Here's a great job by TuvanHillbilly of Japer's Rink. He found an interview with Ovechkin for Saransk web site.
Can you reveal your main secret-why do you play better that all the rest?
"I don't even know" (laughs). "My main principle is to never stop, to work and to improve every day. Mordvinian obstinacy has been a great help to me. (laughs). And another one of my rules is that it is never a shame to study."
Are your victories this year dedicated to anybody?
"I really wish that my late brother could have been at the awards ceremony. (His brother Sergei was tragically killed in a car accident when Alexander was 10 years old- ed.) Also, this year my grandfather passed away. (Nikolai Mikhailovich Kabaev, born in the village of Shoksha in the Tengushevsky region, passed away at 84 years of age in November of last year-ed,) I dedicated the Lester Pearson MVP Award to their memory. It also meant a lot that the prize was awarded to me by Vladimir Konstantinov and Igor Larionov. I idolized their game when I was a kid."
According to Wikipedia, Patriarch Kirill I, the current Partiarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, is of Mordvin (Erzya) origin.
I did more digging on Wikipedia. What I have found is that Mordvins are actually of two ethnicities, Erzyans and Mokshans. I couldn't find who Ovechkins belong to and then I dig this: "Nikolai Mikhailovich Kabaev, born in the village of Shoksha in the Tengushevsky region". According to Russian version of Wikipedia Shoksha people consider themselves Erzya. Whew, that was some piece of work. I even added Ovechkin's Mom to Wikipedia as famous Erzya. Maybe even Alex himself doesn't know that.
Another famous person, supermodel Natalia Vodianova (Erzya):
Svetlana Khorkina (Moksha) Светлана Хоркина
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