Olympics 2018: She did it!

Pyeongchang-gun. Aliona SAVCHENKO and Bruno MASSO. Photo: Reuters

Former Ukrainian figure skater Aliona Savchenko, the fifth attempt and with a third partner still became Olympic champion.

Looks like the number “5” becomes magical for our former compatriots at the Winter Olympics. In Sochi 2014, the fifth attempt on the highest rung climbed fristaylistka Alla Tsuper. In the night from Wednesday to Thursday in Kannyn same focus managed to crank out 34-year-old native of Obukhov Alena Savchenko.

However, unlike their Belarusian colleagues she had previously been an Olympic medal, but only bronze (Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014, where she represented Germany with Robin Szolkowy). But she wanted the gold!


The future Olympic champion in pair skating three years old, when she first saw on TV a competition in figure skating. The first roller Alena was a lake near her house in Obukhovo, and the first coach – his father, the master of sports on weightlifting.

– I do more than my father’s daughter – remember the future Olympic champion later in an interview. The mother at first did not support the idea to give me to the section of figure skating, but then she gave up work for my classes.

To arrive on time for the first training session, Alena got up at four in the morning. Then two hours went by bus to Kiev. Once dad woke and asked the daughter “to ditch class”, so she immediately started to cry. Home they usually return around midnight – after the second workout. Imagine every day for nine years!

– Who will not tell you think I’m crazy. – says Alain, ‘ I don’t believe now that it was all me.

– Or was seven years old when I began to work with her. – says the coach of Savchenko Galina Kuhar, She was already with character. Remember, she is not terribly pleased set me free under Strauss. Open she still couldn’t speak, but rolled her so that I would get mad, angry, jumped behind her on the rink, and almost shook the soul. Because I thought she this composition is very suitable. Of course, when she grew up and became a couple, we already have the music.

When 13 years old Savchenko suggested to try yourself in pair skating, she happily agreed. Parents about it first, learned immediately, and secondly, was not happy. But to stop the already mega motivated daughter could not. The first partner Savchenko was Dmitry Benko. But it soon became clear that he was much weaker Alena and happy finishing in 13th place at the world Junior Championships in Canada in 1993, the couple ceased to exist.


The second Savchenko partner was Stanislav Morozov, five years her senior. Together they spent four seasons, became a two-time Champions of Ukraine, won the Junior world championship-2001, twice scored in the top ten at the European Championships and one world Cup, rounded out the Top 15 at the Olympics in salt lake city in 2002, which rolled under the eloquent and lyrical free program to “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven. But when that died down the sounds of music, it was not so nice.

Stas wanted us to continue riding. – later recalled Alain, But due to injury his sporting future was in question, on the one hand, and on the other, we were completely different people. Outside the rink and talked normally, but in training squabbled like dogs. However, the determining factor in the decision to go abroad was not it. I have not seen the future prospects of the lessons of figure skating in Ukraine. It was simply impossible to continue to work in such conditions, purchasing for its own account skates and costumes. Nobody rides for money, but without them it is impossible to achieve a result.


Savchenko tried to roll with Russian Anton Nimenko, who was ready to move to Ukraine. However, the opportunities to Fund the training of this pair of Ukrainian figure skating Federation not found.

The search for a new partner led Savchenko in Germany. This country is the native Obukhov long liked, and then turned up the opportunity to settle there. However, she didn’t know what, or rather who was waiting for her there.

– Get off the plane and I meet a black guy reperskih pants with long hair, braided in pigtails. – says Alena. – I then thought: how can such a ride, probably better to return home…

– Anyway, I met Robin at the Junior level before. – she adds. “Black” ice is unusual, so it is remembered. However, when I called the name and surname of a new partner, for some reason I was thinking all about the other person. And only jokingly told my mom that I’m riding with dark-skinned German. But every joke has some truth. In the end, it’s a good pair: like in the movie “chocolate”! By the way, and then I started to walk to the Solarium to less differ from partner. Once I even asked one of us is black. (Laughs

Robin in your clothing style changed, not immediately, but in terms of riding a German passport, Tanzanian and Czech genes quickly found a common language with Ukrainian. In his first international season 2004/05 they became fourth in the championship of the continent. And then for six years did not descend from the European pedestal, four times rising to the highest step.


Savchenko received German citizenship on 29 December 2005, however, and the opportunity to speak at his second Olympics, only this time for Germany. After winning two medals on the stages of “Grand Prix” and bronze in the final and becoming the first winner of the European championship, Alena and Robin quietly prepared for Turin-2006. But there was a scandal. Their coach, world champion in 1997 in tandem with Mandy Wetzl, Ingo Steuer remembered things past and was accused of collaboration with the secret service “Stasi” in the years of performances for the national team of the GDR. National Olympic Committee of Germany has deprived Steuer Olympic accreditation, and although in court he managed to defend the right to accompany the students on the main start of four years, sports officials at home secretly declared war on him. All this of course could not affect the performance of the pair in Turin. Although at that time, Alyona and Robin had not yet come in the medal pool and their sixth place was regarded as quite normal result, but the lack of an argument, to give this trio live and work on.

The German figure skating Federation urged Savchenko and Szolkowy to change mentor. The local press wrote that Steyer just covered prospective students as a shield. But Alain, no arguments have not acted. Partly also because with the coach it is linked not only working relationship.

– Ingo did our couple to be what it is now, – said Savchenko – the Result of his labors very much like. This is a new word in pair skating. Our coach is the best in the world, why change it.

In response to this principled position a pair of cut funding. Alena and Robin had to pay for travel to tournaments and stay in hotels for Steuer. The money for this, they even collected via the Internet, but the main part came from earnings on the show. And this situation lasted until the Vancouver.


Savchenko has always been a leader in the company of two “sh”. Although from the outside could seem that the whole head in this trio that is Ingo Steuer. What’s the last really could not refuse, so it is sincere concern for business. Moreover, emotions are often beat over the edge. And this was especially noticeable prior to departure to the competition. “We sometimes looked at each other, who to ride, us or him” – later recalled Alain. Say, for the eyes Stoyer even called crazy. Robin, in turn, always in the Union was a slave and this role suited him well and function as a firefighter, he sometimes still had to put out the fire between Savchenko and Steyerm.

In Vancouver 2010 the German skaters were going to win in the rank of two-time world Champions. But not only Alena dreamed of the highest step of the Olympic podium. For the Chinese Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo, eighteen years procatalyse together, took part in four Olympics, any medal except the most expensive, also would be considered a failure. Only here’s the problem: the gold one! And it finally sailed from Germany, when in the free program fell from Axel Robin Szolkowy.

Chinese couples shortly after the Games ended his career and, when it seemed that nothing and no one can stop Savchenko to win a coveted Olympic gold medal, appeared on the horizon of her ex-compatriot Tatiana Volosozhar, who have found their happiness and sports not only Maxim trankovym.

– Who of your students are more fortunate with your partner? – we asked once Galina Kuhar.

Both for all the parameters just pernici, – she answered, – And as partners, and one, and another has both advantages and disadvantages. Trankov only now become much calmer. Tanya knows how to balance. She did it even with Stas Morozov. Someday she will write a book “How to tame a partner.” Robin, I call him dalkovym. (Laughs), stronger and more reliable partner. But jumping made mistakes, too.

He was wrong in Sochi-2014. Robin and Alan had repeated your previous Olympic bronze result with the only difference that in Vancouver ahead were two Chinese couples, and in Sochi – two Russian, in particular, became Champions Volosozhar trankovym.


After the Games-2014 Robin declared that finishes career…. that will continue.

In the Olympic season on one of stages “Gran-at” – says Savchenko, we chatted with the canadian Eric Radford (two-time world champion paired with Megan Duhamel – Primas’. A. S.). He asked me what I will do after Sochi. I got to thinking and realized that I wanted to ride on.

Partners Savchenko “matchmaker” Alexander Enbert. But with him even before the trial is not reached because on the horizon appeared Bruno Masso.At 25, a native of Kan significant achievements could not boast. In Sochi 2014 he really qualified, but to be there could not because of the fact that his Russian partner Daria Popova were not given French citizenship.

To be honest, at first it looked like an adventure, then the adventure turned into an epic with obtaining permission for Mass to compete for Germany. They say the French Federation asked for a detachment of 100 thousand euros. October 26, 2015 the question was finally settled. If Popova and Bruno above the seventh place in the European championship and 15th in the “world” was not raised, then Savchenko immediately jumped on the pedestal, sincerely resenting any attempt to compare it with Szolkowy.

– We don’t want people drew Parallels between the us – said Mass in an interview with Icenetwork. – I don’t like when people compare me to Robin. We are a couple with a completely different face, we – Alan and Bruno!

In December 2017 Savchenko and Mass won the final “Grand Prix” in Nagoya, ahead of all its major competitors, and the status of the favorites came to the European Championships. But a week before its start, the coach pairs Alexander Koenig (with Ingo Stasera ex-Ukrainian cooperation was forced to stop, it was rumored that he asked for their services a crazy amount) has announced that his team will miss the competition in Moscow and will purposefully prepare for Pyeongchang.

Olympic team tournament where both pairs rolled a short program, showed that the fears were not in vain. The Russians were brilliant and set in the first place, but the German couple has summed up the release and she skipped forward again and Canadians Megan Duhamel and Eric Redford.

Not a release, and Mass failed Savchenko in the first day of competition directly in pair skating at the Games in 2018. Interestingly, the athletes skated to the song Caro emerald with enough symbolic for Savchenko the text “I’m gonna find that man” (which translated means “I will find the guy”). In the short program, Bruno, savoury Salchow, clearly the guy was not.

In the end, they were only in fourth place in the 0.23 points from leading sportsmen of Canada, but as many as five – from Tarasova and Morozov, as well as not participating in team battles Chinese sui Wenjing and Han Cong.

In the night from Wednesday to Thursday, the couples had to skate the long program. Watching in the penultimate warm-up experienced Zhang Hao suffered with crystal Yu Sajous (jumps on her feet almost did not obey), even thought, maybe he should try his luck at his sixth Olympics together with Alena, with which they would become the fourth partners for each other. This, of course, a joke, but seriously, it is hard to believe that ex-Ukrainian will be able to play handicap, which her partner gave rivals in the short program.

But Alena Savchenko, who arrived in Korea was still different from the one that played in Turin, Vancouver and Sochi with Robin Szolkowy. Distinguished primarily by the fact that realized, in her own words what has long been owed nothing to anybody that it was her moment, her ice, her Olympics. Realized Bruno for the day, which took place between a short and arbitrary program, it is hard to say, but it does not matter. The important thing is that this time, he’s an awesome partner did not disappoint, so much so that in the area of tears and kisses, the athletes were not the only things that walked performed a quadruple outlier of Canadians, but also a new world record – 159,31 (the previous belonged to them and was set in the final “Grand Prix”-2017).

The two remaining pairs were in the Arsenal of a serious argument, as a quadruple podkluc, but he coped with them, they do not avoid mistakes on other elements. Sui Wenjing and Han Cong screwed up on the jumps, Tarasova and Morozov for the mistake on the parallel Salihova, added a drop of release. And this time it was already almost clear that Savchenko – five minutes to the Olympic champion.

One of the first who congratulated the husband is a British artist Liam Cross, who was watching everything happening from the stands of the Ice arena in Gangneung.

– Some athletes have it all on the ice, but there is nothing beyond, – said after the wedding, which took place in the summer of 2016, Aliona Savchenko, Strong personalities it is difficult to find a soul mate, but I’m lucky, I have everything.

Now the ex-Ukrainian women are certainly all there, there is that second Olympic gold…

Anna SAVCHIK, Sport-Express in Ukraine

15 Feb. Vapor. Free program. 1. Savchenko/Mass (Germany) – 159,31. 2. Duhamel/Radford (Canada) – 153,33. 3. Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (China) – 153,08. 4. Tarasova/Morozov (SAR) – 143,25. 5. James/Sipr (France) – 143,19. 6. Markey/Hotarek (Italy) – 142,09. 7. Subiaco/Enbert (SAR) – 138,53. 8. SEGUIN/Bilodeau (Canada) – 136,50.

Result. 1. Savchenko/Mass – 235,90. 2. Wanchin Sui/Han Cong – 235,47. 3. Duhamel/Radford – 230,15. 4. Tarasova/Morozov – 224,93. 5. James/Sipr – 218,53. 6. Markey/Hotarek – 216,59. 7. Subiaco/Enbert – 212,88. 8. Xiaoyu Yu/Zhang Hao (China) – 204,10.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *