That story can be called "How Alex the Great met Catherine the Great :-)"
Pavel Lysenkov, SovSport, Feb. 16, 2008
Meet Alex Ovechkin's new girlfriend, Katja (nickname for Ekaterina). She is a senior at Moscow Pedagogical University with major in English. She met Alex over the internet. The virtual romance turned into a real one. They met for the first time in real life on February 7, 2008 in Washington, D.C.Q.: Alex said that you two met over the internet. Could you tell the details?
A: Yes, we met through the site "Odnoklassniki". I love sports, and I am a long time fan of Moscow Dynamo. I had a friend Anton Shunin, who is a goalkeeper of Moscow Dynamo soccer club. And he had a friend Sasha Ovechkin. I clicked on his profile just for surfing. I didn't believe he was a real one. There are a lot of fake ones at "Odnoklassniki" site! The site allows you to see who visited your profile. All of a sudden I am receiving a message from Ovechkin! He was asking something about our mutual friends. I answered, but didn't take it seriously. I thought he was a bogus Ovechkin. I even told him it was a shame to fake Ovechkin. And he answered with a bunch of exclamation and question marks, "You don't believe me??!!"
I didn't believe him for the whole week while he was trying to prove he was real. He was giving the names of Dynamo players, etc., but you can find it on internet. And finally he said, "Ok, buy the newspaper 'Sovetsky Sport' for Nov. 29 and you will see." I opened your newspaper and read in his interview "I want to say hello to 'SPY'!". And SPY was my name on "Odnoklassniki" site.
Q.: Yes, I remember. Ovechkin called SovSport writer Dmitri Chesnokov and asked for an interview. Our initial thought was that request was related to contract negotiations. At the end of interview he said "hello to 'SPY'". For three months we tried to figure out what he meant.
Here is that interview from SovSport, November 29, 2007:
В свободное время люблю сидеть на русских сайтах. Очень хочу передать привет SPY! (Кому принадлежит данный ник, мы не знаем, но Овечкин настойчиво просил оставить эти слова, что мы и делаем. – Прим. ред.).
I like to surf Russian web sites in my spare time. I really want to say hello to SPY! (We don't know who owns this nickname, but Ovechkin asked us to leave those words, that's what we are doing now. - SovSport Ed.).
A.: But I still was cautious. Sasha used such beautiful words and spoke about such serious things! But he only saw my photos!
One day he said, "We are leaving for a road trip. I am asking you a favor to give me your phone number". I gave him the phone and the next morning a text from him "Hi! This is my American phone number". And our infinite text correspondence has started from there, you can write down another novel about it. You won't believe it, we text to each other every half hour! He'd send me text 10 minutes before the start of the game, and even in between during the breaks. "Thinking of you" or "Honey, I scored this goal in your honor".
And he called me... We talked for 2 hours every day.
Q.: The most interesting fact, in November Ovechkin got in a sharp takeoff. He started raking twice as many points compared to the start of the season. That's what love does to people!
A.: One time Sasha, through our mutual Moscow friend, sent me a teddy bear and the flowers, 51 maroon and white roses. And then he wrote "This is unbearable! I want to see you! Drop your school and come to see me."
And I went to the American Embassy.
Q.: Isn't it difficult for a young single Russian woman to obtain visa to the United States?
A.: Yes, it is. But Washington Capitals sent me that invitation, in which they wrote that I was Ovechkin's girlfriend. All turned out easily. It is a pity that there was the delay in the processing, I wanted to get to US by January 27 to get to All stars event. But the embassy scheduled the interview exactly on January 27th.
Q.: I can imagine the embassy's employee round eyes when you said that you have met Ovechkin over the Internet.
A.: You won't believe it. I arrived to Washington on February 7th, and the next day went to the game. Sasha really wanted to score one, or two or three goals in my honour, but got burned. But he got 3 points in the very next game. After the game, while I was waiting for Sasha in the hall, almost the whole team came to meet me, including the Head Coach. They would shake my hand and say "It is you, Alex girlfriend? He was talking so much about you!"
Sasha is a very romantic person. People like him don't exist. They say sports stars got to be arrogant, difficult people. Not Ovechkin! It's not how he was raised. His parents are world class!
By the way, what a coincidence, my brother's name is Alexander, and my Dad's name is the same as Alex's, Michael Victorovich.
(Michael V. Ovechkin, who is seating next, says "Make sure you'll write about that!")
The team's skate is over and we are going to make some photos. I am asking Alex to hold Katja for a minute in front of NHL logo. "Not problem, I can hold her more than that", exclaims Ovechkin, and Katia takes off into the air. At first they hug, and then start to kiss.
Noticing a couple and dropping whatever he was doing, Donald Brashear, Caps enforcer, rushes to the board. He plops big lips and says in Russian "Ja teba lublu! (I love you!)".
Update, Feb. 22: Just to clarify... The web site Alex and Katja have met at, "Odnoklassniki", is not a Russian version of dating service like eHarmony. It means "Classmates" and it is a Russian version of Facebook or My Space. Here is the quote from Wikipedia:
Odnoklassniki.ru is a social network service for classmates and old friends reunion popular in Russia and in the former Soviet Union. It was created by Albert Popkov in March 2006. As of February 2008, it had more than 10 million registered users and an Alexa Internet traffic ranking of 62.
Also though Ovechkin haven't met Katja in real life before Feb. 7, 2008, they had mutual friends, otherwise this romance would never have started.
Alex and Katja at basketball game (the Wizards feed of the Knicks game)