Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “I want to learn more quads. Not in order to prove something to others. I want to prove to myself that I can do it at my age. For me, this will be my small victory.”
Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. About past season, new programs and the reasons that motivate her to continue her career.
source: fsrussia.ru dd. 10th June 2022, by Tatjana Flade and Olga Ermolina
Having performed at the Channel One Cup with a new short program and jumping a quadruple toe loop at the training camp in Armenia, you made it clear that you have no doubts about your intention to continue your sports career. Right?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes. As for jumps, when I feel that I can jump, I train them. Especially at the end of the season, when the body is already more relaxed, there is no such stress, unnecessary emotions, you take off all this burden. After a short break, more enthusiasm appears, there is time to work on quads. And at the training camp in Yerevan everything worked out, and I jumped the quadruple toe loop.
But you were right about my decision, I was not going to end my career. Although the short program “Freedom” was made for the Channel One Cup to try something new. I’m not sure that this program will remain for the next season, because the new season will not start soon. And my sincere desire, I don’t know if the coaches will support it, but I would like to do one more short program, and then choose the best of the two. It is always good when there is a choice.
It’s not for the first time when you and Mishin do several programs for the season. Can you explain why?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I have already spoke about it. Alexei Nikolaevich often has ideas to do several programs when there is a free time to get away from monotonous work. Any program, even unsuccessful one, gives experience and opportunity to try new things. Therefore, even now we did not miss the chance when choreographer Adam Solya came after the Olympics. We have known each other for a long time. Adam did programs for me and Zhenya Semenenko. We did them quickly and easily. With Adam, we understand each other very well, so the program turned out to be eye-catching, rather non-standard – the way I like it.
Any thoughts about the free program?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I don’t want to experiment much. It is better to do something yours and spend this season calmly. But that’s for now. Perhaps my attitude will change.
It’s hard to guess right now. And still, I do not fully understand how different the new season will be. I prepare as usual, but I don’t speed it up, as before the Olympics.
Were you very worried that you didn’t go to the Olympics?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No, not much. After the Russian Nationals, I basically understood that I most likely had no chance. The girls qualified for the Games, because they were obviously stronger. Anya Sherbakova is the world champion, Sasha Trusova has five quads, Kamila Valieva has been running like a locomotive all season.
I did not have a feeling of resentment, and who should I be offended at? If I was firmly in the top three, and at the qualifying event everything went down, then I could be upset. And in this case, everything was fair. I was seventh at the Russian Nationals. The Olympics showed everything, Anya became an Olympic champion, although there the results turned out to be completely different than everyone imagined.
But in general, the Olympic season was successful for you.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Half of the season for sure.
Where do you find motivation for yourself to continue your career?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I didn’t really have any doubts about that. I want to learn more quads. I want to jump them, to overcome my fear. I want to try to get a lutz, do a salchow, consistently jump toeloop. If at the training camp in Armenia I was able to jump a toeloop in a bad, slightly relaxed state, then other quads are possible.
As Aleksei Nikolaevich says: whoever does a triple axel, in principle, can do a quadruple salchow and a toeloop. I tried salchow, underrotated it on a quarter and fell, but in principle everything is real. As an athlete (and we have developed such a character since childhood), I want to squeeze the maximum out of my body, everything that I am capable of. With my physiology and technique, it is possible to master other quads. And I want to learn them not in order to prove something to others. I want to prove to myself that I can do it, that I did these quads at my age. For me, this will be my small victory.
As for competitions… To be honest, I don’t miss competitions at all now. I like the relaxed workflow. After the Olympic season, I let it go, allowed myself to relax mentally. And this off-season was different than in previous years. When you go on vacation, but all the time you think about music, new programs, that everything needs to be done just super and to the maximum. This time I allowed myself to relax completely, accepted for myself: come what may. I will go with the flow. I do not want to change my life radically now, so I will continue to do what I am good at. In today’s situation, I think this is the right choice.
Did you really manage to forget about figure skating on vacation?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes. I was on vacation with Zhenya Tarasova. We didn’t think about figure skating at all. It was nice. In the end, only when there were two days left before departure, I thought that the training camp was coming soon, and I had no muscles left at all, how would I restore all this? But I came to Kislovodsk, went on the ice and felt at ease.
But you did not had a relaxed lifestyle on vacation, did you? You swam with scuba gear, tried something else according to the photos.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Relaxed. Yes, we also went scuba diving and snorkeling. But in principle, apart from swimming, there is not much to do there. It was not such an active vacation to travel somewhere, to watch something. Walked a little. Mostly we were in the water or on sunbeds by the pool. I haven’t had a vacation like this in a long time. I really enjoyed. At least the first week for sure. Then it became boring, we thought that we need to organize some kind of “movement”. But the sun came out and everything returned to its place.
Many fans were delighted with your decision to continue skating. And the world junior champion Isabeau Levito, in an interview after the victory in Tallinn, answering a question about idols, named you among her three favorites and said that Liza Tuktamysheva is an empress, when she skates.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Wow! (Laughs). Emotional girl. But, to be honest, I have not seen such news with the comments of the fans. Probably everyone is just used to the fact that I continue.
After the end of the season, the fans could see you in show. You’ve had a lot of shows this year.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes many. On the show, you also turn off well. Just enjoy the process. And then all these trips, especially in a good company is always fun, pleasant, helps to distract. Too bad we can’t go to the show in Japan right now. With sadness, I look through the “stories” of other guys. And since we started talking about why I stay in figure skating, then one of the reasons is that performances in different countries provide an opportunity not only to compete, to skate in shows, but also to travel, get to know people, traditions, culture, something new. For me, this is extremely important, because on each such trip I am emotionally charged. I cannot stay in one place for a long time, I need to change the situation from time to time.
And it’s sad that next season we will not have international events, the opportunity to travel to competitions abroad. Of course, I am glad that there will be Russian stages of the Grand Prix. And it’s good that our federation organizes them, it motivates the athletes, everything is super. But it seems to me that I will miss international competitions, communication with athletes, trips to new places and places where we have already been.
But not like in pandemic times, when it was impossible to go outside and you had to sit in the room.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: But we kept in touch anyway. It was at least some variety during the pandemic. Alexei Nikolaevich likes to travel a lot. Probably taught us to do it. Before the holidays, we visited the training camp in Armenia for the first time.
Did you liked it?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I didn’t want to leave! I felt so bad that I couldn’t stay until the end of the training camp… Very nice people. Good skating rink. Very beautiful. Everything is so cool, soulful, delicious food. And everything is so dear … It’s a pity that I didn’t manage to really walk around the city. In general, I should go back and see everything.
You remained the only girl in your group. How do you feel in a male company?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Wonderful. I started to miss my group while still in the Maldives. And honestly, I was very glad to come to the training camp, to see everyone. I missed it. In the spring, I went to the show a lot, and we didn’t have time to spend it together. I love our group. It’s kind. With all the guys there is always something to talk about. And if even in the Maldives I missed my coaches, the guys, then this says a lot.
And the fact that now there are more boys in the group, I don’t see much difference for myself. Girls, boys… They are all my friends.
Well, the guys jump quads, healthy competition.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, today on the ice I felt like an outsider. But women always have an advantage. When everyone at the stadium pulled themselves up, and after the vacation I couldn’t, I immediately said: well, I’m a girl, we have different categories. But on the other hand, if there are athletes in the group that you can reach for, that’s good. When I get in shape, I will try to do the same tasks.
Now we see some articles saying that the results of Russian athletes are due to a more rigid system of training, a strict attitude of coaches. What do you think?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I would say that this is not rigidity, but exactingness. In Russia, coaches are more demanding of athletes – this is a fact, because there is a lot of competition, and if an athlete has no desire to achieve something, no desire to work, then someone else will take your place. You just need to figure out what you want. And do not be afraid that you will disappoint someone, will not do something right away, that you will be scolded. You need to come to training with the knowledge that you need it yourself. Probably, all this passes with age, and much depends on the relationship with the coach. I was lucky, because Alexei Nikolayevich is my golden ticket. And I have the opportunity to just live figure skating.
Has figure skating become a profession for you or are you considering other options in the future?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I tried to imagine other options, but this is too serious, it takes a lot of time, and I would not feel completely happy.
I tried to do something that is not related to figure skating. Created a clothing brand that sold well. But it bored me. I realized that it’s not for me. But I tried.
Journalism? In general, this is a good topic. But you can’t just start to work. To become a good journalist, you need to study. I think I should be able to. I tried commenting. If you know the subject you are talking about well, it is not so difficult.
As for coaching, I don’t think about it yet. I still want to skate in shows after the end of my career, to see the world. And the coaching profession consumes you completely, you become attached to your students. For now I’m not ready for it. And in general, my sports career continues.
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