the next show to do. Evgeny walked me out, and talked about how tired he was and how difficult it was doing two shows in one day: they flew from Cleveland to Detroit, then got into Chicago at 3am Sat morning. I told him about how we went to Toronto SOI Friday night, and he asked me how I liked the show. We discussed the differences between SOI and COI a bit (less skaters and more group numbers in SOI), and then I told him how we got home from Toronto at 1am and then had to get up at 5:30am for our flight to Chicago. He was like "Ohhh, so you're in the same boat as me then!" and put his arm around me in sympathy. "Except," he said, "*I* have to work"!! We laughed at this, and I said "Very true!". I thanked him again, and then took off. All in all, it was a lot of fun interviewing them, they really made me feel at ease and were extremely friendly. Can't wait to do it again sometime!

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