Albena Denkova: My leg was cut to the bone, but I'm back on the ice

Albena Denkova: My leg was cut to the bone, but I'm back on the ice
Albena Denkova: My leg was cut to the bone, but I'm back on the ice

On December 3, two-time world figure skating champion Albena Denkova (with ice dancing partner Maxim Staviski) turned 40. In addition to the titles from the world championships in 2006 and 2007, in her competitive career she has two silver medals and one bronze medal from the European championships. For the two world titles, she was awarded the "Stara Planina" order, first degree.

Albena suffered a cruel accident at the 2000 World Championships in Nice, when a USA competitor cut the Bulgarian's left leg with his skate. This injury almost cost her career, but with a lot of will and perseverance, the figure skater managed to recover.

From October 2006 to December 2009, Denkova was also the chairman of the Bulgarian Figure Skating Federation. On January 30, 2011, Albena became a mother - her son Daniel was born. In the same year, she participated in the Russian TV show "Ice Age", in which she participates to this day. Her professional engagements are related to ice shows in Russia and European countries. In Bulgaria, she won the dance show "Dancing Stars" in 2014. In December, the famous figure skater was in Sofia for the international tournament, which she organized for the third time in the Winter Palace of Sports. Especially for our readers, Albena Denkova shared how she lives and how she takes care of her he alth.

Albena, at the world championships in Nice in 2000, received a cut to the bone during a competition. How did they save your leg?

- I had a cut muscle and two tendons. I had to be operated on by French surgeons, and my muscle and tendons had to be stitched up. It was a complex operation lasting many hours. I was in the hospital in Nice for about a week, after which I came to Bulgaria. For a month I wore a cast that fixed the leg and the wound. I had to lie still. Then there was a period of three months of gradual recovery. Then I slowly started stepping on the ice, doing some exercises and regaining my shape.

Has any doctor told you that after such an operation you will not be able to skate?

- No. Around me were only sports specialists. Maybe if I had found a doctor who didn't deal with sports injuries, I would have heard different things. But sports traumatologists and rehabilitators see things differently.

Who do you thank for being able to fully recover from the injury in Nice?

- It was a sports injury - tearing and spraining ligaments, but it certainly happens to normal people when the streets and sidewalks are icy and slippery. After the operation, I owe a great deal for my recovery to the rehabilitator Konstantin Ganchev. He took me literally after the operation and I had three months of movement, physical therapy, rehabilitation. They literally restored my leg's mobility and function to 100%. The operation is very important and the French doctors absolutely did a wonderful job. But the next phase of treatment should not be underestimated. I say that to every patient with a similar trauma. I have observations from my friends and acquaintances that here it seems that they treat the recovery phase a little more dismissively and lightly. And this is something very important.

How do you stay he althy now with this workload?

- My body is used to a heavy load and when I have hard training,

feeling good

Then I don't have to follow a diet, watch what and how I eat. Things work themselves out.

Which medicine do you trust - the official one or the alternative one?

- I have certainly used official medicine more. I have not used many non-traditional methods of treatment. Even when I had the flu, I played with a high fever. Then I couldn't take any kind of medicine, only medicines that do not fall into the list of prohibited substances under doping control. In serious competitions, you cannot treat yourself with homeopathic medicines or herbs. You can't afford to drink tea and stay at home. Somewhat faster methods are required to get an athlete to their feet. These medications are provided by official medicine. It sure isn't easy racing the flu. Every athlete in big sports has had such a test, especially if the championship is very responsible and for which you have been preparing for months, even a whole year. Naturally, you will not pay attention to the fact that you have a runny nose and even a high temperature. Your main task is to participate and present yourself in the best way, not to let down the people you work with - partner, coach, federation.

You spent years in Russia. What is the difference between Russian and Bulgarian he althcare?

- Fortunately, I haven't had to come close to either Russian or Bulgarian he althcare. I like Bulgarian he alth care, I like the way Bulgarian doctors communicate, that they explain what they do and why. Maybe this is a highly subjective opinion of mine.

Long waits for a doctor in Russia

it is difficult to book appointments with a specialist, the attitude towards patients is not very understandable.

How long does it take to see a specialist in Russia?

- Different. For example, we had to take my son Danny to a specialist at the polyclinic and we waited two weeks. Then there was a free class.

Is there a GP system there?

- No. There, the doctors are in the polyclinic and you wait.

And what do you pay?

- My child has dual citizenship and I am not paying for his treatment. I assume that if I need treatment in Russia, it will be paid for me because I am a foreigner.

As a young mother, how do you feel about the anti-vaccine movements?

- I trust Danny's pediatrician in Bulgaria. I find him to be an extremely good specialist. If he says so, then vaccines are necessary. Surely he has good experience and knowledge to give me the best solution. For me, vaccines are something necessary - they protect against diseases that I don't want any of my relatives to pass through.

What do you think he althy eating is?

- This is certainly less fried foods and not very fatty meats, fish, and more raw vegetables and fruits. The principle is a little bit of everything. The quality of the food is important, but rather the quantities are important for he alth. Sometimes I take nutritional supplements - multivitamins, coenzymes or elcarnitine when I have to exercise more and need to lose weight. But I am extremely frivolous - I buy the supplements, take them regularly for a few days, then forget, miss the intake and the bottles stay at home like that.

Are you he althy now?

- I'm relatively he althy as long as I don't take medicine.

Your club organizes for the third year in a row an international tournament "Denkova and Staviski". What are your problems right now?

- My mother deals entirely with the club and the organization of the tournament, because Maxim and I are engaged professionally in Russia. It is good that there is a lot of interest in the competition. It is for skaters of all ages. I hope they will be satisfied with their stay in Sofia. The problem is the hall - the Winter Palace of Sports. His condition is, to put it mildly, deplorable. We need a new ice skating hall because there are many people who want to train.

Did you talk about this with the new Minister of Sports?

- I had a meeting with Minister Krasen Kralev when Ottavio Cinquanta - the president of the International Skating Union and a member of the International Olympic Committee - was visiting Sofia. Then they promised to do something for the skating sport, especially since Sofia will be the European capital of the sport in a few years. I hope, hope dies last. I can no longer count how many years we have been promised a winter rink. After all, we are not asking for a multi-purpose hall, but for a training ground, where in really decent conditions all those who want to engage in skating sport.

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