Alexander Gorshkov: “Belousova and Protopopov created a new skating style”

The legendary figure skaters Liudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov have not only brought our country many victories at major international competitions, but also became innovators, combining sport with art. Alexander Gorshkov, President of the Figure Skating Federation of Russia, spoke about it in his interview to the of ROC Information Service in connection with the death of Belousova at the age of  82.

– Ludmila and Oleg, were devoted to their work of love, – said the Innsbruck 1976 Olympic champion in Ice Dancing. – In 1964 they won the Soviet Union’s first Olympic gold medal in pair skating, and four years later they repeated their brilliant success. Moreover, this couple has created a brand new style in pair skating. They were very creative when working on their programs and payed great attention to individual elements. For example, Belousova and Protopopov came up with a new version of such element as death spiral. Figure skating is a combination of sport and art and their programs were the essence of this combination. In addition, I can’t think of another couple with such long-lasting sports career. Fanatically committed to skating, they continued to train and perform, despite their age.

– You knew them, didn’t you. In 1969 and Ludmila Pakhomova debuted at the European and World Championships, which for Belousova and Protopopov became last in their career.

– They always had a warm attitude towards our pair, helped us with advice. I can even say they took care of us. Although they  lived a very sequestered life, we were well received in their home.

– Have you talked to Oleg Protopopov. How is he doing? He’s already 85.

– Last time we met at the Sochi Olympic Games, where  Ludmila and Oleg came as guests. They lived at the South Seaside boarding house and when I could, I picked them up and tock them to the competitions. We talked about everything.

The Russian Olympic Committee expresses its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ludmila Belousova.

Alexander PROSVETOV