Interview with
Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski

Part II

Interview and photos © by CĂ©line Oreiller and Jacqueline Zibung

What is your opinion of the Code of Points?
M: The Code of Points is not bad, but since it's new there are some problems and I hope that they will be corrected for next year. I always say that you can find strengths in each system, but then you have to know how to use it.
A: The rules are very restrictive which makes it hard to do something different because then you won't have a high enough level on the elements, so basically everyone does the same lifts, the same spins... We've done 5 competitions this season and seen most of the dancers, and some couples just have one element after another and hardly any choreography. But who cares about choreography actually? Nobody needs it if the lifts are level 4. I think this is the thing that has to be improved with this new systemÂ…

Which compulsory dance is your favorite?
M: We like the tango.
A: Tango romantica, Argentine tangoÂ… The golden waltz isn't bad either.
M: MmmhÂ…
A: We will see at Europeans! *laughs*

Some people want to do away with the compulsory dances, what do you think about that?
M: No, the compulsory dances improve the skating skills.
A: Â… and they really show how good the couples areÂ…
M: Â… and who can skate and who can't. 

Dortmund 2004 - FD practice

Which is your own all time favorite program?
M: Last year's Händel.
A: And maybe also the baroque original dance and the tango we skated to in the Olympic year.
M: We actually like each program. If there was a program we didn't like, we wouldn't keep it. All programs are different and we like them all.

And do you have a special memory, like an event where you skated really well and were very happy with? 
A: Last year was a very good season for us and the World Championships in Dortmund will always be a special memory. We skated very well, and it was amazing to see how the audience responded to our programs and stood up after we skated. This is the kind of thing that the competitors remember, not only the medalsÂ…

Not only the medalsÂ… yet many skaters would trade whatever world medals they have for an Olympic medal, is that the case for you?
A: No, but of course we will try to be on the podium at the Olympics next year. We understand that it will be very hard, but we will do our best and hope that everything will be fine. We cannot plan or expect anything now, because it will all depend on the programs we and our competitors will have. Maybe Navka and Kostomarov will come up with a wonderful program – or any other top couple, it doesn't matter who. So you never know, but we will train hard and we will fight for a medal, and which color – well, we hope for the best! *laughs*

Despite your fame, you often skate at smaller exhibitions and competitions, like here in Villars or at the Bofrost Cup. Is there a special reason for this?

A: And we also always do the Finlandia Trophy. It's very nice to do such events. We know that we have a lot of fans in Germany for example, that's why we decided to go there. This is one of the competitions we've done, I don't know, 3-4-5 times maybe?
M: Actually, the fact that we skate everywhere is probably one of the reasons why we have a lot of fans.

Exhibition in Villars, Switzerland

Did you ever think that you would actually become so good and so famous?
A: No!
M: No, of course not. I think each sportsman, each man dreams of becoming good and famous, but we never expected that it would happen to us!

How many autograph cards do you give out to your fans each year?
A: I don't know, I run out of cards all the time, it must be thousands a year. But it's a pleasure for us and it's nice to know that people want to have our cards and autographs. We also have calendars and we will do a new one for 2005, which we will hopefully bring to the Europeans!

Albena, you are one of very few top skaters with a university degree – in economics. How did you manage to study and keep up your training routines?
A: It was not very hard, because I graduated from the university after our first or second year together, and we didn't practice that much at that time. I'm glad I did this; it's very helpful to have this education. 

Would you like to work in business someday?
A: Maybe, but I would not be something like an economist or – how do you say? – the one who counts the money. This is not my profession; I will do something more artistic, more creative.
M: I don't know if she really studied economics actually, because she can't count! You know, the twizzles are just 4 turns, but she always does 3 or 5. Very difficult – 1, 2, 3, 4Â… 

But you can count rightÂ…
M: Yeah, of course, I can count, I can count to 4! 

So apart from the fact that he can count, Albena, how would you describe Maxim?
M: Who, me?... No, impossible!
A: Well, he's very funny, smiling all the time, very optimistic, carelessÂ… On the ice we are both very serious but sometimes he's more impatient, he wants everything to be perfect the first time. He also talks too much and is always doing silly things.

And the other way around? What is Albena like?
M: Albena talks too much of course, always very serious...
A: Be careful what you say!
M: Sometimes she's very pessimistic, and sometimesÂ… Mmmh, no, she's a good girl!
A: Good? That's it?
M: Well, she's nice, she's very funny, talentedÂ…
A: Davay, davay! (Keep going!)
M: Â…
A: OK, no more compliments for him today! *laughs*



No more compliments maybe, but after such a nice chat with this adorable couple, some gifts and - of course - all our best wishes for the coming European and World Championships!


Go back to Part 1


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