They say that big is seen only at a distance, but contemporaries hockey player Valery Kharlamov didn’t take much time to consider and assess the extent of his talent. Unique forward CSKA and the USSR national team fans were ready to carry on hands. To match him in level of popularity, few could, but (take note, modern sports “stars”) he was always a poignancy to modest and even shy. All of his friends and colleagues with whom ever to communicate, speaking about the main advantages of an outstanding hockey masters, in one voice say: modest. Understand: not technical, fast or determined, and modest. But the question, recall, is one of the most outstanding athletes in the history of the world.
photo: Igor Utkin
About Valery Kharlamov written many books, thousands of newspaper articles, recently released a documentary film “the Legend №17”. In the pages of “MK” on it, not just remember his hockey partners and rivals, and a close friend of Valery Borisovich Kharlamov collected literally in pieces after the first car accident doctor Andrei Seltsovsky (the same doctor, whose image in the film brilliantly conveyed Nina Usatova) – told us about how was hockey outside ice rinks. On the eve of the anniversary of Valery Kharlamov his memories his father has shared with us his son Alexander.
He participated in the film about the father of the “Legend № 17”, and made in several qualities – one of the producers, the consultant of the painting and artist a cameo role.
— What is your first memory about your father?
The first memories come from childhood. This is a rare moments when my dad was home. Then the hockey had long been in training camp competitions. When was able to be with the family, the father came, and everyone in the house were very happy. He never came back empty handed: they brought toys, gifts. Normal for any parents who are rarely home.
— Did you see him on the ice during a match?
— Of course, we went to the matches. When the games were in Moscow, we went to them with my mom. It was a particular opportunity for women and girls athletes after a match before the departure for 15-20 minutes for a quick chat to see. So I went, too, looked, and then saw my father.
photo: Igor Utkin
— Was there a predefined way for you to the sport?
— Nothing like that. Originally father didn’t plan to put me in hockey. He wanted me to play football because he loved football and well play it. Besides my eldest cousin, son of father’s sister, played football. So my father was going to give football and me.
But in three years I stood up on skates, donated by the father. You see, when your apartment is always part of hockey gear — sticks, helmets — of course they are genuinely interested. In four years I have slowly learned to skate. And still for real hockey in my life happened after the tragedy with his parents. In six years, grandma took me to the hockey section. The sport I most loved. Perhaps that is a tribute. Maybe grandma was thinking and so. After all, when the child is very small, no one knows who he grows up. Gave and gave… Yes, perhaps in memory of his father.
— You said you were always elements form the hockey. Maybe some things you and dad now keep up with special warmth?
Something preserved, but around the many years. Left stick letters… Some things my sister gave into the hockey Hall of fame in Toronto, the main hockey Museum in the world. When my dad was taken there, he was allocated a corner. Part of his things stored there, and another part is in the Museum of the hockey club CSKA. We believe it’s better to have the father remember on both sides of the ocean, come and watch children get acquainted with the history of Soviet hockey. Some of them will then begin or continue to play hockey on.
That would cause global interest? His medals and I have too. I prefer the old hockey skates father. Don’t know why, but they like me, even visually. They are in the Museum at the ice arena of CSKA.
— That is the most important still remain in Russia?
— I would not say so. All surviving father’s things for me are equal and unique. I’m not talking about the material. There are letters, but a lot I don’t remember.
— Sorry. still have to turn to the tragic pages of your childhood. Can you mention someone who after the death of Valery Borisovich support you sincere and most of all?
— Of course, initially supported leaskovski hockey players, teammates and friends of his father — Slava Fetisov, Alexei Kasatonov, Vladimir Krutov. Helped almost the entire team. I am grateful to them in the first place. There were those who did not related to sports. My dad had a very wide circle of acquaintances. He was a very bright, open, decent and cheerful person: never refused anyone for attention. When he was home, we’ve had a lot of guests. Was friends with Lev Leshchenko and Vladimir Vinokur and Joseph Davydovich Kobzon, with theatre professionals. Close contact with representatives of other sports.
— Have you ever wanted to become an artist?
— No (laughs). And now we communicate well, but in order to be an actor or singer no, this desire did not arise.
—You are the successor of the great names. What’s it like to be Kharlamov?
— I am often asked this question. It so happened that I didn’t pay attention to it, and the burden of responsibility is not much pushing me. Can’t say that the name helped me or hindered. Everything went on as usual. Increased interest in usual, when the children play athletes. This happens still. This is a normal phenomenon. For example, journalists always try to compare father and son, but it is a bit of a thankless job, because similar players would not happen. Everyone has their own path to go and achieve something on their own.
photo: From personal archive
A father and his son.
— Still, does your game manner traits, inherited from his father?
— I think so. Character. You know, hockey is developing from year to year. In the 1960-1970-ies father played hockey, I, 1990, – otherwise. Now hockey is perceived differently. In the days of the father were such distinguished masters. It is a fact. They did a story of Soviet sport. We learned through their stories and honor them.
— Would you like to a successor, without exaggeration, great hockey dynasty became your son?
— He is an adult, and now it’s too late to talk about it. It so happened that he was not an athlete. Not every child can get in professional sports. Unfortunately, it’s not all understand. My wife one of those parents who do not consider it necessary to make a child, if he himself had no great desire. Up to a certain age he played football and then had some health problems and had these classes to finish. Now he is studying. Professional sport is a lot of work, and the same should be the desire of the athlete.
— Do you have a favorite number? Maybe 17?
— 17 – a room that is constantly, habitually present in my life.
— In 2008 you took part in the show “Battle of psychics.” The project attracted you?
— At the time it was exciting. The proposal came quite by accident. Called by phone and invited to participate. I was curious to talk with extraordinary people. I will not dissemble, was curious to listen to people with experience, which is not given to everyone.
— Found out in the end?
Personally, for certain conclusions I did.
— Interest in the history of Soviet sport there is. Convincing evidence is the movie “the Legend № 17” about the identity and fate of your father.
— Make a movie – a lot of work. I watched “moving up” with his son. I will say this, the more such patterns, the better. They help to educate a new generation in the right direction.