Interview of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva for FSRussia. She talks about the problems in her preparation for the season and nearest plans.
Alexei Mishin before this season has started said that after the last successful sports year it won’t be easy for you to perform this season. But in your career were different times and unlike many athletes you have an experience how to deal with such situations. What should be done to overcome these temporary problems?
Elizaveta: Firstly, not to panic after a bad skate. Thank to Federation and all the people who understand that it’s very hard. First of all, I am pleased that my coaches understand this. Of course, there is a lot of my fault in what happened in the first half of the season. At the Russian Nationals made mistakes in the short and free program. But in principle it was expected, since I was getting in shape slowly. Just two weeks before the trip to Yekaterinburg at the tournament in Zagreb, I more or less found the state in which should have been at Grand Prix.
Due to the fact I had difficult and late start of the season, I had very little time to prepare. For a long time I couldn’t get the needed shape and it pressed psychologically. I understood that I’m not so well prepared. And it was very difficult and hard after the successful last year. My mind was just blowing. Emotionally, all of this wasn’t easy to endure. After the Russian Nationals It took a load off my mind, though I performed in Yekaterinburg not the best way. But now it’s over and I calmly continue to move forward.
Yes, you’re right, it’s an experience. And I have already passed all this. Now we will prepare for the Cup of Russia Final. Maybe not it everything is lost. There is still a chance to qualify and get into the team for the World Championships for those who successfully participated in the Cup of Russia Final. The main thing is not give up. Coaches support me. And if to assess the situation soberly no catastrophe happened. It’s two and a half years before the Olympics. We can’t miss the moment when it will be necessary gradually climb the mountain. It is necessary to ensure that there will be no sudden changes, because it greatly confused, because it’s more difficult for the international judges to judge when the skater is unstable.
What affected your condition more? Moral fatigue, because any emotions even positive dilute. Or physical fatigue, because as in the rank of World and European champion you need to confirm the title, and it is much more difficult than to achieve.
Elizaveta: In fact, I don’t understand anything. In summer I wasn’t nervous at all. I feel quite normal. But…
We started from zero. Even after my injury was not such difficult recovery how after the last season. Alexey Mishin didn’t understand what was happening to me. I literally couldn’t do the basic things. Since I’ve already passed puberty, then the problem wasn’t in the body, something sat in the brains. Yes, some changes have occurred in the structure of the body but I was in good physical shape. We trained in the gym, jumped, do everything on the floor. But something was wrong on the ice. One explanation that I gave to myself is that on those old feelings I was in perfect shape. The whole season have gone well. At trainings I didn’t pop up anything. And it lasted long enough. All of this just stuck in my head. So, when small breakdowns started to happened at trainings at the beginning of the season, for me it was so unexpected, like a stone on the head. Each time I became less confident. Couldn’t do some elements at all.
And psychologically driven yourself
Elizaveta: Yes. It was very difficult to understand, even though I was told that it wouldn’t be easy. But I haven’t thought that it will be so hard. In fact, I’m glad we didn’t miss the season because there were such thoughts, since we didn’t know what to do. But now I go and do what I can and how I can, and Axel and all the other jumps. Yes, in the current situation it’s difficult for me to fight for the leadership because you need tremendous emotional stability. Now the main thing for me is consistency. And with axel when you’re not in perfect shape, it is doubly hard. Still, it’s a triple axel!
But now it’s like a stone have fallen from my soul. I just need to analyze everything what happened and move on, make some small changes to the program and continue to learn a quadruple jump, work on two triple axels. This is not the maximum I am capable of. I feel it and I know that I haven’t yet discover my full potential, haven’t brought in figure skating all that I can in terms of choreography and jumps. I think I’m capable of much more.
Don’t you think that everything what happened in this season it’s kind of a “protective reaction”? You did so before, after an unsuccessful short program you dragged yourself in the free. The same happens now – you made a step back to jump higher.
Elizaveta: Maybe. I have such a psychology: I need to “fell” and then with a clear conscience go to the start. After all, if all the time stay on the same level, it turns out that from me will be constantly waiting something, will lay some hope. I don’t like this state. It’s easy for me when it’s no expectations. I go out and do everything calmly.
Of course, this season everything is different. With the status of the World and European champion I couldn’t perform worse than before. Psychologically, to cope with it was hard. But every year, we become stronger, wiser, and I’ll try that in the future there will be no such hesitation. Still, if you want to be a champion, you can’t afford to do this, so we will try to avoid this and to put the program according to my conditions, not so from the beginning to the end of the skate the same. It’s necessary to adapt to your body, your condition.
Compared to other sports, in terms of psychology, you probably a sprinter. You find it easier to set specific goals for each interval of time.
Elizaveta: Maybe. Psychologically, I find it easier to move forward step by step, as it was last season. Then, we also didn’t immediately start to do everything. Firstly combinations. Then 3 – 3 in the second half. After we added axel. We vent slowly, clinging to each start, didn’t look to anyone else, just did our job.
Was it difficult to motivate yourself after last year’s success?
Elizaveta: We had difficulties with this too because I won all the titles and this season it was difficult to strive for something. But I came up with stimul – I have axel and need to skate the programs with it. But anyway it was hard at the beginning because I didn’t immediately get to get in shape. I had and have the motivation. I have been only one year in such chic shape. And then you can win the title again, skate clean, skate more expressively….
To lear the quad….
Elizaveta: Yes, and it’s also motivates. From now I won’t allow such mistakes. And I realized that it is necessary to make programs under your state, not to put at first too difficult tasks. We should gradually move towards our goal.
Will you tallk about his with your coach?
Elizaveta: Of course. I really trust my coaches. I know that they want only the best for me, they feel me. Still, over time, you start to think, analyze, and you can see exactly what you need. Athletes grow.
During the season you vent back to your old short program “Bolero”. Didn’t feel the new “Carmina Burana”?
Elizaveta: I really felt the new program. This is a very strong music. However, a bit different – dynamic, evil. And I used to be seen in such a fervent merry way, like a bright person.
But I always liked the strong music. And this arrangement of “Carmina” was made I was delighted, because at the beginning it’s not so masculine but in the end it is necessary to skate up to the aortic rupture. But this music have been taken lots of emotions. And even in trainings sometimes it happened that I said that I could not do the step sequence at the end, because it was beyond my emotional strength.
You see, when you skate a program to such music on your limits, after it’s almost nothing inside and can’t repeat it again and again. It wasn’t like with “Bolero” which I can skate all the time. Ravel’s music gives me energy and we have complete harmony with this music. I’m ready to skate “Bolero” all my life. And with the “Carmina Burana” it’s not like this. I can’t combine this powerful music, axel with the technical part of the program yet. It is beyond my strength. At the moment I don’t have enough experience for that. Evgeni Plushenko – he can. He is stronger and more experienced than me in many ways. And I probably not so strong yet. But the music is gorgeous. And maybe someday I’ll return to this program.
I really like everything about this program. The idea: fortune, angels, good and evil … It always looks cool, interesting for the audience, and for me to skate.
I really want to skate this program so that everything was clear. A definition in this case is not just jumps but to show the music, transitions, look …And after such a look, such an emotional exhaust you must have power for the axel! It’s necessary to enter this program, to join this powerful music, convey emotions, mood and not just purely to perform, do the elements. To put all this together you need experience and strength. It’s difficult for me now. But I hope in the future will turn out.
What are the plans for the nearest future?
Elizaveta: The season is not over. I will continue to train. On January 3rd, together with our group going to the camp in Tartu. There will prepare for the Cup of Russia Final. Then will see.