Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: As long as I feel strength I will fight
Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
– I was a very active child. I always climbed, jumped somewhere. This later helped me with the vestibular. Dad was a director of a summer sports camp and always took me to different camps. Once I got to figure skating training camp. I was about 5 years old. All the girls were older than me, but it was very interesting for me in their company. When I returned home, I wanted to see everyone again. I asked my parents to take me to the rink. They did not mind. In our family it turned out so from the beginning : dad and I are in sports, my younger sister and mother use their heads more. My mom is a teacher of algebra and geometry.
We have lived in two cities for a long time: half a month – at home, in Glazov, half a month – in St. Petersburg. It was a difficult time. In St. Petersburg, first stayed in various mini-hotels, then in a hostel of sports university, rented some apartments. In principle, everything was fine, I got used to it quite quickly. The only negative is that at that time I was without parents, only with a coach. On the other hand, this temper the character. Since childhood I used to be responsible for myself.
Five years after the first meeting, Alexei Mishin suggested Tuktamysheva and her family moving to St. Petersburg. Mom was dealing with the move. Dad died shortly before.
-I was glad to move. By that time, already got used to St.Petersburg. All sorts of organizational issues passed by me. When mom and sister packed and transported things, I was at the training camp. I arrived at all ready. Mom later told me that all our belongings fit in two cars.
Alexei Nikolaevich helped us very much then. Found an apartment, supported us. In general, he’s very reliable. From the side he sometimes seems strict, even sullen. But no, that’s not it. He is kind and patient.
When we first started working together, I was clumsy, terribly clumsy. I had to be taught everything anew. I had a wrongly built technique – I jumped with a large amplitude and did not bend at all. I’m self-taught. I jumped on sensations, and not according to a clearly constructed methodology, like athletes from Alexei Mishin’s group do. The first six months after we met, we spent to accustom my body and mind to the fact that it is necessary to bend tightly, correctly.
About rivalry with Adelina Sotnikova
– I understand that people want to talk about something. But if they are expecting me to tell different stories about how Adeline and I didn’t like each other, then alas I have nothing for them. It is clear that the was no friendship between us. There can be no friendship where there is real competition. This is either self-deception or a game for the public. We communicated well. No intrigues. I had my own life, Adelina had hers. I never understood why we were compared all the time. We are completely different in character, in style of skating. The only thing we have the same is a year of birth.
About Olympics in Sochi
– The toughest period was before the Olympic Games in Sochi. I had a transitional age. The first problem is to keep weight. When the body is growing it’s normal to gain weight. You just need to go through it. And of course be more attentive to your diet. But do not focus to much. Once I had quite a rigid diet. And it still did not help, because I had mental problems. I don’t know how it works, but when you let go of the situation and don’t think that you ate something extra, the body itself starts to work harmoniously.
The second problem – all the sensations on the ice are changing too. Often you just don’t feel your body. At this moment, the main thing is not to lose the desire to skate. You have to understand that everyone goes through this. Don’t give up on yourself. Jumps and technique can be restored. Everyone goes through it too.
The third problem is in mind. This is my case. In general, I constantly do self-digging, and then there’s was home Olympiad. Everyone around — journalists, fans, experts were “sending” me to Sochi. I also really wanted to go and perform there well. But in my case, I have to take everything very calmly.
About triple axel and quads
Skaters don’t like triple axel much, even men. You jump it forward, from an arc. It is necessary to feel the jump very well, because it’s more difficult to control the position of the body in such a position.
As a child I had no fear of jumping. This is the first important point. And the second – I learned axel with Alexei Nikolayevich. Any professional will say that he is the best axel specialist.
We also tried quads when I was very young. Quad toe loop. It was underrorated, plus problems with the landing. Of course, I could learn it. But it was the time when Ksenia Doronina was skating (two-time Russian champion, the best result at the international level – 9th place at Euro 2008), Irina Slutskaya finished just recently, and my content of triple axel and combinations triple-triple was more than enough. We worked on consistency. The quad wasn’t needed then. It was a period when I had no one to catch up in technique.
To jump the quad, you have to be absolutely fearless. By the way, this is an advantage for children – they cannot assess the risks adequately. I remember myself, it was really cool to jump, no fears, including due to the fact that the maternal instinct wasn’t turned on. If I started to learn some quadruple jump now, I would be scared. There was a period when I was afraid to perform even a triple axel, which I have known since childhood. I didn’t skate for a long time because of back problems, I forgot feelings and didn’t know what to expect. And when you do not know what to expect, fear immediately appears.
There are senior athletes who decide on such experiments. Miki Ando, for example, did a quad salchow when she was a senior athlete. Age does not affect learning. It affects only the physical condition and the belief that you can do the element. Or not.
About changes in women’s skating
– Recently I’ve been thinking about my rivals at the Russian Nationals – that’s where it will be interesting. 7-8 people will claim for a medal. And each can perform very well at the international level. Not so long ago it was hard to imagine such a situation.
What has changed? Everyone saw that small children are able to perform difficult elements, that it is possible to send more young figure skaters to senior competitions, so that they would understand how everything works there.
Each wants to win, each wants to compete at a high level. And when you see that some two little girls jumped out and beat everyone, you think: “Why not me?”. Of course, immediately everyone began to fight, to get involved, believed that it’s really possible to become better.
This is a great motivation. Personally, I have a huge desire to go on the ice and show myself and what I can do. As long as I feel strength I will fight, skate and at any case I won’t get angry or pity myself if someone from juniors beats me. That’s right – the girl made three quadruples, for example, and deservedly can be higher. My goal is perfect women’s skating.
I respect Sasha Trusova very much. The child is a genius in some sense.
About raising the age for being senior skater
– Figure skating develops. It’s interesting to watching all these changes. I don’t think that in the near future ISU will decide to raise the age for seniors. Very young girls represent not only Russia. There are also many talented children in Japan and China. After Mao Asada finished her career, there were no figure skaters over 22 years old in Japanese national team. If ISU raises the age, it will affect not only the Russian girls , it will slow down all figure skating.
About rules changes
-Now programs are becoming more balanced. In the end, the scores have not changed much. The judges now have more opportunities to assess the execution of the element. If you do a good jump, it costs about the same as before, maybe even more. If earlier I could get a maximum “+ 3” for a good jump, now the judges can give a “+ 5”. I do not feel that we began to get less when the marks for jumps were decreased. So far it’s opposite for me.
About new programs
-My new images perfectly reveal my character. The short program is tango to the music from the movie “Mr. and Mrs. Smith”. I always liked this theme. My tango is not quite usual. I skate different emotional states of Angelina Jolie’s heroine. How she worries, how passionate she can be, how she talks to men or remembers the touches of her husband or doesn’t want to remember them, depending on her mood.
The free program is Charleston. I’m a flirty girl. I do not understand why we have not considered this image before. When the slow French part begins, it’s so cool.
About her Instagram and her boyfriend
-My boyfriend really likes my instagram. He absolutely calmly about my photo in underwear or swim suits. He always says: “I’m lucky. I have a gorgeous woman.”
Of course, he knows that there are a lot of men among my fans, but he understands everything. If Andrei wants to post a photo in such style, I will support him too and say: “Show everyone how cool you are!”
In general, Andrei helps me a lot. I am in harmony. When we quarrel, this of course affects work. But this happens rarely. We always support each other. I go to the skating rink and I know that I have a boyfriend there, friends and my heart becomes warm and I want to go to the practice. I would not be able to work in a group where people do not communicate with each other – just for the sake of work.