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Athletes, musicians share their elevated emotions with Putin

February 08, 2014, 22:42 UTC+3 SOCHI
Vladislav Tretyak, the legendary Soviet ice-hockey goalkeeper, confessed that he had worried much before the start of the ceremony in spite of his huge record of public appearances
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© EPA/VINCENT JANNINK

SOCHI, February 08. /ITAR-TASS/. Athletes of world renown Yelena Isinbayeva and Alina Kabayeva, who carried the Olympic torch at the Fish stadium Friday in the final phase of the opening ceremony of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, said Saturday they were as much in a flurry while carrying the torch as they would be during competitions.

They said it a meeting that President Vladimir Putin had with the organizers of and participants in the opening ceremony to thank them for the job they had done. The meeting was held in his official residence in Sochi.

Isinbayeva said she had learned about the role entrusted to her several months ago. “We had very many rehearsals and everything was OK so I didn’t feel any difficulties,” said the athletes who is expecting a child.

Alina Kabayeva said that she had enough time to watch the full opening ceremony on TV only Saturday morning. “We watched the ceremony off-stage standing all together there in a festive atmosphere and when the Russian anthem was performed we stood up and also sang it,” she said.

Kabayeva revealed a secret, saying participants in the highly popular televised show Golos (The Voice) helped the athletes to perform the anthem.

“Had anyone told me at the start of my sports career that I would become an Olympic champion someday and would take part in the opening of the Sochi Olympics, I would have redoubled my efforts in training,” she said. “Nothing in my life is accidental!”

She said, though, that all the torchbearers had felt some agitation and the tennis player Maria Sharapova had even done some warming-up.

Vladislav Tretyak, the legendary Soviet ice-hockey goalkeeper who lit the Olympic Cauldron together with another legend of the 20th century sports, figure skater Irina Rodnina, confessed that he had worried much before the start of the ceremony in spite of his huge record of public appearances.

“You know, there are always some problems and hitches there but, on the whole, the opening ceremony was perfect,” he said.

Tretyak added that he had been especially steamed up before Irina Rodnina and he were to run the final dozens of meters with the Olympic torch in their hands. “I rehearsed six times doing the distance - three times alone and three more times, together with Irina.”

He disclosed one more secret. Irina Rodnina offered him to stop for a second a look at each other right before lighting the Cauldron.

“Irina made a recommendation, telling me ‘Give me a tender loving look in the eyes’,” Tretyak quoted her smilingly.

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