Few women have a dream of becoming deputies. Irina Slutskaya, famous Russian figure skater, TV presenter, and mother of two children, has managed to do that. She could just provide coaching as many of her colleagues. Instead of that, she visits families with problems in housing, takes part in the organisation of sports facilities and playgrounds, calls for an increase in doctors' salaries and maternity benefits as well as for sound nutrition in schools, supports the programmes of prophylaxis of diabetes, and does Nordic walking with hundreds of people. In addition, she takes part in ice-skating shows because finds it good for the soul.
In fact, being a deputy of the Moscow Regional Duma wasn’t her childhood dream. She made this decision as an adult person and a sportsperson having achieved much thanks to her indomitable spirit.
At the age of 24, when she was at the height of her sport career, Irina Slutskaya dealt with vasculitis, an insidious disease featuring inflammation of the blood vessels. By that time, she had been taking part in international competitions for 10 years, had been a two-time Olympic medalist and World champion, and five-time European champion.
It was not that easy to return to sport after a long recovery. The 2005 World Figure Skating Championships was a moment of the performance that embodied all her experience gathered at the previous championships. She was supported by the words from Zhanna Gromova, her figure skating coach. The audience applauded for her after every jump performed. Thanks to her incredible performance at the 2005 World Figure Skating Championships, she became the first female skater to perform triple lutz-triple loop and triple salchow-triple loop combinations. Of course, this achievement was possible only thanks to constant training in secret from doctors.
Irina Slutskaya’s performance ended with a deafening applause from the audience. That was her triumphant comeback after all hardships she had experienced. A year later, she became a seven-time European champion and won bronze at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Having achieved so much, she finished her sport career.
“When one door closes, another one opens…”
After finishing her sport career, Irina Slutskaya left for a tour of Europe and the USA where she was remembered and loved thanks to her participation in international competitions. Then she acted as a TV presenter of many projects by Channel One Russia.
She describes working on TV as a bright and interesting period of life. It lasted for 15 years and made her even more popular. According to her, then that was very useful for her as a politician.
“I understand that my name, which is well-known in Russia and abroad, gives me more opportunities. Thanks to this, I can open the doors I need and solve tasks of any difficulty”, she said.
Being a deputy of the Moscow Regional Duma is a new page in her life. Irina Slutskaya is interested in helping people, using her experience in sport and leadership skills. She understands that the years of success in performances brought her not only medals and awards, but also recognition and respect.
The world-famous single skater has never been alone. Her figure skating coach, Zhanna Gromova, has always supported her, guiding her from 1985 up to the end of Irina’s sport career in 2006. According to Irina Slutskaya, her mother is the main authority for her.
“She is the one who taught me to smile even when I want to cry. She taught me always to move forward without the fear of mistakes, failures, obstacles, and impossible tasks”, she said.
As a real professional, Irina Slutskaya always learns. She didn’t give up studying at the Moscow Academy of Physical Culture even when she was at the height of her sport career. Working on TV, she attended courses for TV and radio presenters. Before becoming a deputy of the Moscow Regional Duma, she entered the Faculty of State and Municipal Management at the Russian State Social University.
Initially she took too close to heart all challenges she dealt with. Irina Slutskaya said: “During my first six months as a deputy I often came home and literally cried because I dealt with really difficult situations.”
Support is required in politics as well as at the ice rink. Irina Slitskaya finds support in her close associates. Together they cope with the challenges. In addition, feedback from grateful people she helped serves as a real proof of her success at work.
Today, Irina Slutskaya is not only a deputy of the Moscow Regional Duma, but also the Deputy Chair of the Committee for Health, Labour, and Social Policy. She is engaged in many charitable projects aimed at helping people with disabilities.
One of those projects concerns children with diabetes. Irina Slutskaya personally knows people suffering from diabetes including children of her close friends. As the Chairperson of the Presidium of the Voluntary Physical Culture Union, she worked hard to help children with diabetes do sport on the same footing as all others. According to her, promotion of healthy lifestyle and prophylaxis are the main way to fight against diabetes.
The charitable actions Stand Up and Run and Life Without Diabetes were held in 10 regions of Russia under her supervision. She personally took part in them. For example, Irina Slutskaya guided beginner figure skaters and provided workshops on Nordic walking.
Irina Slutskaya finds it important that the health of future children depends on their mother’s health. Having devoted most part of her life to sport and having achieved success in different fields, she brings up two children who also decided to make career in sport. Her ten-year-old son Artem Mikheev is fond of hockey and her seven-year-old daughter Varvara Mikheeva chose figure skating following her mother’s example.
Recently Irina Slutskaya took the initiative of uniting efforts of women from all countries in order to change attitude to healthy lifestyle. She proposes to hold a number of events at the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum to discuss the role of women in sport popularization. The Forum is to take place in Saint Petersburg on September 20-21, 2018. The plan includes demonstration of the most effective sport activities, workshop on Nordic walking led by Marko Kantaneva, Nordic walker from Finland, and meetings. The meetings will present effective healthcare practices by China and Japan.
Today, Irina Slutskaya works as hard as she did in sport. She carries out her mission with full vigour and is regularly rewarded with gratitude from people who are in need of her care and support.
Sukhrob Sharipov, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov