J. Barry Mittan, the Electronic Photojournalist

Hungary's Dorofejev Poised on Brink of Success by J. Barry Mittan (2000)

In recent years, Hungary has produced several talented ladies who have reached the top ten at the World Championships -- Krisztina Czako, Diana Poth, and Julia Sebestyen. The newest contender is 15-year-old Tamara Dorofejev, who placed third at Hungarian Nationals in 2000 after winning the novice and junior titles in previous years. Dorofejev was impressive at her first European Championships, finishing ninth in Vienna in 2000, ahead of national champion Poth.

Dorofejev has had a strong junior career, winning the gold at the Sofia Cup in Bulgaria and silver at the Grand Prize SNP in Slovakia in 1998 and Skate Slovenia in 1999. She finished fourth at both the 2000 Junior Grand Prix Final and the Junior World Championships in Obertsdorf, Germany. "Skating is a very complex kind of sport, a big challenge. I like the competition," said the teenager, who cited Tara Lipinksi as her role model because she enjoyed her "flying on the ice."

Although no one in her family skates, Tamara's mother took her to the rink to try it when she was three. "It was her dream to make me a competitor in some kind of sport," Tamara said. When she showed an aptitude for skating, Tamara had a choice of dance or ladies singles since there are no pairs in Hungary. "Dance is not my genre," she said. "My coaches say I have a typically individual constitution."

Dorofejev has been coached by Gurgen Vardanjan and Jeranjak Ipakjan since she was 12. Within two years, she landed her first triple salchow at age 13 and within another eight months, she had landed the last of the standard triples, the lutz. "I like to jump," Tamara said. "The Rittberger (loop) is my favorite." Last season, Dorofejev included a triple lutz/double toe loop combination in her program. For next season, she plans "a surprise. Now I can say only that it is a very valuable triple-triple combination."

She trains on ice for about three hours a day in Budapest, except during the summer, when she trains at sports camps in places including Germany, Slovakia, Ukraine, and the United States. She runs every day, does physical conditioning exercises, and regularly practices ballet, which she began studying when she was five. Among her other sports interests are swimming and lawn tennis. She has also tried horseback riding.

Tamara used "The Two Guitars" for her technical program last season and the soundtrack to "Life is Beautiful" for the free skate. "My coaches and I pick the music together. Until now I have mostly skated to film music, but I like variety and the next program perhaps will have completely another character," she stated.

Off ice, she enjoys listening to modern popular groups like Five, the Backstreet Boys, and Britney Spears. She plays the piano herself, but stopped taking lessons after five years of study to concentrate on skating. For fun, she enjoys going to the theater and shopping and loves to cook, usually making the meals for her whole family. She added that "everywhere I go, I like to visit fun fairs." She enjoys comedies, romantic movies, and action films. Among her favorite movie stars are Bruce Willis, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, and Gwyneth Paltrow. She collects watches, skating badges, and writing paper, and saves the plush toys that she receives from fans. Her father added that Tamara also likes to collect fashionable dresses and jewels. The family keeps six Absynnian cats as pets.

She also said that "I'm keen on travelling. Every summer I go with my parents to the sea (where she likes to visit the water parks). I have been in Greece and Spain and this year we'll spend our vacation in Turkey. I made a tour of North Italy. I have been in Venice and Firenze and seen the Tower of Pisa. On the occasion of competitions and sport-camps I have visited a lot of places. For example, I have been in America twice. Venice is the most beautiful town I have visited so far. It is like a fairy tale and its mood is unique."

Tamara has a very logical mind. She is now in her first year of high school, where her favorite subjects are mathematics and physics. When she watches television, she views quiz shows and when she has time to read, she enjoys Agatha Christie mysteries. One of her favorite hobbies is playing logical games on the computer. "I use mostly the Internet," she said. "It is one of my main hobbies. I like to visit skating sites. I systematically follow with attention everything that is happening. I also like to get to know the other people and have a chat." She speaks fluent Hungarian and Russian and some English.

For the 2000-2001 season, Tamara would "like to take part in the Senior Grand Prix series and the biggest (world) competitions, and to do all my best, of course." Eventually, she hopes to skate in the Olympics in both 2002 and 2006. "After finishing actively competing, I'd like to remain by theskating - to be a coach or a choreographer," she said of the future.

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