At the end of 2015, the figure skating world was shocked. Figure skaters Karolina Klikich and Dmitry Nenashev were knocked down by a drunk driver at a high speed at a pedestrian crossing in Togliatti. The guy died in an ambulance, and the girl went through a coma, an emergency flight to Moscow, several operations and a long recovery.
Carolina was able to scramble out (doctors called her a miracle salvation) and even return to sports. But the search for a partner did not bring success - Klikich left her skating career, graduated from high school, entered the university and is now working as a coach in Ivanovo.
We met with Karolina in one of the Moscow shopping centers. She comes to the capital for the weekend to see friends and family.
“My mother and I have been living in Moscow in recent years, but in general we always moved back and forth. I studied in St. Petersburg for 12 years, then three years in Togliatti,”says Karolina at the beginning of our long and difficult conversation about a skater's career, an accident, rehabilitation and plans.
- How did it happen that you became a coach in Ivanovo? - Last winter I worked in the Moscow Longevity project - there were free figure skating programs for older people and children who need social support. The relationship was good, and at some point they began to recommend me to friends for rolling, somewhere they threw my announcements with offers of classes. I don't know where they found them. The load I had in the winter was such that I saved up for the car, and with self-isolation I had something to live on.
True, by the summer it became difficult. Seasonal programs have ended, and no one dares to take a permanent job without higher education - in all professional standards, even the fifth assistant to the seventh coach must have a diploma. Student? Go to a waitress or a cleaning lady. Forget about your favorite business. But I stubbornly wrote wherever a coach was needed, and now they answered from Ivanovo.
I came, tried it, the people are good, the kids want to practice, but the region does not develop figure skating as a sport. Not even just as basic, but in general. We work at a private ice rink, which is paid for by the parents. There are no specialists. As a result, there is a single girl, a good girl, 12 years old, and she does not all double jumps.
But nothing, we'll taxi. They called me there as a slipper trainer - put my hands in the program, correct the steps. And since such a situation, we will work on the jumps.
But, you know, I really miss Moscow Longevity. The atmosphere there is amazing. If there is no program this year, it is infinitely sorry. People need it very much. I should have seen with what passion, hard work my age wards taught flashlights, snakes, what emotions they have on the rink. They are just getting younger before our eyes. Although people who are 50-60 years old ride, one man was 64.
- Are you renting an apartment in Ivanovo? - Yes. I come to Moscow for the weekend.
Transnistria, Peter, Togliatti, Russian national team
- Can you tell us a little about how your career as a skater developed? - I was born in Transnistria. When I was a year and a half, I moved to St. Petersburg - my mom and dad went there to work. There she started to get sick often - chronic tonsillitis. Mom was advised to either give me a swim or take me to the skating rink. So I became an athlete.
First she studied with Elena Fomina, then with Elena Sokolova. At the age of 7, it became clear that because of the long legs, a single skater would hardly make me good, I wouldn’t pull jumps, and ice dancing began (now Carolina’s height is about 170 cm. - Sport24). At the age of 13, my mother and I realized that Peter had nothing to catch in dancing. In Moscow, it did not work either: they were not taken to one group, in the other they said “if you find a partner, come”.
Then there was a variant with Togliatti. True, we did not agree with the boy, but I decided to stay. The figure skating school in Togliatti is much better than the St. Petersburg one, and Danya Ragimov, with whom they had skated before, after some time agreed to come to try. That's when it all came together.
In one season we got into the Russian national junior team - and yes, this is probably our main success. There was a salary, help with suits, programs. It's no secret that it is difficult for a couple not from Moscow to achieve this.
We were the first at regional tournaments, the fourth at the All-Russian Spartakiad. Then they slowed down a little, but were ready to fight. And then you yourself know what happened.
3 weeks in coma and surgery
- Do you remember December 29, 2015? - Doctors say I will never remember. Like, this is how the brain works: stress turns off the reading of information.
That I remember very well and I will not forget how difficult it was to recover. When I got up on the ice for the first time after everything, there was a feeling that I had never been on it. She walked in small steps, on tiptoes. Like kids. I skated for a year and a half, but did not find a partner. Then there were the 10-11th grade and I decided to concentrate on my studies. I closed everything with an external student.
“Do you feel the consequences now?” “Yes. This does not pass without a trace. Whether you like it or not, you remember. The body makes you remember.
- How does it make you? - Knee aches, sometimes you can't sit on your leg to the end.
But how they gathered me. Please write about the people whom I will thank all my life. This is the neurosurgeon Olimdzhan Sadykovich Iskhakov from the Roshal clinic - he operated on me. Just gold, not hands. And one more great master - Andrey Petrovich Sereda. A month and a half later, they brought me to his FMBA clinic. I already more or less understood what planet I was on.
- How long did the whole recovery process take? - Three and a half weeks in a coma count? She was mine and artificial - otherwise, suddenly, I decide to wake up during the operation. By the way, on January 7th, on Christmas Day, I had an operation on both my right leg and the fourth cervical vertebra.
Only I don't remember all this. And after I regained consciousness - also not every day is in my memory. All in fragments, separate memories: here someone gave a bear, here someone brought raspberries.
- How soon did you start walking? - I was forced to walk on crutches since the beginning of February. They loaded it on a verticalizer (orthopedic apparatus - Sport24) so that I could just stand. But my head was spinning incredibly. I hit her very hard at the time of the accident. I don’t know only about the car or about Dima. But the hematoma was huge, the doctors said: it will continue to grow - we will operate on the head. And the hematoma affected such zones - if you get in, you can forget your mother's name, you will have to re-learn to hold the spoon. Straight, lucky that the hematoma slowed down in time. Lucky again.
I think I am very lucky.
"In Togliatti they did not notice that I had a broken cervical vertebra"
- A few days after the accident, you were urgently taken from Tolyatti to Moscow by plane. But one of the doctors said you could stay. - God had mercy. In Moscow, they pulled me out of the other world, but in Togliatti there is no medicine at all. They didn't even notice that my cervical vertebra was broken.
- It turns out if you were not at that time a skater of the Russian national team - Exactly. And it is a miracle that it was in this year that I got into the national team. In financial terms, my mother would not have pulled the treatment. Not in Togliatti, and even less so in Moscow. And I wouldn't be in Moscow - who would take me there, and even by plane? Who would give me a place in such clinics? I would have stayed in Togliatti And I don't even want to say what would have happened. But I think we now understand each other.
By the way, about memory. I remember clearly that I was discharged on March 8th. And two weeks later, returning to Togliatti, I immediately went to the ice.
"Some were afraid to pair up with me after the accident."
- When you gave interviews at that time, you were firmly convinced that you would return to the big sport. - And I came back! I recovered, skated. Unfortunately, not everything depended on me.
“You never found a suitable partner?” “I think because of my injuries, some were just afraid to pair up with me. How to lift me like this, rotate me? We tried again with Danya - while I was recovering, he skated with another girl, but something didn't work out there - only it didn't work for us. Somehow everything didn’t go well
- Is it only about partners? - First of all, I didn't believe in myself. Although the doctors kept repeating: "Caroline, you are an ordinary person." They said that I can go back to the previous level. But mentally it was difficult for me to overcome myself. No, this is not a fear of pain. The constant feeling that I ride awful. Not unfounded, by the way. If a broken cervical vertebra never bothered me, then the right leg She was just a stranger then. And even now, when I'm already used to it, I try to show the elements on my left leg to children. She's better at it.
"Now I have to live not one life, but two"
- Sorry to bring up this difficult topic. Can you tell us a little about a friend who was then with you on the transition? - He was a very good person. A wonderful person. And very talented At the last competitions, by the way, Dima and his partner passed us.
- Judging by Instagram, you are on very good terms with his mom. - Yes. And our mothers always communicated well. We then, that year at the sea, even went together to celebrate Aunt Lena's birthday. After the accident, we became even closer.
“I don’t imagine how difficult it was for you to learn about what happened in the hospital. “I didn’t understand what had happened then. I didn’t understand where I was at all, I couldn’t grasp why I was in Moscow and not in Togliatti. Or they asked me: "Carolina, what happened?", And I - "my throat hurts, I'm lying with a sore throat." The next day I will think of something else. The fact that in stressful situations the brain behaves very strangely, I checked it on myself.
“Was it like a normal dream?” “People say they see something when they're in a coma. I had nothing. As one day I slept and woke up. But it's still difficult to compare with standard wake-up. Well, just imagine how much they stuffed into me. The brain was kind of clouded.
“Did you physically hurt when you were in the hospital?” “I don’t really remember that either. I only remember the pain when they started bending my knee to work it out. They were just beginning, and I screamed in pain. And she roared.
“What happened to the knee?” A piece of the cup flew out. They screwed it into place for me. As I understand it, some sort of absorbable bolt.
- And from the point of view of psychology? - There was only one thought: I need to work not only for myself, but also for the person who left. I could stay on the couch to watch movies. I don't know, I had to (starts crying). Well, you understand. Maybe I'm saying that because it's easier to put up with what happened. No. I know that now I have to live not one life, but two.
- Two lives? Sounds strong. '' `` Yes. Because I could have been in this person's place. Life is a roulette wheel.
“The driver was given 3 years in the colony of the settlement. What kind of justice can we talk about?"
- Did you think that all this could not have been accidental? That such a test was sent to you?”“I thought. And I decided that this was all in order to make me stronger.
- That is, you believe that this is not accidental? - I do. I asked myself many times.
- Then how long were you in Togliatti? Did you walk along this pedestrian crossing? - I walked for a year and a half. Everyday. Then, by the way, the passage was blocked.
- Is there no video of the accident? - No. But if I had been told that it is, I would have watched it. It probably sounds tough. But it’s just like it’s not all with me. Five years already, but you don't believe to the end, you don't realize. And that time in hospitals - it is also not with me. Recovery is not with me. I don’t understand how I went through all this.
“Did you see the man who hit you?” “No. Never. Mom saw him.
“How did he behave?” He repented, apologized, cried. At the time of the accident, he was very drunk. I was driving from a corporate party. He knocked us down and rushed on. Home. Sleep. I didn’t even understand anything. As he says.
- Have you forgiven him? (Pause)
- It's not for me to forgive him. But he probably forgave himself. Do you know how much they gave him? Three years in a settlement colony. For this here. And the rumors that he gave a bribe are not rumors, but just logic. This is Togliatti, what kind of justice you can talk about here. Everything is bought.
But during the trial, we didn't care so much. The main thing is that everything is fine with me. And they didn't even want to hear about him, to rewind the whole story. I can't imagine how Dima's mom went through all this. She is a very strong person. Much stronger than me.
In general, I do not care about his term. And on him. Everything is always returned to the return line.
“Sometimes we want the person we suffered to receive in return.” “You ask, but I have no feelings. No pity, no aggression, no regret. Emptiness.
“Did he try to make amends?” “He said that he would send money every month. Mom said that nothing is needed. I don't need that kind of money. His money
- That is, you refused? - You know, this is such a story "in words." I don’t know how it would be in reality. Before the court, under the threat of a serious term - which you can't promise
- In recent history, Efremov was given 8 years in a general regime colony. - I am not a lawyer, but as an ordinary person it seems to me that the sentence is adequate. Unlike our situation. She's something much more serious - two people at once, two children, one of whom died, and the second was badly injured. Plus his escape from the scene
- Is drunk driving a problem in Russia? - Yes, of course.
- What to do? - Give longer terms and deny rights for life. The driver who knocked us down killed a talented young man - now, as I understand, he is already free and drives again. It is not right.
"I want to open a figure skating school in Transnistria"
- I saw that many skaters supported you when you were in the hospital. - In fact, no one was allowed to go to Roshal's clinic for some reason. People just gave me packages. And already at the FMBA, Oleg Sudakov, Sonia Evdokimova, Egor Bazin came to see me. Many thanks to everyone who supported us.
- Are you watching figure skating now? - Yes. I follow the dancers directly.
- How do you like the new pair Khudaiberdiev / Bazin? - I like it very much. They are cool. Recently we just saw Yegor at the birthday party of a common friend.
- And the coolest Papadakis / Sizeron? - No, I still drown for the Russians. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are gorgeous.
- What are your plans? - First get higher education. I study at MGAFK by correspondence. I went on the budget, I almost did not have enough for full-time. I was allowed to go to couples with full-time students, I asked the dean's office. They just teach both full-time and part-time, I already know. I've been in sports all my life.
Earlier, they say, even though the pedagogy course was full, it would be interesting. And I would like to know about new technologies in sports, in the training process. And the psychology of an athlete would be studied in detail, from a modern, scientific point of view. But all this has to do with herself.
- Do you have plans globally in figure skating? - I live according to the situation. I solve specific tasks. And then you make up your mind, and then you will walk sad.
In general, there is a global idea: to develop figure skating in Transnistria, where I have roots, where many relatives live. There, of course, now people do not have enough money for food and it seems silly to talk about opening a figure skating school, but do you have to dream about something cool, big?
- What else would you like me to write about? - Please write that not only children but also adults do figure skating. I know how many people who have already taken place want, but are shy. Like, "where in my age to skate." This is bullshit. You have to get up and do what you want, what you love.
Also write that figure skating should be developed in the regions. Everything should be spinning not only in Moscow. There are such talents all over the country, but not everyone can get to the capital.
And the main thing. Let people never despair and believe. First of all, into themselves.