Elena Berezhnaya
Pair skater
Elena Berezhnaya
Elena Viktorovna Berezhnaya is a Russian pair skater. With partner Anton Sikharulidze, she is the 1998 and 1999 World champion, 1998 Olympic silver medalist and 2002 Olympic champion. Berezhnaya first competed with Oleg Shliakhov for Latvia and won gold at the 1995 Trophée de France. While training together in January 1996, she suffered a serious injury, leaving her partly paralyzed and unable to speak.
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Figure Skating Conspiracy? U.S. Officials Deny L'Equipe Report Alleging Intent To 'Help' Russians
Huffington Post - about 3 years
By Pritha Sarkar SOCHI, Russia, Feb 8 (Reuters) - U.S. Figure Skating has strongly denied reports suggesting the United States and Russia are conspiring to help each other win gold medals at the Sochi Olympics. "Comments made in a L'Equipe story are categorically false," the American governing body said in a statement on Saturday. "There is no 'help' between countries. We have no further response to rumours, anonymous sources or conjecture." U.S. media picked up on the report, saying the arrangement would help Meryl Davis and Charlie White to become the first Americans to win the Olympic ice dance gold, while Russia in return would benefit in the team and pairs competitions. The original report also alluded to the fact that the arrangement was made so Davis and White were guaranteed to beat Canadian rivals and 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, with whom they share a coach in Marina Zoueva. ...
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Huffington Post article
Show must go on for Battle of the Blades - Toronto Star
Google News - over 5 years
The figure skaters include Navarro, Marie-France Dubreuil, Elena Berezhnaya, Tanith Belbin, Anabelle Langlois, Violetta Afanasieva, Marcy Hinsmann-Harris and David Pelletier. The show has yet to make a decision on what Navarro's role will be,
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Google News article
Anabelle Langlois chaussera à nouveau ses patins - Cyberpresse
Google News - over 5 years
Tessa Bonhomme, qui a gagné la médaille d'or olympique, sera jumelée avec David Pelletier, champion des Jeux de 2002 en paire à Salt Lake City. Parmi les spécialistes du patinage artistique, on retrouvera les Russes Elena Berezhnaya et Violetta Afanasieva
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Google News article
CBC's “Battle of the Blades” drafts female hockey player - Realscreen
Google News - over 5 years
Each professional hockey player will be paired with figure skating stars, including Pelletier, Elena Berezhnaya, Tanith Belbin, Marie-France Dubreuil, Anabelle Langlois, Violetta Afanasieva, Kim Navarro and Marcy Hinzmann-Harris
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Google News article
Forrest Gump a la rusa - España rusa
Google News - almost 6 years
El actor Gosha Kutsenko admitió que ya estaba pensando en una idea parecida recordando de la famosa patinadora sobre hielo, Elena Berezhnaya, quien después de un accidente durante un entrenamiento cuando su pareja chocó el patín contra su cabeza,
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Google News article
What's On Sunday
NYTimes - almost 7 years
8 P.M. (Discovery, Animal Planet) LIFEOprah Winfrey narrates this 11-part nature series, which explores the adaptability and diversity of life on earth -- culling among the 30 million or so animal and plant species here -- from the spectacular to the downright bizarre. Images were captured in high definition using equipment like a ''yogi cam,''
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NYTimes article
What's On Today
NYTimes - almost 7 years
8 P.M. (ABC) THIN ICE Sure, they can skate to form at the Olympics. But can they actually entertain us? That's the premise of this two-part competition in which professional figure skaters perform live from the MGM Grand at Foxwoods in Connecticut for prizes that total $220,000. Ten competitors from the women's, men's, pairs and dance disciplines
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NYTimes article
IN THE ARENA; A Lightning Rod of Figure Skating Returns, Unbowed by a Scandal
NYTimes - about 7 years
When Didier Gailhaguet last had an Olympic credential around his neck, he was in the midst of a firestorm in Salt Lake City that might have razed for good the career of a less combative sports administrator. But Gailhaguet, who was eventually suspended from international figure skating for three years, has proved to be a survivor, which is no
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NYTimes article
IN THE ARENA; Lightning Rod of Skating Returns, Unbowed by Scandal
NYTimes - about 7 years
TALLINN, ESTONIA -- When Didier Gailhaguet last had an Olympic credential around his neck, he was in the midst of a scandal and media firestorm in Salt Lake City that might have razed the career of a less combative sports administrator for good. But Gailhaguet, who was eventually suspended from international figure skating for three years, has
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NYTimes article
2006 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES --FIGURE SKATING: PAIRS; WITH RISK COMES REWARD
NYTimes - about 11 years
When the Chinese pairs skater Zhang Dan crashed to the ice Monday night, legs splayed awkwardly as she slid into the boards, the crowd at the Palavela gasped and its reaction was reprised every time the horrific fall was replayed on the scoreboard. Her partner, Zhang Hao, rushed to her side and all but carried her off the ice. They were attempting
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NYTimes article
2006 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES -- FIGURE SKATING: PAIRS; After the Fall: Russians Let Loose and Lead
NYTimes - about 11 years
When Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin of Russia spun to the finish of their nearly flawless short program Saturday night, they shared an expression of joy mixed with relief. At this Olympic event, unlike the scandal-marred pairs figure skating competition at the last Games, the heartstring-pulling story line belongs to the Russian couple in
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NYTimes article
ICE SHOW REVIEW; With Star Turns and Triple Turns, a Sail Through Time
NYTimes - almost 13 years
Some choreographers demonstrate their art in shoes or bare feet; some wear ice skates. With Christopher Dean, the former Olympic ice dancing champion invited to lend his touch of genius to ''Smucker's Stars on Ice,'' this year's show soars to new heights. Always one of the better ice shows under Scott Hamilton's leadership, Stars on Ice has
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NYTimes article
PLUS: FIGURE SKATING; Snag in Extradition Of Accused Russian
NYTimes - over 13 years
A Russian accused of fixing figure skating at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics will not be extradited, his lawyer said yesterday. Italy's highest court overturned an extradition order to the United States for Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, according to the lawyer Luca Saldarelli. The court gave no explanation for its ruling, and it usually takes several
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NYTimes article
Italians Plan To Extradite Russian to U.S.
NYTimes - about 14 years
Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, accused of fixing figure skating competitions at the last Winter Olympics, must be extradited to the United States, a court ruled today. The court did not set a deadline, his lawyer, Luca Saldarelli, said. ''We have to wait 15 days to receive the reasons for the decision, and then we'll make an appeal,'' he said. If
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NYTimes article
PLUS: FIGURE SKATING; F.B.I. to Interview At Skate America
NYTimes - over 14 years
A federal grand jury is reviewing the scandal-plagued pairs event at last winter's Salt Lake City Olympics, and the F.B.I. will likely do more interviews in Spokane, Wash., this weekend at Skate America. According to a letter from the International Skating Union, skating officials can also expect the F.B.I. to approach them at the world
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NYTimes article
FIGURE SKATING; Olympic Skating Scandal Spurs 5-Count Indictment
NYTimes - over 14 years
A federal grand jury in Manhattan issued a five-count indictment yesterday against Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, who is accused of conspiring to fix the pairs figure skating and ice dancing events at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The grand jury said Tokhtakhounov, whom prosecutors have linked to the Russian mob, had directed a scheme with
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NYTimes article
PLUS: OLYMPICS; Skating Union Calls For Investigation
NYTimes - over 14 years
The International Skating Union has asked its member federations to investigate whether any officials or athletes had links to a conspiracy to fix the results at the Olympics. In a letter to all 73 national skating associations, the I.S.U., based in Lausanne, Switzerland, said yesterday they should establish whether ''any individual under the
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NYTimes article
FIGURE SKATING; Transcripts Suggest Ice Dancer Knew of Fix
NYTimes - over 14 years
The skater at the heart of the accusations that Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov rigged the Salt Lake Olympic skating results struck back this week, voicing indignation at what she painted as a conspiracy to tarnish her Olympic gold medal. But the dismissal of the accusations by the skater, the ice dancer Marina Anissina, betrays broad inconsistencies with
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NYTimes article
Emphatic 'No' to Extradition
NYTimes - over 14 years
The reputed Russian mobster accused of trying to fix two figure skating results at the Olympics plans to fight extradition to the United States. Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov said ''no'' when asked at a closed hearing today in Santa Maria Maggiore prison if he would consent to extradition, according to Judge Giannicolo Rodighiero. The defense attorney
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Elena Berezhnaya
    THIRTIES
  • 2011
    Age 33
    In November 2011, she announced her retirement from performing.
    More Details Hide Details Berezhnaya coaches at the Yubileyny rink in Saint Petersburg.
    In autumn 2011, Berezhnaya participated in the third season of the Canadian reality program Battle of the Blades, partnered with former NHL player Curtis Leschyshyn.
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  • 2010
    Age 32
    In late 2010 and early 2011, Berezhnaya played the White Queen in an Alice in Wonderland ice show in St. Petersburg and Moscow, alongside Alexei Yagudin and Tatiana Totmianina/Maxim Marinin.
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    Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze skated together at a City Lights-themed ice show in Moscow from 14–17 October 2010.
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    In 2010, she joined another edition of Ice Age, teaming up with Igor Ugolnikov.
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  • 2009
    Age 31
    She also skated with former training mate John Zimmerman in the Kings on Ice (Короли льда) show in 2009, and with Jérôme Blanchard in Ice Heart (Ледяное сердце).
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    In 2009, she skated with the comedian Mikhail Galustian in the Channel One series Ice Age 3 (Russian: Ледниковый период-3).
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  • 2008
    Age 30
    In 2008, she was paired with the pop star Dima Bilan for the Russia 1 series Star Ice (Звёздный лёд).
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  • TWENTIES
  • 2006
    Age 28
    In 2006, Berezhnaya teamed with the actor Aleksandr Nosik for the Channel One (Russia) ice show Stars on Ice (Russian: Звёзды на льду).
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  • 2003
    Age 25
    In May 2003, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze confirmed they had retired from competitive skating.
    More Details Hide Details From 2002–2006, they toured with Stars on Ice, then returned to Russia. Although taking time off to have two children, Berezhnaya made occasional appearances in Russian ice productions.
  • 2002
    Age 24
    At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, both pairs skated strong short programs, after which Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze were in first and Salé/Pelletier, who had a fall at the end of their program, second.
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  • 2001
    Age 23
    The result sparked a controversy with the media emphasizing Sikharulidze's stepout, although there was no media criticism a year earlier when Salé/Pelletier were awarded gold at the 2001 World Championships.
    More Details Hide Details Some skaters have won with as many as four falls, i.e. Canadian Patrick Chan at the 2010 Skate Canada International. The commentators received criticism for failing to mention Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze's strengths, with some observers stating that the pair had performed a more challenging program with greater speed, more interweaving moves and transitions, and less distance between the partners. The International Skating Union's Technical Committee decided to look into the matter, first approaching French judge Marie-Reine Le Gougne, the only Western judge in favor of the Russian pair. She allegedly said that she had been intimidated by the head of the French skating organization into voting for the Russian pair in exchange for an advantage for the French couple in the ice dancing competition, which was to follow a few days later. A second gold medal was awarded to the Canadian pair, and the IOC and ISU decided to declare both pairs as Olympic co-champions.
    Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze developed a rivalry with Canadians Jamie Salé and David Pelletier. The 2001 World Championships were held in Salé/Pelletier's home country of Canada.
    More Details Hide Details Although Salé fell on the triple toe loop in the short program and then singled her double Axel in the long, Salé/Pelletier were awarded gold ahead of Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze. In autumn 2001, Sikharulidze required stitches for a long gash along his arm when his partner's blade accidentally cut him in training just before the start of the Grand Prix season. The injury having delayed their preparations, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze used their Charlie Chaplin program at the start of the season and debuted their new long program to Meditation de Thais at the Grand Prix Final in December. The pair decided to keep their new programs for the Olympics, while their rivals abandoned their new long program, with which they had been struggling, and decided to reuse their old Love Story program. The New York Times speculated that the judging might be influenced by the crowd response, with the familiar music of Love Story having more potential to draw louder applause in North America and the judges not being immune to human reactions.
  • 2000
    Age 22
    In February 2000, the pair won gold at the 2000 Europeans but were stripped of their medals after Berezhnaya tested positive for pseudoephedrine, a substance whose ban was lifted temporarily between 2004 and 2010 before being banned again.
    More Details Hide Details This resulted in a three-month disqualification from the date of the test, and the medal being stripped. She stated that she had taken cold medication approved by a doctor but had failed to inform the ISU as required. The pair missed the World Championships that year as a result of the disqualification.
  • 1999
    Age 21
    Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze struggled at Skate America in October 1999, placing third, but regained their form to win Skate Canada in November.
    More Details Hide Details Moskvina would later admit Sikharulidze had become distracted by life in a new country and was not as focused on training.
    In January 1999, they had to withdraw from the European Championships after the short program due to Berezhnaya having the flu. They won their second world title at the 1999 World Championships in March 1999.
    More Details Hide Details The Yubileyny Sports Palace ice rink then closed for renovations, forcing the pair and Moskvina to relocate to Hackensack, New Jersey's Ice House in the summer of 1999.
  • 1998
    Age 20
    Following the Olympics, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze competed at the 1998 World Championships where they won the gold medal.
    More Details Hide Details Later in the year, they spent some time training at the Stamford Twin Rinks in Stamford, Connecticut. They won 1998 Skate America and 1998 NHK Trophy.
    At only 20 and 21 years of age respectively, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze had established themselves as gold-medal favorites going into the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.
    More Details Hide Details Observers were impressed by their rapid progress. Ekaterina Gordeeva selected the pair as her and Sergei Grinkov's skating doubles in a documentary on the legendary team after her husband's death. At the Olympics, the pair had one fall in the short program but their other elements were of high quality. In the long, they put themselves back in contention for the gold medal with a strong performance, until five seconds from the end when they had a surprising fall as Sikharulidze set her down from a closing star lift. Although disappointed by suddenly giving away their chance at the gold so close to the end of the program, Sikharulidze recovered from his shock and joked, "It's a new finish. If you don't like it, we'll change it, no problem." The quality of the rest of their skating earned them the silver medal ahead of Wötzel/Steuer, while Kazakova/Dmitriev claimed the title. Former Japanese singles skater Yuko Kawaguchi became inspired to switch to pair skating after seeing Elena Berezhnaya at the Nagano Olympics.
    With partner Anton Sikharulidze, she is the 1998 and 1999 World champion, 1998 Olympic silver medalist and 2002 Olympic champion.
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  • TEENAGE
  • 1997
    Age 19
    In January 1997 in Paris, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze made the podium at their first Europeans together, obtaining the bronze medal. At the 1997 World Championships in March, their short program placed them provisionally in third, with two judges giving them first-place votes.
    More Details Hide Details However, the pair placed 12th in the long program and dropped to 9th overall.
  • 1996
    Age 18
    Sikharulidze and Berezhnaya had an on-and-off romantic relationship between 1996 and 2002; they remain close friends.
    More Details Hide Details With former husband Steven Cousins, Berezhnaya has a son Tristan – born 6 October 2007 in London, England – and daughter, Sofia Diana (diminutive: Sonia) – born on 21 June 2009 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. In August 2010, the children were baptized in an Orthodox church in Saint Petersburg, with Sikharulidze becoming her son's godfather. Season! Short program! Free skating! The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: ---- Season!
    She returned to competition in November 1996, skating with Sikharulidze at Trophée Lalique where the pair won bronze.
    More Details Hide Details In December, they placed fifth at Cup of Russia, and then captured the silver medal at the Russian Nationals, earning them a berth to the European Championships.
    Berezhnaya wished to return to the ice and doctors agreed that physical exercise would be therapeutic. On 15 March 1996, only two months after the accident, she began skating carefully with Sikharulidze's help and Moskvina observing.
    More Details Hide Details Berezhnaya said, "I didn't have any false dreams about the future. All I thought about was those first steps." Moskvina felt the pair looked promising, "They're a natural pair. They've got it – something magical." With Berezhnaya's condition improving, the two began to consider the possibility of a competitive career together. She had made a nearly full recovery, although her speech remained slurred requiring speech therapy. As of 2010, only a minor speech problem remained.
    On January 9, 1996, Berezhnaya was seriously injured when Shliakhov's blade sliced into her skull while the pair were practicing a side-by-side camel spin in Riga.
    More Details Hide Details Two surgical operations were performed to remove bone fragments from her brain. The accident caused partial paralysis on her right side, and doctors were unsure if she would walk again. She also briefly lost the ability to speak. During her hospitalization, Sikharulidze heard of the news, and traveled to Latvia to be with her, joining Moskvina. Berezhnaya was surprised and overjoyed to see him, but unable to speak or move. Shliakhov also arrived at the hospital with flowers but Berezhnaya did not wish to see him again. Her mother, Sikharulidze, and Moskvina took her back to Saint Petersburg, Russia where she could begin her rehabilitation. She was grateful for his support, saying she was "skinny, shaved, half-alive, almost a skeleton, and Anton so tenderly cared about me. Perhaps it was his belief in me that helped me recover so quickly."
    She recovered rapidly and began competing again in November 1996 with new partner, Anton Sikharulidze.
    More Details Hide Details Within two years of the accident, Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze had established themselves as one of the best pair teams in the world. During their competitive career, they were coached by Tamara Moskvina at the Yubileyny Sports Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and the Ice House in Hackensack, New Jersey. Their Olympic gold medals are shared with Canadian pair Jamie Salé and David Pelletier. Berezhnaya was born in the southern Russian town of Nevinnomyssk, her mother having moved from Voronezh and her father from beyond the Urals. She has an elder brother, Alexei, and a younger one, Ivan. Her parents divorced when she was five due to her father's alcoholism; her mother remarried but eventually divorced again. The family also included a cousin, Nadezhda, whose parents had died. Berezhnaya began skating at the age of four in Nevinnomyssk. At the age of 8, she began to be coached by Nina Ruchkina, who had arrived from Moscow. When Berezhnaya was 13, her coach asked her to switch from singles to pairs. Ruchkina had decided that her son, Alexander Ruchkin, should be a pair skater despite not being physically suited for the discipline – and she wanted Berezhnaya, as the smallest girl, to be his partner. Although Berezhnaya enjoyed watching pair skating, she was skeptical of the proposed partnership but Ruchkina convinced her mother that the pair would get a chance at CSKA Moscow's skating school.
    While training together in January 1996, she suffered a serious injury, leaving her partly paralyzed and unable to speak.
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  • 1995
    Age 17
    At the end of 1995, Shliakhov demanded that they train in Riga for three weeks in preparation for the 1996 European Championships.
    More Details Hide Details Sikharulidze urged her to stay in Saint Petersburg but she believed she could manage a few weeks.
    Berezhnaya first competed with Oleg Shliakhov for Latvia and won gold at the 1995 Trophée de France.
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  • 1994
    Age 16
    The next season they won a pair of silver medals at the 1994 Skate Canada International and 1994 Trophée de France and finished 7th at the 1995 World Championships.
    More Details Hide Details Having little success in keeping Shliakhov in line, their coach resigned at the end of the season. The Latvian federation appealed to renowned coach Tamara Moskvina to take on the pair and she eventually invited them to train with her in May or June 1995. They spent a few months training in Colorado Springs, Colorado and then trained mostly at Yubileyny Sports Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, despite the deteriorating and crowded facilities of the 1990s. Berezhnaya/Shliakhov won bronze at Skate America, gold at Trophée de France and bronze at Nations Cup. Shliakhov was well behaved for half a year, but then dropped her from a lift. Moskvina had professional psychologists work with him regularly, however, after brief periods of calm with apologies and professions of affection, he would start to slip back to his old behavior. Berezhnaya thought he showed some improvement, however, Moskvina told her it was not enough and advised her to end the partnership. Shliakhov was registered at a mental hospital in Riga.
  • 1992
    Age 14
    The next season, Berezhnaya/Sikharulidze won the European Championship, defeating 1992 Olympic champion Artur Dmitriev with his new partner Oksana Kazakova, and the reigning World Champions Mandy Wötzel/Ingo Steuer.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1977
    Born
    Born on October 11, 1977.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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