Alena Kostornaia: No one leaves with no reason, if you’re well off you don’t seek better
At the Russian test skates for the first time Alena Kostornaia commented on her decision to leave Tutberidze’s group.
by sport24.ru dd. 12th September 2020
Tell us, how was your first appearance in the new season with a new coach?
Alena Kostornaia: It was a bit nervous, probably most nervous, when I sat and did my hair, and every time I replayed this moment.I was already starting to shake, but then I went on the ice, felt the ice, felt the audience and anxiety vanished at once. I was in my “hallway” and knew what to do.
What scared you the most – the first appearance on the ice or the first reaction of the public?
Alena Kostornaia: It’s wasn’t frightening, rather it was a bit uncomfortable, because everything is new, everything is different. We have never worked at competitions with Evgeni Viktorovich, because with Sergei Aleksandrovich (Rozanov) I’ve already been at competitions and got used to him. And with Evgeni Viktorovich it was the first time. And it was unusual, because I got used to prepare in a different way, and here they come up, say what is needed from you, this, this. And I’m used to being more in myself, on my own, nobody touches me.
What is the difference in coaching styles?
Alena Kostornaia: Everyone has their own, Eteri Georgievna has her own style, Evgeni Viktorovich’s is completely different, and, probably, calmer. In my new team it’s calmer and you can really feel it. I trained for a month, we did all the same, the same jumps, run-throughs, trainings. Maybe we have even stronger physical training. But, even if after a hard physical training, something didn’t work out on the ice, something was wrong, no one pressed, shouted, swore. They said: “Well, let’s leave it, we will do it at the next training session. Now we will work on other things that are also important.” If I feel that in the morning workout I can’t skate the program, we will do it in layouts, which seem to be easy, without jumps, but in fact, it helps a lot to develop endurance, and a lot of everything at once.
It was very restless in figure skating at that time, you were at the epicenter of this restlessness. Did it affect?
Alena Kostornaia: Well, yes, I immediately called Eteri Georgievna, and Eteri Georgivena posted on Instagram, and there were a lot of calls, but I said that I would not comment. It is clear that no one threw me out of social networks, did not forbid me to post anything, I just think that if a person left, there were reasons for this. No one leaves with no reason, if you’re well off you don’t seek better. And these posts on Instagram – it’s insulting. To throw these answers to each other, answer something on Instagram … Well, if you want to sort things out so much, it is probably better to meet and say whatever you want in person. It seems to me that this is a bit of a wrong behavior. But I cannot discuss anyone.
Were there non grata lists?
Alena Kostornaia: Well, not that, but there were problems. Because I believe that athletes like me, like Anya, Kamila, cannot skate with the 10 year-old children. Well, even if they can, probably, they need to be explained that the girls are adults and they will not give you any favors. If you got on their way, they will either jump at you or yell at you. So that next time you understand that you can’t do this. Well, in my childhood was like that – they took me onto the adult ice and I skated along the boards. If you interfere with someone, you will leave, you will quickly leave. And there was such a moment, I told the coaches that there are already 8 adult skaters, and, of course, there is a crazy pace of training, and it is necessary to take children who are not used to it there very carefully. It so happened that we had four such people. They simply did not understand anything, they seemed to do everything as always, but at the same time they wildly interfered. And I was very annoyed by this.
That is, there were no demands on your part, only requests?
Alena Kostornaia: I said “Let’s do it differently, please, it’s very inconvenient, just impossible.” And no reaction followed.
At what point did you make your decision?
Alena Kostornaia: It was July 17th. On July 17, before the second training session, I realized that there were problems of mutual understanding, the connection was lost. So I called Sergei Rozanov: “Sergei Alexandrovich, such a situation. Is there a possibility?” He replied: “Wait a couple of days, we will settle down here and think. You also think again, because it’s a very unexpected decision.” So many years of working in a team, achieving results, for which I am very grateful to the previous team. And this is a very big change. In general, a couple of days later there was a second call, I said yes, I decided, and we began to organize the transition.
Have you already had two new programs?
Alena Kostornaia: Yes, both short and free were ready. I was the second one whom they put the short program, the free program was done a little later, I probably was the 11th or 12th. But I liked the music for the free program, not all the parts, but the music itself was just great. I didn’t like the short program, which I talked about many times. They said: “Well, try it, after the test skates we’ll see.” But I said: “No, I don’t like it, I don’t feel it, I won’t skate it.”
Before that, did you take part in the selection of programs?
Alena Kostornaia: My opinion was taken into account, but not always. All the same, you express your opinion: “I want something like this,” then they tell you yes or no. A lot of music was said no, but I just heard the free program and there were no questions, it was a good story.”
Related topics: Alena Kostornaia, Eteri Tutberidze, Evgeni Plushenko
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Thank you for publishing this interview. I knew it was out there, but really had to search for it! I think Kostornaia is just being honest from her point of view. Obviously, Tutberidze has her own side.
Well, I don’t know what to say about this situation with children on the ice. On the one hand, it may be really inconvenient and when you’re European Champion you may want a better conditions of training. On the other hand, girls should look how many top-athletes train in other countries and count how many people on the ice are there. Still I think it wasn’t the only reason for her to leave Eteri’s group. maybe it just was the final straw.
I commend Alena for highlighting the fact that Eteri Tutberidze’s behaviour was appalling. Eteri and her team should know better. It is unsurprising that skaters like Alena, Evgenia and Sasha choose to leave there. Success comes at a huge price.
This is a teenage girl who has recently turned 17. She has been carrying injuries, adjusting to a new coaching arrangement and environment, and we have seen choreographers, , coaches, former and current figure skaters, Russian Federation officials, commentators and who knows who else have their moment commenting publicly on Alena’s decision to change her coach. Judging from what happened at Test Skates, the past few weeks look as though they have been difficult for her, and this must have affected her mindset.
I hope Alena recovers from her injuries and is able to bounce back.
Well, Alena is obviously not in shape yet, as all the girls, to be honest. I hope Shae-Lynn will do a great program for her. This girl deserves high quality choreography.