Someone give me seventeen-year-old Yakov Feltsman at the 1964 Olympics wearing bell-bottoms and a peasant shirt with a scarf around his head, hair cut into a moptop and skating to The Twist. He landed the first triple flip in competition and, in an interview, announced that his inspiration was the most beautiful girl he’d ever met, his girlfriend of three weeks Lilia Baranovskaya.
Yakov’s coach is banging his head against a wall somewhere just off camera.
Forty years later and Viktor Nikiforov, he of the fae-like looks and waist-length silver hair, wants to wear a bondage costume on the ice and Yakov can’t even tell him not to because when he tries Viktor starts screaming “COME ON BABY LET’S DO THE TWIST” and Yakov is immediately paralyzed with shame.
“I mean, really, you have no room to talk,” Lilia tells him, examining her nails as Viktor announces that he’s engaged to a skater he’s barely known for eight months. Who he’s still actively coaching.
Yuri shows up in his exhibition skate outfit and doesn’t even wait for Yakov to open his mouth before he’s holding up a picture–an actual printed picture where did he find it–in full color of Yakov on the podium at the 1964 Olympics.
“Bell bottoms, old man?” he says, flipping his hair as he skates onto the ice.
(Lilia frames the picture. It hangs in her office underneath a laminated poster reading “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”)