Photos: Sport Express
With no hockey games or any other sporting events taking place during the Coronavirus shutdown, the photographers of Sports Express began digging into their archives for old photographs they had taken of past events. One photographer, Alexander Fedorov, came across one from March 1987. It was of Tatyana Ovechkina and her family.
Fedorov recalled the photoshoot. At the time, a newspaper devoted to outstanding athletes, wanted to do a feature for International Women’s Day, which was generally held on March 8. Hence, the editorial staff made the decision to send a photographer and a journalist to visit Ovechkina and her family. She was certainly a worthy candidate, an Honored Master of Sports, two-time Olympic champion, and also a mother.
At the time, the Ovechkins had just moved into a new apartment and hadn’t really settled in yet. Two rooms were filled with boxes, while the third room was the one where life was in full swing.
The furniture there included a coffee table and a couch. It was decided that the couch would be the place where the pictures would be taken. For the picture, Tatyana was dressed in a suit, complete with a jacket and a skirt. Her husband, Mikhail, was dressed in blue shorts with the Moscow Dynamo emblem, where he had played soccer when he was younger.
The main entertainment in the house for the kids was a Russian bear with ears and a rope swing. The main noise in the house were from the two younger boys, Mikhail, known as Misha, and Alexander, known as Sasha, who were playing with the rope swing. [Their eldest son, Sergei, who was a teenager by then, was not present for this photoshoot.]
Misha was a lively preschooler who had just turned 5 and Sasha was age 1½. Misha wanted a turn on the swing, but Sasha would not yield. Finally, Misha got a turn on the swing when Sasha left to eat some jam that his mother offered him.
The family portrait finally took place. Initially, Tatyana had not worn her medals, out of modesty, but Fedorov was able to convince her to wear them. The final step was getting Sasha, whose face by now was covered in jam, to cooperate. He eventually sat on his father’s lap and the picture was taken.
Fedorov reflected on the events. “Who would have imagined at that moment that a funny peanut would become the main hope of Russian hockey in 15 years, at 16 he would be on the adult team of the famous Moscow Dynamo, and a year later he would become the youngest hockey player to ever be called up to the national team.”
“And only a science-fiction optimist could predict that in 31 years these hands, soiled with mom’s jam, would grab the Stanley Cup.”
By Diane Doyle