February 15, 2009

From the Gossip Columns: Lilia Podkopayeva's Divorce Turns Messy

A while ago we reported that 1996 Olympic all-around champion Lilia Podkopayeva was getting a divorce from her husband of four years, Timofey Nagorny. At the time, it sounded like an amiable breakup: the children would stay with Lilia, but Timofey would be granted unlimited access. However, it's increasingly beginning to sound as though things aren't going that smoothly. Lately the Ukrainian press has been full of reports in which Timofey claims Lilia is refusing him access to the children. We've translated one of the articles for you (see below).

It is worth noting that newspaper coverage of the case is very one-sided. Lilia herself is not talking to the press. While her estranged husband seems to grab every opportunity to talk to the media, ofting badmouthing Lilia in very subtle ways, the former champion herself is keeping silent. Her ex-husband says this is because she is waiting for the right amount of money to be offered. Apparently, Moscow journalists have offered Lilia $50,000 for her story; Timofey believes she won't talk until she is offered $100,000. For our part, we hope Lilia is refusing to talk to the press out of dignity. We guess we'll find out soon enough...

Anyhow, here's the story, published by Segodnya on February 13.

Lilia and Timofey in happier days (photo: Segodnya)

Nagorny: "They Are Not Allowing Me Access to My Children"

According to Timofey, a guard is stopping him even entering his own entrance hall. The divorce of one of Ukraine's best-known couples, Olympic champion Lilia Podkopayeva and businessman Timofey Nagorny, has begun to take a scandalous turn.

As Timofey Nagorny related to Segodnya on Thursday (let us recall that the first hearing in the Pechersk Court took place on that day; his wife did not come to court and the next session will take place on March 4), he went to pick up the children from kindergarten, but when he got there, it was explained to him that they were ill, after which Nagorny hurried to call on them at home (the apartment in the Pechersk area that he and Lilia bought together and where he is still officially registered). However, there was an unpleasant surprise awaiting him there.

"Only Lilia's mother was at home with the children. I don't know where Lilia herself was. I hung around in the entrance area for four hours, until nightfall, but Lilia did not turn up. Ludmilla Vladimirovna [Lilia's mother] did not let me in. [The author of the article goes on to explain that Nagorny left his keys with his wife when they decided to divorce.] Lilia's mother explained that this prohibition came from her daughter. The next morning I returned once more to the family home, but the guard wouldn't even allow me into the entrance area, explaining that this was on my wife's orders. I can't fathom the reason behind this. My wife has not returned my calls or text messages for a month now. The only way I can explain her behavior is that someone is influencing her against me and my family. But I will fight for my family, for my children to the end, if I have to – in court. I didn't go to the police yesterday, because I don't want to turn this matter into a drama. On Thursday I stood in front of the door to our apartment and listened to my children crying on the other side. It broke my heart."

Segodnya was unable to find out either Lilia's or her close family and friends' view on these events. Either they are not answering their cell phones or they are out of the access area.

To be continued...


  1. i'm sort of ambivalent about news like this. on the one hand i don't want to read stories like this about little pod, who pretty much made me a gymnastics fan, but on the other hand they hold a lurid fascination. is lilia an evil ex wife? time will tell.

  2. I'm definitely with anonymous. I don't want my positive perceptions of Lilia destroyed.

    On a brighter note, that picture of them in happier days is really lovely...

  3. Anonymous, we're kind of ambivalent about stories like this ourselves. We're never quite sure whether to post them or not. But we do like a bit of a scandal at times, so...

    Kayla, glad to hear you did at least like the photo. :)

  4. I love Lilia as a gymnast, but this doesn't surprise me at all. Gymnasts grow up and learn things other than practicing and competing.