Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Changing a style of skating it’s like changing your whole wardrobe
Elena Vaitsekhovaskaya’s interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. About two triple axels, test skates and upcoming season.
by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya for rsport.ria.ru dd. 13th September, 2019
During the autumn test skates, you recorded a historic achievement by having successfully performed three triple axels in two programs, which none of the ladies has done before. It seems that this jump has become your favorite or almost the easiest and confident one.
– I wouldn’t say that. Axel is definitely not the easiest jump. But not the most difficult either.
A year ago, you told me in an interview that you have no idea how to add a second triple axel to a free program. What has changed?
– My coach and I clearly understood that it would still be necessary to add a second axel. Therefore, we began to work on this without waiting for the end of the season. As soon as I gained enough physical shape, I began to learn the axel in combination with a toe loop. Thus, we came to the desired result.
Without waiting for the end of the season, when is this? In February, when you didn’t manage to defend the right to go to the World Championships, or in April, after competing at the World Team Trophy?
– In April. Exactly at trainings in Japan, I started doing a combo of two axels – triple and double, two triple axels one after another and finally I made sure that all this is absolutely real. In the summer, when we resumed training, I restore the jumps quickly.
In February and March, your coach was quite busy preparing Sofia Samodurova for the World Championships in Saitama. How did you train during this period? Didn’t feel abandoned?
– As soon as I recovered from pneumonia and began to train, I had both a goal and a quite high motivation. When I found out that I wasn’t going to Worlds, there wasn’t much time left until the championship, and right after the shows where I had to participate started. So, in fact, I was without a coach for only one week, during which I was able to work with Ilia Averbukh, he did a Shallow exhibition program for me. To be honest, I never had any problems finding motivation. I love skating very much. If it weren’t for this, I probably would have finished long ago. And so it’s always interesting what else am I capable of?
However, I won’t believe, that the decision of the Russian Figure Skating Federation (FFKKR) to send another athlete to the World Championships wasn’t a blow for you.
– It wasn’t an easy period, yes. But I’m not one of those people who allow themselves to fall apart because of some trouble.
When in the winter I talked with your coach, I had the impression that he was counting on some guarantees from FFKKR regarding your participation in the World Championship. And that until the last he was sure that the choice would be made in your favor. I suppose you felt that too?
– It was so. But I know one thing: Alexei Nikolaevich did everything possible so that I could go there.
Did your non-participation in the World Championships somehow affect your schedule of shows?
– No. I knew in advance where and when I would skate.
Did you have to restore shape after almost six weeks of continuous performances?
– No. When the show ends, you don’t feel fatigue and emotional devastation, as happens at the end of the competition season, but rather some sadness: it was a very cool holiday, but it ended …
What has changed in your work during the summer training period?
– I can’t say that it has become easier or harder. Probably, I could have made my task much easier, keeping the same technical content in the programs, but why stand still if you can take a step forward? That’s why Alexei Mishin and I set ourselves the task of trying to maximize the complexity of both programs. In the short program, we will try a flip – toe loop combination instead of two toe loops, which I did before, the triple lutz will remain in the second half of the program, plus two triple axels in the free program. By and large, I have no choice if I want to stay competitive. It is necessary to develop, complicate the program to the maximum, diversify skating. My short program to Oblivion shows me a little differently than usual. I would like to see how the judges will react. A free program causes much less worries. There I remain myself, playful, fun, I really like the program itself and the music and in this case, as practice shows, the program is always well received.
Where did the idea come from to keep the short made by Shae-Lynn Bourne, but change the music?
– It was the idea of all our coaching council, which I fully trust in all respects.
Did Shae-Lynn share this desire?
– Alexei Mishin did all negotiations on this subject, and I think that they have reached mutual understanding. I’m really very grateful to Shae-Lynn for this collaboration. Together we did a very big and very difficult job in terms of developing me as a figure skater.
Was this step forward in your choreographic development hard?
– Not easy, let’s say so. Switching from comfortable movements and steps to something completely new and unusual is always difficult. Especially when you have to combine new choreography with complex technical elements, without showing that somewhere it’s uncomfortable or hard for you. Although in general, everything wasn’t so scary. It just took a while.
In the speech of any person there are so-called parasite words. Are there any “parasite” moves in figure skating that have been memorized for years on a subconscious level which a skater can’t get rid of?
– I think yes. I can’t say that some of my motor habits greatly interfered with my work with Shae-Lynn, but from the very beginning I gave myself a task to work exactly as the choreographer tells me, not to allow myself any initiative in the movements. This constant control turned out to be one of the most difficult moments for me. I dis steps, transitions as Shae-Lynn sees them, not allowing either to put the second leg, or to relax my hands. Bourne clearly explains what she wants to see and the work lasts until the result begins to closely correspond to the plan. For the sake of this choreography, I flew to Shae-Lynn in Charleston, and in five days we did the program. Now we continue to skate it, trying keep the original choreo.
Do you need the choreographer to be able to adjust his choreo throughout the season?
– One or another choreographer is always with me, we have our own choreographer Tatiana Nikolaevna Prokofieva who is constantly polishing the program and refreshing it. And Shae-Lynn herself only welcomes when I contact her on Facetime and show how I skate.
Retraining choreographic skills can be compared to how you retrain some technical points?
– I haven’t been doing any retraining of technique for so long that I can hardly answer you this question.
In general, you and the coach were satisfied with the test skates?
– Yes. We left Moscow in a good mood.
Will you have the same intense competition schedule as a year ago?
– Yes. We start with two challengers, then two Grand Prix, and then we’ll see. If I get to the Finals of the series, then the Russian Nationals in late December will be the sixth competitions of the season.
It is believed that at the Luzhniki Stadium, where test skates were held this year, ice is rather heavy. It’s too hot at the arena and the surface melts. Did you feel that?
– I would say that ice was good. Although skating in the Luzhniki Stadium was really hot. Because of this, it wasn’t too easy to skate the free program. But it’s much worse when the rink is cold. Then the muscles cool down too quickly, and this really starts to create a problem. For me, if I’m in good physical shape, quality of the ice is not so important. Now I don’t even remember competitions where ice really created a problem.
Does sharpening of the blades matter?
– For a long time I’ve been skating on the Matrixes, which during the season didn’t need to be sharpened at all. It was enough to slightly correct the blades with a pebble. Now we have switched to Gold Seal, which have never been sharpened after the initial processing. So I have not faced sharpening for a very, very long time.
It’s unusual to hear that. I know athletes who sharpen blades before each competitions.
– This is not practiced in our group. When the sharpening is fresh, skating becomes not so convenient. Well it also becomes dangerous to jump.
Waiting for the first competitions is comparable to what it was a year ago?
– Then everything was much calmer. Now it has become more exciting. After all, in my very first performance, I am going to appear in a rather unusual image for myself. This is like to change your wardrobe completely before going out. Of course, I’m concerned about how the premier will go.
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