Ekaterina Alexandrovna Gordeeva () (born , ) is a n (former ) . Together with her late partner and husband , she was the Calgary 1988 and Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympic Champion.
Often called "Katia", Gordeeva was born in Moscow to Alexander Alexeyevich Gordeev and Elena Levovna Gordeeva. She has a younger sister, Maria Alexandrovna Gordeeva (born 1975), who lives in Moscow. Gordeeva began skating at the age of four, in skates many sizes too big, wearing multiple pairs of socks because skates small enough for her feet were unavailable in the Soviet Union. She was not a particularly strong jumper, and in August 1981, coach Vladimir Zaharov paired 10-year-old Gordeeva with 14-year-old Sergei Grinkov.
They won the 1985 in . The following year they won the first of their four World Championships.. They successfully defended their World title in 1987 and then won gold at the in Calgary Olympics in 1988.
In November 1987, Grinkov caught a blade on the ice during a practice session and dropped Gordeeva on her forehead. She was hospitalized six days. She had been mad at him, but when he brought her flowers and was sincerely sorry, she forgave him. After getting back on the ice, she immediately noticed that Sergei was holding her tighter, as if he would never let go of her.
After a fall in their long program, they took silver at the World Championships in 1988, but reclaimed the title in 1989 and 1990. They turned professional in the fall 1990, winning their first World Professional Championship in 1991. They also won that title in 1992 and 1994.
Gordeeva and Grinkov won almost every competition they entered. In the 31 competitions at the senior and professional levels, they finished first 24 times, and never lower than second. They are one of the few pair teams in history to successfully complete a quadruple twist lift in international competition. They landed the difficult element with ease at the 1987 World Championships. They also completed the element at the 1987 European Championships, but due to a problem with Grinkov's boot strap and a misunderstanding about the rules (the music stopped playing, but they continued skating), they were disqualified from that event.
After the Olympics, the pair returned to professional skating and moved to . That summer, Gordeeva and Grinkov were chosen for induction into the and the pair planned to return to Stars on Ice for their fourth season with the tour.
On , , Grinkov collapsed on the ice and died at age 28 from a massive . The pair were on the ice in rehearsing for opening night of the upcoming tour. Doctors later discovered that Grinkov had a congenital heart condition which caused his death. Her first solo performance was a tribute to her late husband, in which numerous skating luminaries took part. Gordeeva has said that she felt as if she skated with Sergei that night, that she was "double strong" because she felt him with her. In February 1998, aired an eponymous docudrama based on the book. She published a second book in April, 1998, titled '.
In 1998, she told an interviewer that "My life of great skating, and skating with him, is over, ... I don't try to go now for Olympics. I take skating for a job."
Gordeeva returned to Stars on Ice in 1996 and toured with the show every year until 2000, when she took time off to have a baby. She has returned to the tour as a guest star many times, but has never returned to full-time touring. In addition to tours and shows, Gordeeva competed successfully as a professional solo skater, finishing as high as second place at the World Professional Championships (in 1998). She stopped competing in 2000, but continues to skate in professional skating tours, shows and competitions. While she has never returned to pair skating as a full-time endeavor, she has performed pair elements in many shows through the years with partners including , , , and . For the 1998-1999 season of Stars on Ice, she and fellow Russians , , and performed a quartet which showcased her pair skills, and in 1999-2000, she and Kulik skated a romantic duet during the tour.
Gordeeva has signed several endorsement contracts, the most notable of which was with and led to two perfumes ("Katia" and "Katia Sport") which were sold through Target stores. Gordeeva and her daughter, Daria, appeared in the 1997 holiday movie "Snowden on Ice" and Gordeeva appeared in the 1998 sequel, "Snowden's Raggedy Ann and Andy Holiday Show". She has represented and also appeared with Daria in a "" ad. In 2001, she was the subject of a figurine called "Katia's Celebration of Life", which depicts her performing a layback spin in the tribute she skated for Grinkov. In 2003, she appeared on the ice for the first time with Daria. The pair performed a duet during a show and have taken the ice together several times since then, including two different versions of Amy Grant's 'Children of the World' at Kristi Yamaguchi's Family & Friends shows in the fall of 2005 and 2006. During that show in 2007, the mother-daughter duo became a trio when they were joined by Gordeeva's younger daughter, Liza, and all three skated together to 'Homesick' performed live by the Cheetah Girls. Katia continues to honor her pairs skating roots. During the Fall of 2007, she skated in "Skate for the Heart" a show designed to raise awareness of heart disease. She skated in honor of Sergei. During the Fall of 2008, Gordeeva is scheduled to again be the headliner for the second year of that show. She is also participating in a Russian reality television show called Ice Age 2, which pairs her with Russian actor Egor Beroev as a skating pair. Her show is not unlike the American show "Skating with Celebrities" or "Dancing with the Stars" (but on ice skates).
On , , Gordeeva gave birth to her second daughter, Elizaveta Ilinichna Kulik (also called Liza, a of the name Elizaveta, pronounced LEE-za), whose father is men's gold medalist . The family returned to the Los Angeles area in the Summer of 2007 and currently reside in . Gordeeva, Kulik, Daria and Elizaveta made their first televised appearance as a family for 's Friends and Family in 2005, and they repeated that appearance in the 2006 and 2007 versions of the show. She and her family speak at home, but are not going to return to Russia.
Pairing with '
- Gordeeva, Ekaterina. '. Warner Books Inc., 1996. ISBN 0-446-52087-X.
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