Thursday, May 6, 2010

My Sergei - a Love Story

As a former figure skater and avid watcher of all the Olympics since I was a child, this book “My Sergei – a Love Story” was a must for me to read. It is the biography of Ekaterini Grinkov (called “Katia”) and her husband, Sergei Gordeeva. They were Russian pair skaters in 2 Olympics (Calgary and Lillehammer), winning gold in each. They had also won several world championships and skated with “Stars on Ice”. Before they married, they were known as “G & G” (Gordeeva and Grinkov).

Truly remarkable pair figure skaters, they were known around the world. Katia was paired up with Sergei at age 11, and he 17. He was a kind, gentle giant of a man, and Katia was smitten by him at this young age. At her 1st Olympics, she was, as in her own words “naïve to things outside of skating”. Sergei, on the other hand, liked to party. She writes a lot about how he helped transform her to the woman she is today. Before I knew it, they fell madly in love and their skating changed drastically after they married. I remember vividly watching their piece in Lillehammer to “Moonlight Sonata”, and the book tells the behind the scenes story of what that experience was like. They skated that for each other – and it showed.

Few books bring tears to my eyes, and when Sergei tragically died in 1995, Katia’s world was crushed. She was left to raise their 3-year daughter on her own. With determination and with the encouragement of her fellow skaters (Scotty Hamilton, Brian Boitano, to name a few), she skated alone at “Celebration of Life” a tribute to Sergei’s life. More tears fell as she recalled what it was like to skate publicly without her Sergei.

I loved this book and in memory of my mother, who encouraged my skating, this is a must read for every figure skating fan, and anyone that likes a good love story.