Fresh off the most successful season and most tumultuous summer of her life, Russian-born French figure skater Marina Anissina blithely chooses to block out the bad and underscore the positive. She has taken her mind -- if not her name -- outside of the ongoing FBI investigation in which she has been entrapped.
She firmly states that she won the ice dancing gold medal at February's Winter Games because she and her longtime partner, Gwendal Peizerat, skated far better than their rivals, and that, she insists, is where the story of the last winter's Olympics ends.
It hasn't ended, however, for the FBI and federal officials in New York, who continue their investigation of the reputed Russian mobster with whom Anissina appeared to discuss the alleged fixing of the Olympic ice dancing competition in a tape-recorded telephone call after the Games -- telling him she would have won without his help.
Yet Anissina, who will perform at this weekend's Trophee Lalique in an exhibition Sunday, says she knows nothing about such conversations and dismisses the federal probe as something between a fairy tale and foolishness.
"I was very surprised this summer," she said by phone from her home in Lyon, from where she will travel Friday to Paris. "It was stupid things made [up] by the FBI or journalists, I don't know. It's really nothing to do with skating. I have turned the page. It is past.
"Our Olympic medal was true. . . . I think my skating in the Olympic Games, it was the proof. I don't mix the two things: the situation that happened after, and my gold medal in the Olympic Games. I am satisfied with my result for which I worked not one, but many, many years of my career. . . . We should be Olympic champions and we are."
Anissina and Peizerat won their Olympic medal days after a French judge admitted she had voted under pressure in the pairs competition. Later, the French judge and her federation president were suspended from International Skating Union events for three years for their roles in allegedly fixing the pairs and ice dance competitions so that a Russian team would win the former and a French team -- Anissina and Peizerat -- the latter.
In the absence of Anissina and Peizerat in the competitive part of Trophee Lalique, the fourth stop on the six-stop ISU Grand Prix circuit, Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder took the lead after the ice dancing compulsories. They were followed by Ukranians Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov and Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto. The men's, women's and pairs competitions commence Friday.
Anissina, who turned professional after the Olympics and thus is no longer eligible for events such as Lalique, said she has been neither interviewed by the FBI nor sought out, despite having spent several weeks touring with Champions on Ice in the United States this summer before the government filed its complaint against the alleged mobster Alimzhan Tokhtakhounov, and then indicted him. The FBI has interviewed a host of other figure skating officials mentioned far less prominently in the complaint.
"This summer, I stayed two or three months in the U.S., and nobody [from the FBI] ask me anything," she said. "Nobody tell me anything. . . . Everything I knew, I learned from journalists.
"It was difficult. I didn't understand anything. There was all of this information in the newspapers, all of these people asking questions, my phone ringing all the time. I didn't understand anything. . . . I don't want to speak about it. I think it's stupid things."
In a previous interview, Anissina said she recalled speaking with Tokhtakhounov after the Olympics, but knew nothing of his alleged attempts to manipulate the competition. Asked today whether she thought he could have worked a deal on her behalf, she said: "It's not possible. How do you think one person can change something in the Olympic Games?"
Though Anissina has not returned to the United States since the charges against Tokhtakhounov were made public, she said she plans to travel there for a number of events and is not worried about being summoned by the FBI.
She said she has only loosely followed the changes to skating's judging system that were brought about by the Olympic scandal. She said change was necessary, but expressed disapproval with the new reliance on panels of anonymous judges, whose marks are randomly selected to determine skaters' rankings.
"It allows the judges to do whatever they want, and nobody can control the situation," she said. "I don't think it's a very good solution.
"When I skated, it never interested me, the judging. . . . I felt of course many, many times when the judging was not right. With me, it happened many, many times. I know I can't just skate better than others, but [I had to skate] much better. That's what we did in the Olympic Games. We were ready. We were stronger than the others. That's why we win."