Russian Nationals start soon, this year competitions are held in St.Petersburg where Elizaveta Tuktamysheva trains. So here’s a recent interview with her.
Elizaveta, what attitude do you have approaching the Russian Nationals, which will mostly determine the team for the Olympics?
– With a good mindset, we was at the competitions in Zagreb, made some changes in the second part of the free program, and had the opportunity to test them. In general, they did not justify themselves, so I will return to the old version. Usual training process.
There is a crazy competition in women’s skating. What can help you to get into the top-three?
– Now, in principle, everyone skates equally well, and the one who will be more consistent will go to Korea. And who will have less underroratitions, more difficult jumping program.
The fact that the competitions is held on your home ice “Yubileiny” plays in your favor?
– Honestly, I don’t know yet whether I like it or not. I can answer only after competitions. (Laughs)
In the United States and some other countries, those who won the national championship strictly go to the Olympics. We have a paragraph about subjective coaches’ decision. Which selection system is more fair?
– I think that in Russia they approach this decision correctly. There is a reason to send the leader of the national team to the main competition, despite possible mistakes at one separate competition. Yes, at the Russian Championship anyone can shine, but if a person has a higher rating, performs at the Grand Prix, in the Final, then he deserves a place in the Olympic team.
So Medvedeva should go to Pyeongchang without qualifying?
– Of course. But she needs to show herself, if not at the Russian Championships, then at the European Championships.
I can not but ask you about the doping scandal. If we admit that athletes have nothing to do with it and they are just the victims of the IOC decision, then should the officials be responsible for the current situation? Or in general, no one is to blame and this is a planned attack on Russia?
– If there had been no fault from the Russian part, there wouldn’t have been such a scandal. I do not really want to think who is responsible. We need to accept the situation and look for a way out. There have been so many trials that everyone understands who was guilty. But nobody will say aloud. (Laughs)
One of the figurants of the IOC case, according to media reports, was Adelina Sotnikova. In general, how doping can help in figure skating?
– Well, it can’t. Figure skating isn’t a sport about strength, but about concentration. I understand why they use something in in athletics. But in figure skating “faster, higher, stronger” does not work. You need coordination, harmonious, you will not achieve anything just with high jumps. In figure skating you need to think. So I don’t understand why doping is necessary here.
During the season, do you basically have time for leisure?
– Usually we finish somewhere at 4 o’clock in the afternoon and then have free time.
How do you fill in this time? Do you watch competitions with your competitors? Do you read books?
– I watch figure skating not often, depends on a level. I can watch World or European Championships, or Grand-prix series but otherwise I prefer other leisure. There are always things to do. In the daytime, you do not have time to sleep, you’ll sleep in the evening, then you’ll get up, read the book or watch the movie and it turns out that the day has passed. Now I’m also renovating my apartment.
Renovation before the Russian Championships is almost a double load on psychology.
– It moves very slowly, I do everything for pleasure, I do not spend much energy. I have it for six months now. (She laughs) I thought, I’ll do it in a month, but because of the training, everything delayed a bit.
What is the main problem?
– I can not choose a design.
Elizaveta, going back to work: tell me, why, after the gold of the 2015 World Championships you can not return to the previous level? How do you explain this – injuries, loss of motivation?
– In this two years figure skating has made a very big step forward. All the girls skate very strongly, powerfully and consistently. And I stayed largely at the same level. I also had to do a triple axel, change combinations, jumps. Well, the post-Olympic season itself assumes more relaxed skating, it was easy for me. But after winning the gold of World Championships it has become much harder. Injuries? Yes, I had problems with my back and boots. Now I, for example, skate in boots, which is already three years old, because others simply do not fit – my legs ached. But this season I feel progress, began to recover. My back doesn’t bother me, there are no problems with boots either.
Many explained that you won because of anger after missing the Olympics.
– Means, people do not know me well or don’t watch my programs well. Anger never works in advantage, at least for me. How can you skate soulful programs with anger? I can be angry during training, but not at competitions. There should be concentration, a desire to get pleasure from your own performance.
You once said that in figure skating, nobody talks to each other. Do we have strained relations between rivals?
– It’s just … There’s no sense in talking, I guess.
What about the exchange of experience?
– We had such with Carolina Kostner. She skated in my group, we helped each other, explained some moments. From her you don’t feel a desire to compete. And I really feel an emotional connection with people, so we understood each other. But in Russia, especially in Moscow, it is a custom that we must fight, we must go to trainings and destroy. Maybe it’s right, but it’s not for me.
You said: “In Moscow,” is there a big difference between St. Petersburg and Moscow? In figure skating or in general?
– Yes, a big one. People are absolutely different, the atmosphere. In “Yubileiny” it is quiet, cozy, like at home, children, parents, everyone is nice. We live in our own world, there are no gossips … Of course, they are in any sport, but when we go to competitions and communicate with friends, it seems like a world of figure skating opens for us. (Laughs)
Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaya, with whom you fought for getting to Sochi, have already finished their careers. Do not you think about it? Especially if you won’t qualify for the second Olympics.
– I didn’t get to the Games in Sochi but I did not break. If I had been skating only for the sake of Olympics, I probably would have finished sports a long time ago. I will continue to skate, even if I do not get to Korea. This will not be an important nuance in the issue of continuing or finishing a career.
If not for the sake of the Olympics, then why do you skate?
– I skate for pleasure, for competitions. To feel this spirit of rivalry within you. And, of course, I like meeting with figure skaters, friends, you travel the world, you get a lot of acquaintances, great companies are gathering …For these sensations figure skating is worth doing. And if you skate well, show the result of the work that has been done at trainings, it’s such a cool, incomparable emotions.
Which country or city did you like the most?
– Italy and France. And I really liked Quebec – I went there to the Grand Prix final before the New Year, everything in snow, cute houses, the New Year’s mood, it was super.
Now there is no pre-holiday mood? You also have a birthday.
– I’m afraid that before the Russian Nationals it is difficult to feel it. (Laughs) I will celebrate my birthday only after it.
by Dmitri Kuznetsov for life.ru