On ice

A Russian wiseguy tries to avoid the long arm of the law after allegedly fixing the figure skating events at the 2002 Olympics.

By King Kaufman
Published July 31, 2002 7:34PM (EDT)

The scene is the back of a taxicab. Russian mobster Alimzan Tokhtakhounov, who would later be arrested for allegedly trying to fix the pairs figure skating and ice dancing competitions at the 2002 Winter Olympics, is riding with Canadian ice dancer Victor Kraatz, who with his partner Shae-Lynn Bourne fell spectacularly at the end of their Olympic routine and finished fourth.

Alimzan: The grapevine says you get subpoena.

Victor: Yeah, from the U.S. Justice Department, eh.

Alimzan: You don't be cheese-eater, now.

Victor: Cheese? Huh?

Alimzan: Look, we have nice job for you, you keep your mouth shut like good skater. We get you job as ice dancing instructor at summer camp on Black Sea. Is easy job, you see, because nobody ice skates in the summertime. You don't do nothing and you don't say nothing. Understand?

Victor: There's more to this than I thought, Alimzan.

Alimzan: You don't mean you think of testifying about some people who are in this cab?

(Alimzan pulls a gun on Victor.)

Victor: (Gently pushing gun away) Oh, Alimzan. Alimzan. Wow.

Alimzan: How much you weigh, skater? When you weighed 140 pounds, you were beautiful. You could have been other Rudy Galindo. That dumb blond we got you for a partner, she was so clumsy.

Victor: It wasn't her, Alimzan, it was you. Remember that night in the Salt Lake Ice Center you come down to our dressing room and you said, "Kids, this ain't your night. We're going for the price on Anissina and Peizerat"? You remember that? This ain't your night. Our night! We could have skated triple Lutzes around Anissina and Peizerat. So what happens? They get the gold medal and a trip to Disneyland and what do we get? A one-way ticket to a cruise-ship gig. Not even Champions on Ice!

And anyway, what are you doing fixing ice dancing?! What kind of lunatic are you? Nobody bets on ice dancing. Nobody even cares about ice dancing. I don't even care about ice dancing. I just like to lift up Shae-Lynn by her butt. Does that make me a bad person? I think so but let's not talk about it. Now where was I? Oh yeah. Who bets on ice dancing? I mean, what's your story, Charley?

Alimzan: It's Alimzan.

Victor: Whatever. Why fix ice dancing?

Alimzan: No reason. I just practice being evil guy, you know? Stay in shape. I'm international mobster. I fix things. Then I call people up on phone and brag about it. Then I get my ass arrested because phone bugged. It's what we do, international mobster guys. And anyway, what you complain about? We help you. You fall but you still finish ahead of Lithuanians.

Victor: You don't understand! We coulda had class!

Alimzan: I think you should take another look at costumes you wear. You look like escapees from "Cats" production at the looney bin. You and Shae-Lynn, all you ice dancers, you are school holiday: No class at all.

Victor: I coulda been a hockey player. I coulda been somebody, eh? Instead of a second-rate figure skater, which is what I am, let's face it.

Alimzan: Kid ...

Victor: It was you, Alimzan.

Alimzan: OK, OK, I let you talk to the government. Ten to one --

Victor: Wait. I'll take that job.

King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Winter Olympics