“One shouldn’t be afraid to lose; this is sport. One day you win; another day you lose. Of course, everyone wants to be the best. This is normal. This is what sport is about. This is why I love it.”- Oksana Baiul
A big smile, correct stature, an excellent attitude. Three minutes on Ice, to perform the choreography. To express the feelings and the emotions of the music. To surprise the audience, by enjoying the dance. This is ice-skating. Something that Oksana Sergeyevna Baiul learned a young lady.
Born on November 16, 1977, in the Ukraine, Oksana began ice-skating when she was 4 years old. Her first pair of ice skates, Oksana receive from her Grandfather.
While at the age of 7, she began to win competitions. Because of her unique, natural balletic artistry on the ice, the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation immediately took notice of her. While Oksana had her interest in ballet but was not regarded as thin enough, she started taking skating lessons with the support from her grandparents. Her grandmother said: “Ice-skating is ballet on skates.”
Unfortunately, she lost her parents and grandparents at the age of 13, and decided from now on to achieve her dream. From that point, she grew up with the family of her coach, Galina Zmievskaya, who became a surrogate parent to the young skater. The “Queen of the Ice” overcame the personal tragedy to become a champion skater. Maybe ice-skating became her balance to her unfair life conditions.
Zmievskaya explained about Oksana: “You have no idea how this girl prepared to be Olympic champion. We had no Zamboni in the rink. I hosed down the ice myself. No Olympic champion ever had such bad conditions to prepare in.”
In 1993, Baiul won the Ukrainian National Championships, the World Figure Skating Championships, and the Olympic Gold, providing that she is the Best in the World! She said:
“Olympic Gold changed me and my life dramatically. I became a celebrity overnight and people see me as a famous skater, not a real person.”
She got the talent to captivate the audiences’ hearts. Didn’t realized her talent, she wanted more. “And still I’m not completely happy with my skating. I always feel I can do more and climb higher. My weaknesses are my jumps. The reason is that although I land them in practice, when I actually compete or perform, I should let my body go and stabilize my mind better. Also, I need to work on not letting negative thoughts and emotions get to me on the ice,” Oksana said. With all her dedication, the hard work and commitment, she became one of the successful Ukrainian former figure skater, who has large number of fan and followers.
She decided to move to the United States, in order to skate professionally. At that time she broke with her longtime coach. During her career, she wrote two books. One of them, her autobiography “Oksana, My Own Story”, while in the other one “Secrets of Skating”, she explained what happen behind-the-scenes of ice-skating.
The tragic accident
Her personal life took the declination. She battled with a drinking problem. Oksana began the heavy drinking. In 1997, her addiction ended in a single-car crash in Connecticut that left her with a concussion. During the car accident, she sustained a cut to her scalp, and was hospitalized, because of the need of 12 stitches from injuries. She was only 20 years old. After that, Oksana entered a rehab program. Baiul went through a difficult period in her life.
The beautiful girl with the big smile on her face, laid down in a hospital bed, facing drunk-driving charges in connection with the crash. Oksana decided to change her life and to complete an alcohol education program. She did it with success.
She said about that period: “First, I have to thank God for giving me the gift that he did as well as a second chance for a better life.”
Finally, the “Swan of Odessa” is a very stunning women with enduring beauty and gorgeous talent, who handled both her personal and professional life well.
“I took some time off to enjoy my life, but figure skating is something I love and something I will continue doing for the rest of my life.” Sometimes people have to take a break, take time for themselves and keep calm, in order to become stronger to continue with these stuffs they love. Nowadays, she explains that she skates just for fun and of course, to keep herself in shape.
Fortunately today, Oksana Baiul has overcome her alcohol problems, launched a line of skating apparel, the “Oksana Baiul Collection”, and continued to skate in professional ice shows.
Barbara Walter fairly named her “One of the 10 Most Fascinating Personalities of 1994”. Oksana Baiul is truly an inspiration!
You will find more information about Oksana Baiul? Then, watch the Hallmark & CBS produced movie, “A Promise Kept: The Oksana Baiul Story”.
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