Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “Friendship among girls in figure skating? If they are close to my age, why not be friends? But all of the current ones are very young. It seems that I communicate more with their mothers.”
Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. About her personal life, friendship in figure skating, the influence of boyfriends on athletes and training in the group of Alexei Mishin.
source: RSport dd. 1st January 2023 by Dmitri Edigarev
Your mother was your math teacher in school. Did you feel a special attitude?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Until the fourth grade, she was not my classroom teacher. First, I was afraid that my mother would teach in my class. I was worried. Still, this is school, and children can tease you. We tried to maintain a business relationship. When I came in a few minutes late, she said, “Elizaveta, what’s the delay?” She did not give me strong indulgences, but at the same time she could help with the training schedule. I was always aware of the home tasks. It was very comfortable. Even if I skipped math, I could learn it at home. But my mother and I did not study so often at home, because she was tired after her work at school, so I myself worked on the subject.
Did she ask other teachers to be less strict with you?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No. My teachers were very understanding people. The teachers were aware that I was a fairly good athlete and showed good results, so they treated me with understanding. My mother had a lot of friends at school, and I made good contact with the teachers. I don’t know, maybe there was something, but I don’t remember. I came to school, took assignments, did them myself, and brought them to the teachers. Between workouts, I could go to school and attend classes.
Your dad was into skiing and football. Was it his idea to bring sports into your life?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Perhaps it came from my father. But I went to a sports camp all the time, and there were different sports sections. So I learned about figure skating and started practicing. You can say that I myself wanted to. My parents were very happy that my energy could be channeled somewhere.
What was your relationship with your dad?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Very good. He was a cheerful and sociable man; he could find a contract with everyone. We had a large group of friends in Glazov, and he was very fond of sports. He was very funny; it was always fun with him.
What happened to him? A cheerful person who played sports …
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: He died of cancer; nobody is safe from this.
Is Alexei Mishin just a coach, or can he already be called your second father, grandfather, or kind uncle?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Of course, after so many years, he is more than a coach to me. I don’t know if I can call him a grandfather, but he is already like a family member. This is a fairly close person. I can always come to him for advice.
Tell us about Alexei Nikolaevich, what is he like in life? Has he ever yelled at you? Did you get kicked out of training?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: He has never kicked me out of training and hasn’t shouted much. He could flare up if I made stupid and thoughtless mistakes. You can always find a compromise with Alexei Nikolaevich. Recently, I have realized that I can show my mood without adjusting to him. He feels this very well and can help stabilize my emotional state if I’m in a bad mood. It is very important that I can come to training without putting on any masks.
Alexei Nikolaevich said that a study of your genealogical tree was carried out. Allegedly, your family goes back to Khan Tuktamysh, who was the nephew of Genghis Khan. Is this true, or did Alexei Nikolaevich embellish it?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I do not know. Why would he lie? Some journalists will be able to check. Since no one has said anything yet, it may be true. I don’t know, I haven’t checked.
You are a skater with a bright, individual style. Even when experimenting with programs, the signature style is noticeable. How did Tatiana Prokofieva influence this?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: She influenced me a lot, because I have been working with her since I was 10 years old. She has been my choreographer for 15 years. Of course, I adopt what she teaches. This is an absolutely logical outcome when you work with one choreographer and your style develops. Both the professionalism of the mentor and my personality. Taken together, it works out well. Tatiana Nikolaevna plays a significant role in what I do on the ice.
Does she adjust to your taste? You must have your own vision. Does she follow current trends?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, we can find a compromise with her and pick something that everyone likes. In our team, we adapt a little to each other so that everyone is comfortable. Our tastes are similar. If I offer some music, Tatiana Nikolaevna most often likes it.
Can there be friendship among the girls in figure skating, given that you compete with each other?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Of course. If they are close to my age, why not be friends? When there are two strong rivals who go head-to-head, there may not be friendship. But we have so many good girls. I am generally a non-conflict person, and I don’t like to be in such a state that I don’t talk to someone just because it’s my competitor. On the contrary, I am pleased to talk with a person and get to know them better. I believe in friendship.
With whom do you communicate more often among the girls?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: With Kamila Valieva, Zhenya Medvedeva, Alina Zagitova. So far, all of the current ones are very young. It seems to me that I communicate more with the mothers of young figure skaters. I also communicate well with Sasha Trusova and Anya Shcherbakova. In general, I communicate well with everyone with whom it is interesting.
When you started training with Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin, Evgeni Plushenko worked with him. Have you talked to Evgeni?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I almost didn’t catch the times when Zhenya skated. Most often, I went to another ice. But, if we were at the same rink, he would have suggested some things about the presentation of the program.
Was Plushenko always a man without nerves, or could he flare up?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Of course he could. He has always been a man with a fairly bright temperament.
Can he grow into a good coach and become, for example, the second Alexei Mishin?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Time will tell, because I don’t know much about it.
You talked a lot about a photo shoot in a men’s magazine. You are, in fact, the first of our skaters who opened the door to this world. Is there a limit to such promotions, or does it all depend on the idea?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Before, many figure skaters starred in Russian magazines, but for ten years they did not. Every person has a line that they may or may not overcome. I felt comfortable during the shooting. I do not regret it. If I thought I would regret it, I would not agree. This is quite a bold move. If there is a certain amount of doubt, then it is better not to try.
You said that after the end of your career, you want to participate in shows. But what about coaching and journalism?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I would like to try to create a show or be a host. So far, I’m swimming on a whim. I like what they offer me. While I am in figure skating, it is difficult for me to understand what will happen in the near future. First you need to try to do something, and then I will understand what I want. I’m waiting for life to give me such an experience. I already commented on TV that I liked it. If it satisfies the viewers and the channel, I would continue.
How significant is the influence of boyfriends or girlfriends on skaters?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Like on ordinary person. I do not divide the life of a skater from ordinary life. What helps me in everyday life helps me in sports too. I don’t know how I would live without friends. I enjoy communicating and am quite sociable in my immediate circle. It helps me. A boyfriend also helps, unless it’s a toxic relationship. Thankfully, I wasn’t in one. We had mutual understanding and support because we were doing the same thing and had the same life. We understood each other perfectly.
How important is it in figure skating that your partner is engaged in the same activity? Can skaters date lawyers, builders, or people of other professions?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: You can date anyone. I can’t judge because I haven’t had relationships with people outside of sports. But it certainly didn’t bother me that we were both doing the same thing. It is said that it is better to have different jobs so as not to annoy each other. On the contrary, I liked being in the company of my boyfriend on the ice and at home. But we didn’t skate together. We skated on the same ice, but we had different activities because everyone did their job.
Are you often invited to the games of “Zenith”? When was the last time you went to a football game?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: They invite me to the games, but most often I refuse because I have training camps or competitions. Plus, I’m afraid to go where there is a big crowd of people so as not to get sick before the competitions. Once the sport is over and I’m freer, I hope there will be more time to attend games. This season, I didn’t manage to come.
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