Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “As a professional athlete when you know that there are competitions, and you are preparing for the World Championships, you have a sense in life”
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva about the upcoming World Championships in Stockholm, her performance at the Russian Cup Final, a new short program and answered the question: why, being an athlete, she runs her own business and took part in advertising projects.
source: for fsrussia.ru dd. 17th March by Olga Ermolina
Liza, after a six-year break, victory in Shanghai, you have qualified for the World Championships again. What did you feel when everything worked out?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: It’s such a joy! I set myself up for the fact that it was possible, that if I skate well at the Cup Final, it will become a reality. But when it did happen, it was even more emotional than I expected.
Burst into tears?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Well, no … But almost … But it was strong.
After skating the free program at the Russian Cup Final, you probably already understood that this is a real chance to go to Stockholm?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, yes, I thought that, in principle, I had done almost everything, but I failed a spin. But all the same, until you know the scores, you will not be so sure – different situations can happen. Generally, I was pleased with myself. When I saw Alexei Nikolaevich (Mishin – ed.), how happy he was for me, I thought: yes – most likely it will happen.
When did you find out that you were going to the World Championships?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: The next day, when it was announced officially. But I felt that everything was really so, so after the results of the Cup Final I assumed that I could go to Worlds. And after the performance I had more emotions than when the team for Worlds was announced.
Will it be exciting to perform in Stockholm again? For you, this is a lucky ice – on this rink 6 years ago you became a European champion for the first time.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I’ll be calm. I think there was more excitement at the Russian Cup Final. But again, I don’t know what will happen at Worlds. As I understand it, we will skate without spectators. Therefore, such excitement, such emotionality will not be felt. I think all athletes will skate more calmly, because when you go to a huge audience, it still creates some kind of adrenaline. And when everything is calm, without spectators, you’re not that nervous.
As for that season when I won the European Championships, and then the World Championships – yes, it was my best, but not the strongest season in terms of technique. And now, when I sometimes watch my old recording, I see my progress. That is, in skating, and in artistry, and in spins, I see that I have become better over these six years, and thank God, as a skater I have not got stuck at the same level.
Probably, the European Championships was my best start of that season, because at the World Championships, despite the triple axel in the free program, I made minor mistakes. And at the Europeans everything was perfect: I skated as well as possible. And this was probably one of the most emotional competitions. I remember these seconds, they are in my heart for the rest of my life, when Lena (Radionova – ed.) and I were very, very close. It was so interesting, every competitions was incredibly interesting: who wins, whose nerves are tougher… This was the intrigue that lasted until the very end of the competitions. And I remember those seconds of waiting … I was thinking that I have skated my maximum, did what I could. If I’m the second, I probably won’t survive this. And I look – I’m the first! I bypassed Lena literally by one point. I was so happy! These emotions were much stronger than at the World Championships.
Because at Worlds, after the short program I had an advantage of 10 points, and I understood that it is possible to win, to win the Worlds without big mistakes, that I have a fairly good chance. And at Europeans, I was very serious about it. And it was cool! It was such a good competition.
These memories should help.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Hopefully. Maybe. For a very long time I’ve wanted to get to the major international competitions, for a very long time, not at the Grand Prix. When I was a commentator at the Europe Championships last season, I was glad to be in this atmosphere at least a little bit, which I am looking forward to now. And even with all this situation, it’s still cool to return there.
By the way, about the situation. Tamara Nikolaevna Moskvina prepares her guys for the unusual conditions of the upcoming World Championships, which will be held without audience, with restrictions. Are you doing something in this regard?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, I am thinking about it now – that we will not have spectators. That is, I am already thinking what attitude, what emotions I should have to skate the program calm and well. And, of course, I will try to set myself up in advance, as at the stages of the Russian Cup, Final. For example, there were few spectators in Sochi, but it was quite comfortable to skate.
If we analyze your performances this season, have you achieved your goal so far?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I didn’t tell myself that I needed to go and qualify. I told myself that I really want to do this, this season, I really really want to. And for some reason I had a feeling: this is real. And when I have the feeling that everything is possible, my thoughts become much more material. I think this is true for many. I even wrote notes to myself, not knowing whether the European Championships would be held or not – to be among the prize-winners at the European Championships. Probably it was in November, before the Grand Prix. But then I forgot about that, and even when I won the Grand Prix later, even then I was not entirely sure that all this could have happened. I couldn’t even think that everything would turn out this way, because figure skating you have it today, tomorrow something happens, nothing is stable. But I understood that the season is strange, and did not have any expectations at all. I thought the main thing was to get in good shape and skate at my level at all the competitions, not to fall below, to be among the leaders. Well, not leaders, but in the top six. So, in fact, I am slowly reaching my goal. Let’s see if I reach it at the World Championships or not.
There is a petition on the Internet that skaters are forced to go to the World Championships, neglecting their health. Your opinion?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No, no. I think very few athletes will say that they are forced to go to the World Championships – zero percent. For a professional athlete, the worst thing that can happen is a loss of motivation. And when you know that there are competitions, and you are preparing for the World Championships, then you, as a professional athlete who put his life on it, have a sense in life. And, of course, it’s very cool that ISU still organized the World Championships. I am very grateful to everyone who was involved.
Are you planning any changes in the programs?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: There will be minor changes in the free program. In the short, we will keep the current content.
What caused the unexpected change of the short program? You said that Aleksei Nikolaevich suddenly suggested the music “Lovely” performed by Billie Eilish and Khalid.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, after the Russian Nationals I wanted to offer Alexei Nikolaevich to change the short program. I was already tired of it and performance was not the best. I wanted to freshen up, I wanted fire to appear in my eyes. But in the end, Aleksei Nikolaevich himself offered me new music, said – yes, we need to change it. Maybe our choreographer Tatiana Nikolaevna Prokofieva talked to him, but not me personally. Of course, I agreed, because it’s amazing music. We slightly changed it so that it goes up, and I liked it. Really enjoy it. The program was choreographed by Nikita Mikhailov. We prepared it quickly. For some reason, when you urgently do something, it turns out even better than when you prepare it for three months.
Many top-level athletes say that if you are going towards your goal, then you should focus on your main work. But you, besides sports, have many other things to do – business, journalism, advertising projects … How do you manage to combine, it’s not easy?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: This is really a job. And besides everything, I also went to the shooting, participated in master classes … But I understand that it is easier to recover from fatigue physically, but it’s much more difficult to recover emotionally. It is easier for me when I have not only figure skating, when I do not constantly think about it. I want not to waste time, not to waste opportunities. That is, I am a person for whom,it is better to do if possible; take everything that you can, of course, in reasonable quantities…It’s cool for me. For me, on the contrary, it’s fun to combine everything – business, shooting, and figure skating. But it’s not easy. I have my own team of people who help me. Sometimes I write them: I can’t do it today, do it yourself. But this is very interesting, I think. While you are young, you need to use as many opportunities as possible and make mistakes and try something, so that then by the age of 30-40 you clearly understand what you want, what you want to do, what is best, what brings you the most profit and do not regret about anything. Before, I was very worried that I was distracted, not constantly thinking about figure skating. But in fact, it helps when the brain “turns off”: I breathe out a little, rest physically and mentally.
Shooting for such a magazine? Why did you need it?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Why not? At first I agreed, I was delighted. Then I realized: stop, I need to think. But the agent and I immediately set the conditions that it won’t be frank pictures, that all ethical standards would be observed. And I am glad that it happened in my life. Of course, I knew there would be negative reviews, but I received many positive ones. And this I did not expect, that in fact there will be so many of them.
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