Ovechkin With Love in the Nov. issue of GQ

You can find Ovi in this month's GQ Magazine, which features cast-members of Glee on the Cover.

You can find Ovi in this month's GQ Magazine, which features cast-members of Glee on the Cover.

This November’s issue of GQ magazine (on newsstands everywhere) contains a feature by Michael Idov about Alex Ovechkin called, “Ovechkin With Love.” Below we have included a few notable excerpts from the article. Topics include Ovechkin’s childhood, his adoration in DC, the nightlife in Moscow, and girls. Yes, Ovi finally goes on the record on which girls he likes more: Russian or American.

Introduction

His may be the perfect face of the NHL: broad, broken-toothed, misshapen by countless on-ice collisions. An affable slavic caveman with an NHL Scoring Title. A dazzling highlight reel. And the Capital of the free world in his glove, blood-stained hand.

If only he had a Stanley Cup to go with it. Michael Idov tracks down Alex Ovechkin enjoying the off-season in Moscow: brooding, training, and finding solace in the arms of Mother Russia.

Excerpts:

Ovechka

If Alexander Ovechkin’s first name is perfect – “the Great” attaches easily enough – his last name couldn’t be more ironic if Alanis Morissette wrote a song about it. It means “little lamb.” Little, I repeat, lamb. Not only little, but a female one. In Russian, an ovechka is a girl lamb.

The man himself looks more like Jaws, the henchman from the Bond films with a touch of Jaws the shark. His face, a wide, flat Slavic canvas, has been creatively rearranged by dozens of amateur surgeons so that the nose now sits slightly off center and the wide-set eyes appear asymmetrical; when Ovechkin grins, which is often, a diagonally broken incisor flashes like a fang. One wonders how he avoids impaling his own tongue on it. One wonders how he does a lot of things.

DC’s adoration

Fair-weather, for sure: The capital wasn’t much of a hockey town until Ovechkin came along. But DC loves Ovie with the hysterical ardor of a rescued damsel. Barack Obama promised Caps owner Ted Leonsis that he’ll come to a game this season. The local sports network, CSN Washington, runs things like “8 Days of Ovechkin.” A local blog follows his whereabouts and posts sightings. [Ed Note: He means Alex Ovetjkin. Congrats, TJ!] He gets black-tie parties throw for him and keys to the city thrown at him. (His acceptance speech: “Today is a big day. I have a key for the city. And I’m the president this day in the city, so everybody have fun – and no speed limit.”) If you live in DC, Ovechkin is hockey.

Ovi’s schooling

Ovie’s schooling would fall on what the Russians now like to call “the roaring 1990s,” a carnival of raw greed and criminality. Moscow ’92 was Chicago ’29, with less sausage. Nascent capitalists got gunned down in the streets by former Young Communists. “You did what you had to do,” shrugs Ovechkin. The country had found new icons: the banker, the gangster, the dollar itself. In a 1992 survey of Russian high school students by two Western academics, 60 percent of girls said they would exchange sex for hard currency. Such was the world into which Ovechkin would be released. For a guy with not much in the way of academic achievement – and Ovie, let’s be honest, was a genius only on the ice- career options were limited: Driver. Body-guard. Hit man.

Luckily there was hockey. There was always hockey, despite the family’s basketball gene. Tales of Ovechkin’s childhood brim with prophetic apocrypha: When he was 2, he grabbed a toy hockey stick at a store and wouldn’t let go; at 5, he glimpsed a Dynamo game on TV and cried until Dad switched the channel back; at 10, he hit a goalpost so hard the puck broke in half. (His coach kept the halves as a kind of religious artifact.) Hockey got him out of P.S. 596, where he made it through eight and a half grades before switching to Dynamo’s “sports school.” The twice-daily training sessions – morning and night – left little time for anything else. He’d be up at 6am, eat a bowl of porridge served by Dad (Tatyana was often on the road with her team), and head into the dawn. When he got home from hockey, he played more hockey – with neighbors’ kids, in the yard, in a hallway with the furniture moved to one side. “You dive into sport with your head and arms and legs, and there’s no time for anything else,” he tells me. “There’s no other career.”

By the time Ovechkin reached his teens, his eldest brother, Sergei, had died in a car crash at 25. His first coach, Vyacheslav Kirillov, was dead from heart failure at 29. His friends were getting high and getting dead. College was a distant fantasy. When I ask Alex where his school peers ended up, he recalls only one success story: a guy who “plays rock ‘n’ roll band.” And the rest? “Some are in prison. A lot of them are dead. Drugs and all that crap. When you leave school and try to find work, your priorities immediately change. That’s when the drugs get you.”

Ovi in Moscow

These days, when Ovechkin hits Moscow, his nightlife itinerary is more varied. He is 25, single, a multimillionaire, handsome in a brutal way. This summer the Russian edition of Tatler called him the country’s most eligible bachelor – a case, perhaps, of belaboring the point. Ovechkin’s main hunting grounds are Sunrise, Rai, and Soho Rooms, three of Moscow’s flashiest bottle-service clubs. “In Moscow, if you have money, you’re king,” he says with a lopsided grin. “If you don’t – sorry, man, get lost. I mean, it’s like this everywhere. But in Moscow, it’s much more hard-core.”

“There’s some quality action at Soho Rooms, real high quality,” he says when we start talking clubs. “You should go pick up some telochki.” The word literally means “calves” and semantically falls somewhere between “chicks” and “bitches.” “Especially if you you’ve got your own table. Just go up to the girls, say, ‘I’ve got a table,’ and they’ll hop right along.”

I do that smug thing married guys do, where you stick out your hand and use the thumb to wiggle the wedding ring on the ring finger.

“Aw, come on, who’s gonna see?” pushes Ovechkin. …

In Washington, where he spends most of his time, Ovechkin’s life is infinitely more placid. He is on his best behavior there, mindful of his stature. In Moscow, he can’t help but revert to his teenage self. Hence the silly Pyramid, hence the giddy telochki talk. “Moscow is a big city,” he says. “It’s all nerves – something’s always happening somewhere. DC is a quiet, calm family town.” He lives in a house in Arlington, Virginia, he bought his rookie year; his parents who keep a home base in Moscow , and his brother, Mikhail, who works with the WNBA, are frequent guests. And if Ovechkin’s exploits don’t reach American tabloids, perhaps that’s because he’s simply not into American girls. “If you compare Russia and America,” he explains sagely,”they are two different worlds. People, cars, clothes. Girls’ figures. Especially girls’ figures. Why do you think that is, that when an American goes to Russia for a week, he stays for two extra weeks? Girls! And when a Russian goes to America for a week, he leaves in five days. I’m serious! There’s a statistic! [Ed Note: I’m dubious.] Ask any American about Russia. You know what they’ll say.”

The conversation ends abruptly. Ovechkin’s dangerous-looking friend Magomet, whom Alex has been texting throughout our talk (he texts nonstop, with prodigious smileys), has rolled up in an Audi SUV painted a scabrous matte black. For a while, we cruise down Tverskaya. Each time he sees a pretty girl walking by, Ovechkin shouts “BOOM!” at the top of his lungs.

To read the rest of the story, make sure to buy the newest GQ, available now!

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  • Cookie Monster

    Paging damage control…

    Can’t wait for him to finish growing up.

    As for not being a genius, most of us aren’t, but he is intellegent. The article seems to indicate that he is stupid, and that is false.

  • Cookie Monster

    Additionally,

    Momma didn’t raise me to act and be treated like a whore. I’m glad I’m an American female who doesn’t define her self-worth by her exterior and how many men she attracts. I respect myself.

  • Mary K.

    Wow, I don’t know what to think about this article. *shakes head*

  • deann

    No one should be surprised by the article…

  • barb

    bear in mind the medium and the audience, ladies, and don’t hold it against ovie.

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    Ovi is always painted as such a dark, brooding, womanizing figure. The guy is 25, the most dangerous player in the world, and sweats money. Those kinds of qualities are going to attract a segment of the female population that doesn’t wear underwear in public. That’s just what happens.

    I suspect there’s probably refreshingly LESS to Ovi than everyone thinks. It’s hard to imagine him like a dark, dangerous Scorsese character. He just likes to party. The guy texts “with prodigious smileys” for Christ’s sake. He’s like Elmo.

  • kayla

    lol, saw that coming from a mile away. all the Russians in the league have said the same thing. i, personally, don’t find any of them attractive either, so. to each their own.

  • SLAVA

    Cookie monster, have you been outside US?
    There is a beautiful world out there, with beautiful people.
    Nothing wrong with being young and pretty, enjoying every moment of it.
    This doesn’t just goes for Russia. But Europe, Asia, South America, Australia, even Canada!
    Do you know why people love to go on a Euro Trip? To look a architecture? It’s people and culture.
    I’m sorry your life is boring.

  • BobbyG

    Yes, I know Ovie is 25, and like most young men he likes to party and check out women. Maybe I’m naive and don’t have a complete grasp of reality, at least not how Ovie sees it in his universe. Nevertheless, to say I’m extremely disappointed in Ovie based on his comments in the GQ excerpts would be an understatement. Comparing and rating women as prospective dates with a term that means “cattle” is insulting, condescending, and downright cruel. I agree with Cookie Monster. Ovie is intelligent, but comes across in this article as a spoiled out of control gazillionaire who gets what he wants just because he can. Ovie doesn’t need a Damien Cox to wreck his reputation; unfortunately, in this article he does quite a thorough job of portraying himself in a most unfavorable light. What a letdown this is.

  • melissa

    While I have no trouble believing that Ovie is a jock of average intelligence, the article seems faked and forced.
    And I might have missed it, but was the interview in Russian or English?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian

    My best guess is that the journalist was Russian, he did the interview in Russian with Ovi in Moscow, and then wrote the story in English.

  • D

    I can tell that the American women responding really have no idea of what it’s like over in Russia. You’ve gotta understand that Russian women in general don’t feel the need to be “equal” to men. They are more than happy to make sure they look great all the time in order to impress the guys. Heck, they take classes on how to be better at sex. They don’t understand the concept of “well, he’s gotta love me for who I am.” They want to look 100% all of the time.

    The second thing is realize that Ovi is talking with a guy and he’s gonna “showboat.” I think you’d be surprised at what American guys say to one another when women are not around. Now, could Ovi use some lessons on not to always say what you’re thinking, especially when there’s a reporter around? Yes.

  • D

    Also gotta add that I’m not implying that Russian women are just concerned with beauty and are dumb. They are also very smart and most of them attend college. But they also are concerned about looking good in order to catch a guy. Just a different culture over there. And I guarantee if you visit Europe, you’d realize how overweight Americans are (both men and women).

  • Boo2You

    I’m with mcawful; the article certainly leaves one with the taste of a serious case of arrested development…

    Can’t blame the guy for having an opinion but to express it for publication in this manner doesn’t do him any favors.

  • Cathy W

    I can appreciate that the culture is different in Russia and he likes Russian women but he is 25 and has played in DC for several years. It is time for him to grow up and think before speaking to a reporter, esp, if he knew that there was a chance that this would appear in a US magazine, even if it is a magazine aimed at men. I agree with Bobbi G that he doesn’t need a book by Cox to do him no favors; he did it himself. I take a different view than D. I understand cultural differences and it is time for Alex to also understand them.

  • SLAVA

    “Cattle” is more appropriate for american women. You fat cows.
    I keed I keed. =P

  • D

    @Cathy W
    You mention that Alex has been in DC 5 years and he should understand the cultural differences in the US. The main problem with that thought is he’s got a ton of puck bunnies laying down for him every night of the week here as well. This of course is true for all famous athletes. Ben Rothlesburger, Brett Favre, Tiger Woods…the list could go on forever. The big difference with Ovi, he didn’t force anyone, and he’s not married. Heck, Even quiet Mike Green has been reported to call the puckbunnies his “Bit–es.”

    The only thing Alex needs to understand (and this is probaby pretty common with Russian men), is not to be so open about things. Also remember this is an article where the reporter can put his own spin on things unlike a real interview with Q and A.

    Heck, still to this day, even in the US, you hear about guys calling girls sluts because they sleep around whereas guys can do whatever they want.

  • Cookie Monster

    @Slava,

    Why do you assume I haven’t travelled? I have. Extensively. I’m even plannig trips to the Baltic and China right now.

    There are beautiful people everywhere. No country has a monopoly on beauty. I my opinion, each country has the same percentage of beautiful people (and my idea of beauty is far broader than Ovechkin’s).

    But how Ovechkin described Russian women and the degrading way he ranks N. American women vs Russian women, well that is pathetic and narrow-minded. He needs better criteria for judging the worth of women.

    His mother must be so proud.

  • John

    @Slava…maybe tone down the passive-aggressiveness? I’m not surprised by Ovie’s comments, but I think we can agree that not all American women can be painted with the same broad brush that he uses. There are of course overweight women in the US–I am not arguing this point. But there are also beautiful women who like to have fun. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt–he may not have figured out the nuances of American culture after a relatively short time here, focused on hockey and going home every summer.

    And yes, I have traveled extensively…to study art and architecture. Which, for me, is a more important part of culture than whether girls like to put out.

  • SLAVA

    Sorry i got worked up over this.
    The whole article can be summarized by; Russia is a stupid, filthy and full of criminals where Ovechkin is “Mr Russia”.

  • CapsFan

    I would have thought that Ovi’s handlers would have protected him from this or at least coached him on how to handle yourself in a media “gotcha” situation. Can’t wait to see Leonsis’s “take” on this. Probably a tempest in a teapot but sadly, more ammo for the St. Crosby camp.

  • Peter Hassett

    Conclusion: this is a hit piece

  • m114b

    some of these comments are funny. the man was born and raised in Russia. why do people expect him to change the way he lives and the company he keeps in the off-season? 4900 miles of distance certainly covers a lot of culture shift. he’s not 34 and married with two kids .. he’s 25 and single. at least he’s not hiding behind a façade. he’s not being paid to play into anyone’s ideas of a family man. he’s paid to score goals and check opponents.

  • http://twitter.com/mcawful mcawful

    “You complainers sound fat.”

    Sincerely,
    Semyon Varlamov

  • CapsFan

    OK, now that I have read the article, I don’t think it’s a hatchet job though Ovi should have been more cautious. The article is really about a rich and famous 25 year old kid who has almost everything he wants. Except the things he wants most – Olympic gold and the Stanley Cup. I feel a little sorry for the guy – as the article shows, he does not have the luxury of saying what he thinks. Every public word has to be guarded. No wonder Semin doesn’t talk much. He’s smart.

  • http://russianwomentruth.com RW_Man

    I have a popular blog on Russian Women and let me tell you something.

    Ovechkin is telling it like it is. Go to my images page to see why he is in many ways spot on.

    http://russianwomentruth.com/images/

  • Livia

    Speaking for myself, the silver lining is that this article is a permanent cure for and a vaccine against hockey-hero worship. The game itself is the important thing.

  • nhlfan

    Capsfan this artical has nothing to do with Mr. Crosby but come to think of it if Crosby would of said what Ovi did he’d be criticized by Caps fans like yourself

  • Taz

    Lesson learned: read the full article before coming to any conclusions (except if Damien Cox is involved). I was stunned after reading the excerpts; call me naïve, so what. But reading the article, I came away with a totally unexpected reaction: wow, he survived. Make no mistake, his tale is one of survival. In spite of the times he lived through growing up, he found his calling and grabbed it with arms and legs, saw what was around him and said, “no thanks.” Describing Moscow as the Chicago of ’29 is an understatement. One of the areas where this article fails is showing him as only a male being lead around by his testosterone. It’s certainly part of him (and let’s be honest, part of his appeal if all those Alexovejtkin bloggers aren’t lying), but we also know he’s much more than that. The things that have endeared him to us up to this point are still there. Too bad GQ stopped at presenting just a titillating tale for their male readership of yet another guy with lots of money to – literally and figuratively – blow on females. Sure, that’s part of him, ridiculous to deny it, but he’s much more complex than that, a hell of a lot more inspiring. So he’s passionate about everything – remember the “stroika” commercial? It’s no lie, and he’s never lied about or tried to hide who he is. He’s young, SINGLE, likes women, is seriously into the clubbing scene. We knew that before this article, the difference is that we now have details of just what that means. While we regret that he provided the details, let’s not lie and deny that many of us wanted a glimpse. Well, now we’ve got one.

    He’s enjoying life that he probably couldn’t take for granted when he was growing up. I’m not condoning his rakish ways, but put it in its proper context (including that Moscow IS a different world, and you don’t have to like it) and it at least becomes understandable; he’s still a good person also doing good things with all that money. He isn’t different just because we know more about him. Remember Bill Clinton? DC was so eager to say “it’s none of our business” when our f-ing President turned the Oval Office into his personal bordello, how about giving our Captain a break?

    Sincerely,
    A degree-holding single American female, not a virgin but also not publicly available, and not overweight

  • Khloe

    I had to laugh at that website that was posted with images of Russian women. Sorry, but a lot of the girls in those images were NOT attractive, and most of them had makeup on. It would be pretty easy for me to go around my city (I live in Calgary, Canada) and ask some attractive girls to pose for a picture then put it online claiming my entire nation was beautiful. Get real… Nations cannot be judged by how beautiful they are, there are beautiful and ugly people. I have been to Russia and when I was there I saw was a lot of bad makeup, tacky clothes, and ugly men. Every though I am a woman and am straight I can also appreciate and acknowledge beautiful women. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and Ovie may prefer Russians, but this makes sense since he is Russian. Also I don’t think the way he acts is that “shocking”, he is 25 and in the summer when he goes back to Russia, it’s like spring break for him. Having said that, he needs to think before he speaks.

  • Pingback: Who Is Hotter? Russian or American Women? | Capitals Outsider

  • Orkork

    Hi. Come on girls… we you know will be defensive because you are receiving the short end of the comparison. But Russian girls > DC Girls. Its not just looks, its attitudes! Girls in DC have it great. Its like being in Afghanistan, there are so many more quality guys than girls that they get to be Kabul princesses.

  • TBONE

    This just in… rich young guys like to get laid. More news at 11.

  • lulu

    Wow, Slava, you ignorant so-and-so! Only whites make your “beautiful” list, I see
    Most people in the world (many, many beautiful ones of BOTH sexes) are not white, and some of them are even in DC!

    Sounds to me like Ovie’s been dumped a few times, and needs to get over it. I’d also be much more interested in other REAL differences he noticed between the two cultures….politics, anyone? And, just WHY are Russians so greedy????