Today we switch to the world of sports. And yes, Figure Skating is a sport, so don’t challenge me on that! I have this piece from AIF, the reporter is Alexander Boyarsky.the headline reads:
The Idiocy Is Astounding: A Ukrainian Has Been Expelled From the Skating Federation Because Of His Partipation In Navka’s Show.
The Ukrainian in question is Viktor Petrenko, whose greatest achievement was winning the Gold medal at the Olympics of 1992 in the category of male individual figure skating. Currently 53 years old, Viktor had the misfortune of being born in Odessa, which placed him on the Ukrainian side of the line when the Soviet Union collapsed. Two years after his Olympic victory Petrenko had the great fortune of emigrating to the United States, bringing with him his family, his associates, his students, and many of his friends. (Elite skaters are a tight-knit group.) He still resides in the U.S., and is a well-respected coach of elite skaters.
Nonetheless Petrenko maintained ties with his native country and even served (since 2008) as the Vice President of the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation. Until they expelled him. Not sure exactly when that happened, it could have been just a few days ago. Ironically when the Russian Special Operation started, the pro-Ukrainian side used Viktor’s name for propaganda purposes. It seems that he had been visiting some relatives in Kiev at just the time when the Russians were lobbing a few rockets in his direction. Viktor tweeted some stuff from his basement, where he was hiding out from the bombs, and became an instant martyr among the Russophobe figure-skating hoi-polloi. Happily, he survived that ordeal and returned safely to his job at the American rink. A Ukrainian hero, and now, all of a sudden, he is a traitor.
The Little Scarlet Flower
What did Viktor do that ticked the Ukrainians off? He accepted an invitation to skate in an ice show in Sochi, Russia. The show was organized by his old pal, Tatyana Navka. The 47-year-old Navka is also a former Olympic champion, having won the Gold in ice dance at the 2006 Winter Olympics (with her partner Roman Kostomarov). Navka is much hated by Russophobes due to her later marriage to Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s Press Secretary. Peskov was lucky to snag this beautiful lady, but the downside is, that Tatyana’s high position in Russian society, has put her on the American sanctions list. Ironically, Navka herself, like Petrenko, was actually born in the Ukraine, in Dnipropetrovsk, back in the days when it was just the Soviet Union. People have to understand that the world of elite figure skating is a very tight subculture, based on personal friendships and professional associations. In a word, Petrenko, Navka, and various other members of their clique (I could name-drop a lot of people), have been solid friends for many years, decades. They all went through hell together, and they all emerged successful. These are very talented people, and they are not going to let a little thing like a war or politics get in the way of friendships and professional connections built up over the years.
Navka’s ice show is called “The Little Scarlet Flower”, based on a fairy tale by Russian writer Sergei Aksakov (1858). It is a variation of the “Beauty and the Beast” motif.
ThePlot: A wealthy merchant leaves for a trip abroad. He asks his 3 daughters what he should bring them home, as presents. The eldest daughter asks for a golden crown which lights up at night. The middle daughter asks for a mirror which makes her appear ever younger and never get old. The youngest daughter requests a red flower more beautiful than any other in the world. For the last request, the merchant can only promise to give it the old-school try. He says it’s easy enough to find a red flower, but how the heck can he know whether or not it’s the most beautiful one in the world?
Finishing his business trip successfully, with a big profit, the merchant heads home with all his loot, including the gifts for his two older daughters. Unfortunately, his caravan is attacked by bandits, and he is barely able to escape into the woods alone. In the woods he finds himself in an enchanted courtyard. Strolling through the garden he sees a red flower of unparalled beauty. He realizes that this is the one he wants, so he plucks the flower. At which point the master of the court, a monster, appears, all enraged that his guest plucked his favorite flower, the thing that gave the most meaning to his life. The monster sentences the guest to death for his action. However, after the merchant explains the story about his daughter, the monster lets him go, and even take the flower with him, and other precious gifts. The condition being that one of his daughters must return to the courtyard voluntarily and spend the rest of her life with the monster. If he can’t get any of his daughters to agree to this term, then the merchant must return himself and be subjected to the death penalty. The merchant agrees to the terms, and the monster gives him a riny golden ring, which has the power to transport its wearer instantaneously anywhere they like.
The merchant arrives home (using the magic ring), to find his caravan and servants already there, they also survived the ordeal and managed to keep all the loot. The merchant hands over the gifts, including the red flower, but for some reason the youngest daughter is not happy with it, and starts weeping. The following day the merchant tells his girls the whole story and requests a volunteer, to go live with the monster and thus save papa’s life. The older girls refuse outright: “Let her go, who received the red flower.” The youngest daughter agrees, dons the magic ring and appears instantaneously in the courtyard of the monster.
Where she proceeds to live a life of luxury, with every whim being instantly satisfied. She never sees her host, though; he remains invisible to her. In time she becomes accustomed to his voice and starts to fall in love with him. She demands to see his face. Eventually he agrees, on the condition that she may leave instantly, if she finds him too repulsive. When he shows his face, she is not horrified, they speak kind and tender words to one another.
One day the girl sees, in a dream, that her father is ill. The monster allows her to return home for a visit, but warns her that he cannot live without her; so that, if she doesn’t return within 3 days, he will die. [Jeez, what a psychological burden on this young kid!]
Returning home, the girl tells her sisters all about her wonderful life with the monster. The sisters are jealous of her success. They sabotage her by winding the clock back, so that she misses the 3-day deadline. When she arrives back in the courtyard, she finds her host dead. Weeping, she embraces the corpse and declares her love for her “beloved bridegroom”. Hearing those words, with accompanying earthquakes and lightning strikes, the monster comes back to life, but this time as a handsome prince. He narrates the story, how a sorceress had transformed him into a hideous monster. His curse was to remain thus until he was able to find a faithful girl who would love him for his inner self and promise to be his lawful wife. He has lived thusly for 30 years waiting for The One. And then finally found her, in the form of this innocent 12-year-old girl. [Pedophile!] So, they get married and live happily ever after.
The Merchant Returns Home
Returning home to the U.S. from his magical ice show in Sochi, Viktor Petrenko found an unpleasant surprise awaiting him: A letter from the Ukrainian Skating Federation, informing him that he was now skater non-grata.
And thus, according to the reporter, has the Ukraine shown its true face to the world, has shown how contemptuously it treats its own greatest athletes. Has shown, in short, the face of a monster.
Viktor’s friends, in response, have rushed to show him their support. Coaching legend Tatyana Tarasova: “We are hoping for a time when all the people on the planet embrace each other and become friends. Viktor Petrenko is our comrade and our friend. I love him. I wish peace on earth to everyone.”