On Thursday, Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov spoke to Alex Ovechkin’s mother, Tatyana Ovechkina, on her 65th birthday. Much of the conversation was devoted to the two-time gold medalist’s career in basketball, but Lysenkov managed to get one adorable tidbit about the Russian mother’s personal life too.
Ovechkina revealed how she and Ovechkin’s father, Mikhail, first met 47 years ago. She was an 18-year-old athlete and he was a soccer player.
How did you and Mikhail meet?
Tatyana Ovechkina: We met at Dynamo’s [soccer] stadium. Is this really interesting?
Sure! How did he approach you? What did he say?
Tatyana Ovechkina: Misha asked me for some money so he could get some ice cream (laughs). I was with a friend of mine and her boyfriend. Then some soccer player comes up to us. I had just come from Bulgaria, looked all trendy and stylish, with a nice handbag. I had loose coins clanging inside of it.
He says jokingly, “Lady, would you treat me to some ice cream?”
It was the year 1968.
You can see where their son gets his humor. And his taste for ice cream.
Tatyana also talked about some of their struggles as a young couple.
I read the story of your family. Mikhail drove a taxi and once he was almost strangled in his car.
Tatyana Ovechkina: I don’t want to complain. We led a humble life, worked a lot. I received State Sports Committee pension early. I earned okay, my husband too. As to the car part, yeah, he did personal cabbing [Russian euphemism for illegal taxi most of the time] during Perestroika. I was coaching the Dynamo basketball team that no one needed except for me. The money we were getting were put not in the family but in the basketball club.
How much should you make off cabbing to feed the whole team?!
Tatyana Ovechkina: We had to start somewhere so the team didn’t disappear. But I don’t like talking about it.
Translation by Fedor Fedin.
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