But all their happiness came to an end when Sergei collapsed during a routine training session. He died at the hospital, leaving behind his young wife and 3-year-old daughter. He was only 28. The skating world was shocked. It was unbelievable that Sergei, who was always so full of life, was gone. And Katia had lost not only her husband, but her partner. Her life, ever since she was 4 years old, was skating. Everything she did was related to skating. But now Sergei was gone, and she had to do what seemed impossible. If she wanted to skate, she would have to do it alone.
And Katia had to skate again, even though she could hardly stand to be on the ice by herself. As she began her career as a singles skater, she touched as many people with her beauty and her courage as she and Sergei had touched with their skating. In February, 1996, Katia made her solo debut, skating for Sergei in a memorial performance, Celebration of a Life.
"I was devastated, seeing her skating alone. It took my breath away.
But she was truly happy, and it made so much sense. We proceeded to make a show which
was very special--and it was all at Katia's request. There wasn't a skater in the world
who didn't want to be there. It was based on what she thought would
make him happy, knowing that he was watching."
"One moment, I'm having to worry about making sure it goes right,
working at it.
And the next moment I'm sobbing, with tears running down my face.
It was without a doubt one of the most emotional,
maybe the most emotional night of my entire life."
--Quotes from Sandra Bezic,
Stars On Ice choreographer,
and co-choreographer (with Marina Zoueva) of Celebration Of A Life.
"We each want to have a role in remembering Sergei.
We each want to contribute a special moment as a memory to him."
--Paul Wylie on Celebration Of A Life--
Stars On Ice
Katia continues to inspire us all with her courage in the face of adversity. She shows that a person can pass through the fire and come out shattered but smiling. She shows it is possible to go on with your life when you wish there was no tomorrow.
Katia bends to pick up Daria after a
performance in "Celebration of a Life"