Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “I let go of the topic of weight. I said to myself, “That’s it; you’re a grown woman; don’t drive yourself crazy; you’re not a child. Accept yourself like this.”

Posted on 2022-12-29 • No comments yet


Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. About Russian Nationals, plans for the future and popularity o figure skating.

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source: TASS dd. 27th December 2022

Liza, did you have a desire to put an end by medaling at your 15th anniversary Russian Nationals?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I didn’t think about it seriously, and when I stood on the pedestal, I didn’t have a sentimental thought that I was doing this for the last time. Apparently, my soul is not ready for this yet. There was no feeling that this was definitely my last Russian Nationals.

Immediately after the performance, you said that our girls, Kamila Valieva and Sofia Akatieva, were moving you forward. And you are really much ahead because at the age of 26, you are not just skating but fighting, winning, and becoming an idol for at least two generations of figure skaters.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: It’s nice to hear it. I’m glad that someone looks up to me, I try to set a good example, but I won’t say that I feel like an idol. I live in my own world. I have no such thing as someone coming to me for advice. Each of us has our own world.

When Kamila, Sofia, and I said words of gratitude to each other, it was one of the few touching moments.

What would you wish to yourself, speaking to a twelve-year-old Liza, who performed in 2009 at the first Russian Nationals of her life?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I would say, “Trust yourself. Because you know everything about yourself better than anyone.” I have learned to trust myself through experience. I would also say to myself, “Be bolder.” I remember those competitions, but I do not remember the feelings. I can say for sure that it was not as important to me as it is now to all skaters. Then the Nationals were just one of the competitions.

The Russian Nationals are really the main event this season. Do you have any devastation after it?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Not yet. I am filled with emotions; there are many New Year’s shows ahead, and I’m looking forward to them. While there is an opportunity, you need to move. But when this is not possible, I can lie in bed, do nothing, and watch a series.

Did you have a moment of understanding that childhood is over?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Someone told me this when I started traveling to St. Petersburg from Glazov. Well, perhaps I had to grow up faster than others because I began to see my family less often. But I wouldn’t say that my childhood was completely gone then, because when I returned to Glazov, I had the same childhood and the same friends. And when I had to leave my city, everything was interesting to me—new friends, new emotions, new countries. So I had a great childhood.

You give the distinct impression that you enjoy competing. Is this true, or is it, first and foremost, a hellish work?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: If it had been a hellish work, I would have finished long ago. I don’t take it that way. The most unloved part of the season for me is when you have to get in shape after the vacations. But we usually do it at the training camp in Kislovodsk or Courchevel, and this is a great place to enjoy life. Everything is in harmony. For the last three years, I have been coming to training with a calm soul; I have no fear that something will go wrong. Now I have no worries that the training might fail. I let go of this situation, allowed myself to take it easy, and it immediately became easy for me to train and do everything that the coach asks.

It always seemed to me that in the group of Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin, unsuccessful training was not treated as something horrible. They won’t beat you with skate guards, roughly speaking.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: This is true, but I had this fear not because I was afraid of the coach; the fear was that I would upset myself first of all. That this could affect my future and that I would be unsatisfied. Before, my mood depended on training, and if it went well, the mood was good; if it was bad, I was depressed. And now, whether it was good or bad training, I leave the skating rink, and a different life begins for me. By the way, I haven’t had bad training in a long time. That is, as soon as you let go of the situation and switch, the training becomes more productive. And when I experienced all this, it became pleasant and calm for me to go on the ice—there were no jitters that something could go wrong.

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When did you come to this?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: It was about five or six years ago, and before that, I had to cope. It is clear that the reason for this was your responsibility for what you do. I realized for myself that my emotional state is more important to me than bad training, that sports are just sports, that there is another life, and that these concepts need to be separated. I don’t live for figure skating, but there is figure skating in my life; it is a big part of my life, but a lot of good things can happen besides it. It probably comes with age.

It is believed that with age, it becomes more and more difficult to deal with weight. How are you dealing with it now?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: On the contrary, when puberty ended, which was about 2018, I had plus or minus one kilogram. Even after vacations, I returned with only a kilo gain.

I eat intuitively: if I want to eat, I eat; if I don’t want to, I don’t eat. I heard this phrase from psychology recently: “If we want to lose weight, we must make it clear to our brain that we have an unlimited amount of food.” Knowing this, you will eat less because you have so much choice. I heard it now, but it became proof of my shape. I was able to come to this state when I let go of the topic of weight. I said to myself, “That’s it; you’re a grown woman; don’t drive yourself crazy; you’re not a child. Accept yourself like this.” I do not like to worry in everyday life and try to get rid of it.

Are there no worries that 300-400 grams can affect the jump?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: This also comes with experience. Yes, there is a difference, but all of this together depends on your muscle mass, your shape, and on the amount of water in your body. As soon as I let the topic of scales go, I came to a harmonious state. Now that I eat whatever I want, I very rarely overeat. I don’t like heaviness, so most often I don’t finish my meal. Eat as much as enough for me.

How much time a day do you spend on make-up and choosing clothes?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: In everyday life, I do not wear make-up at all. In the morning, I get up, go to the shower, and tint for five minutes—cover up the dark circles with concealer, tint my eyebrows, and contour my lips. That’s all. I dry my hair, and I’m ready. It takes a maximum of 15 minutes. I dress according to my mood; I never think it all over in advance. The main thing is warmth and comfort in the winter, and in the summer, yes, I want to look more sophisticated. 

You really became an example for the youngest; “to be like Liza” is becoming a dream for our young stars. What would you advise the girls who give up, those who fight year after year, for example, in the second ten?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I would advise them to objectively look at their condition and their future without rose-colored glasses. If you feel the strength in yourself, one hundred percent continue. If you like it, you should do it while you have the opportunity. But if it is a burden to you, it will not lead to anything good.

I know from my own experience that if it’s a burden for you, it can even lead to injury. Psychology works like this: if you don’t like something, the body itself starts to give you obstacles so that you don’t do it.

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Alexei Nikolaevich is a very caring coach, I remember once at the Grand Prix in Barcelona, he hemmed your skirt on a black and red dress with his own hands. Can a coach be a father, a grandfather – in a word, like a family member, or is it quite individual?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Individually. Someone needs discipline; someone needs a warmer relationship with the coach. With Aleksei Nikolaevich, it’s everything together. He is a strict coach; he does not shout, but you will obey. On the other hand, you can always talk to him; he can always lighten the atmosphere; he can understand me and feel my mood. He knows how to work with it. And he accepts my mood and does not demand from me what I cannot do today.

For a long time, it was considered that Evgeni Plushenko was the main project of his life. Looking at you, you understand that you are no less successful of his project. What is Mishin’s secret?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: He probably has a good eye for talent (laughs). The secret of Alexei Nikolaevich is his full dedication to his work. If he sees talent in you, he helps a lot. He has never taken money from me for anything, he only helped with costumes, with an apartment. He has guided me since childhood. That is his secret.

I will remember for the rest of my life how, in the same place, in Barcelona, I was amazed when I saw you in the corner of one of the rooms with a book. Everyone is running around, the usual competitive fuss, and you are with a weighty edition of Shantaram. Is the book still your friend?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Exactly; then I was reading Shantaram. Then, in terms of reading, I had a very active moment. I have it in leaps – I read a lot, then I don’t have time for this. Now I’m studying the issues of self-development more, trying to feel what I’m interested in and what I need to develop. I listen to podcasts, trying to intuitively figure out what I need to do now, how to progress, and in what direction. Maybe my subconscious mind will give me something.

Your story of not getting to the Olympics—how do you perceive that time now?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Only when they ask questions about it do I start thinking about it.

The “Scarlet Empress” appeared in your life at the age of 13-14 thanks to your group on the social network. “Scarlet” disappeared; “Empress” remained.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I don’t like to talk about myself like that.” But if this is the desire of the fans, so be it.

How do you feel about the fact that the popularity of figure skating is now going through the roof so people can hype on this topic?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Popularity is such a thing – you either put up with it, or you don’t even start. If you win, if you are a good athlete, people will talk about you, and you have to get used to it. I take it calmly, I feel comfortable, and I am rarely recognized on the streets.


Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Maybe I position myself in such a way that they don’t recognize me. And every time it happens, I’m surprised. I live an ordinary life; I don’t have the feeling that I am a popular person or a famous athlete.

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Still the same girl from Glazov?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, I think so; I have a lot left of her, of that girl from Glazov,  and I love it.

I don’t like huge popularity. In life, I am an introvert; in the company, I’m an extrovert. Yes, I read the comments, but I learned to either scroll through without bothering with them or, if something catches my attention, talk to my relatives to figure out if it’s true or not and whether something can be done about it. But this happens quite rarely.

It also happens that negative comments become funny for me. Previously, I remember, they wrote about me as “ai-nane” (like a gypsy dance – ed.), and I perceived it with humor; we even joked like that among ourselves, “ai-nane” (laughs). And from the last one, I liked “dinosaur arms” before the axel. I never thought about it, but I really have them very relaxed, and it looks like the legs of a tyrannosaurus (laughs). But I haven’t read anything bad about myself in a long time.

Returning to “ai-nane”, do you still like the role of queen of provocation or have you already moved away from this image?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I think I have become a little calmer. But I would like to do something more interesting. I don’t know what exactly, but if the opportunity presents itself, I’ll think of something else. But now I am closer to deeper ideas, more complex topics. I want to do something extraordinary.

What would you wish all our skaters in the coming new year?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I will be banal, but this is important: I wish that we are allowed to participate in international competitions. We are ready, we are rushing.

What about yourself?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Find what I really like, what is close to me besides figure skating, next year. And start to develop in it.


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