Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “If results are demanded from you from all sides, then it is very difficult to keep love for what you are doing.”
Another interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. About victory at the Rostelecom Cup, plans for the season and her career.
source: Alexei Adamov for championat.com dd. 2d December 2020
Liza, after winning the Grand Prix in Moscow, you said that you were shocked by what happened. Is this the most unexpected success in your career?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: One of the most unexpected for sure. I haven’t won major competitions for a long time, so the emotions from past victories have been forgotten, but the success in Moscow really came as a surprise. Now there is a high level of competition in Russia, so it is very difficult to win any competitions.
After the free program, there were probably thousands of congratulations. Were there any unusual among them?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: There were a lot of congratulations, I want to thank everyone for the kind words. The fans presented a large bouquet of flowers and a huge soft whale. I don’t know why a whale, I have never associated myself with this animal, but it’s very cool (smiles).
Do you remember what Alexey Nikolaevich said in the kiss and cry?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Words were not needed, everything was in his eyes. Alexei Nikolaevich, Tatiana Nikolaevna – everyone reacted very emotionally and were very happy.
In a free program, you skated right after Alexandra Trusova, and it seemed that there was a deathly silence on the areana. Didn’t this situation press you?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I was in a good mood, so I was not affected in any way by what was happening in the arena. To be honest, I did not watch Sasha’s performance and generally tried to abstract. I think this skill comes with experience.
From the outside it seemed that at some point you relaxed and allowed yourself to have fun. Did you feel it?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I tried to skate freely and emotionally in the second half of the program. Judging by the reaction, many have noticed this. After the second axel, I realized that I had already done the most important thing, there were less difficult elements left, so I started to skate more relaxed. Even if something doesn’t work out at the beginning of the program, I try not to let it affect my performance emotionally. In training, we work out different situations, including after an unsuccessful triple axel, we continue to skate. But, of course, it is easier to show emotions when you do all the elements clean.
After the victory in Moscow, experts and fans call you one of the main favorites of the season. Did this success somehow affect your perception of your own chances?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I think this victory gave me confidence. Now it’s necessary to do everything to make it grow with every competition. And for this I must try not to make mistakes.
There are only two weeks between the Grand Prix stage and the Russian Cup stage in Moscow. Will this time be enough to add a quad toe loop in the free program?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: We are working on it, but I don’t think we will have time to prepare it for the Moscow stage of the Russian Cup. Rather, I will try a quadruple toe loop for the first time this season at the Russian Nationals.
How are you working on this jump? How many attempts per practice do you make?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I do not jump much, while about 30% of attempts are successful, since I’ve begun to jump a quadruple toe loop in training only two weeks ago. To put it in the program, there must be confidence in the element, that’s when at least 70 percent of the training attempts are successful. Now we’ll work exactly on this stability.
At what point does it become clear that it is time to train a quadruple toe loop?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: When there is a combination of several factors. The triple axel should work well, and the triple toe loop should be very comfortable, big and you need to be ready mentally. When all this happens, you can start trying the quadruple jump.
How is the decision to put a particular jump in the program made? Who has the last word?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Aleksei Nikolaevich and I are discussing the situation and together decide whether it is worth doing a jump at these competitions or not. Usually we always come to a common decision, but still it’s me who skates, so if something is wrong, I can say that I am uncomfortable. Or, on the contrary, that I feel the strength in myself and ready to jump. So, probably, I have the final word.
Skaters usually live according to an understandable competitive schedule that hardly changes from season to season. This year the calendar has changed a lot for obvious reasons. Is it difficult to adapt to this new reality?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I have already caught the wave, entered the sports mode. Now it is much easier for me than at the beginning of self-isolation, when there was no opportunity to train. The main thing is that there is an interesting and full-fledged training process, preparation for competitions. Russian Nationals is in a month, so now I have 100% motivation to work and improve my skating.
At the moment there is no clarity with the European and World Championships. After the victory in Moscow, do you have even more desire for these tournaments to take place?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I do not think about it. My goal now is Russian Nationals. And then we will proceed from the situation.
After not qualifying to the Worlds in 2019, you said that there was a little girl inside you who was killed. Did you manage to bring her back to life?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Maybe yes. It happened gradually.
At the beginning of the 2018/2019 season, you were almost the most talked about figure skater in the world, but gradually you began to give less news stories. Have you deliberately decided to reduce your activity on social networks?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: When everything calmed down, I realized that I like such an atmosphere more. So far I do not want to disturb this calm, but no one knows what will happen next.
At the exhibitions in Moscow, you performed with a hussar program already familiar to the public. Are you planning to delight fans with a new exhibition program this season?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Perhaps we will prepare something new for the Russian Nationals, but I don’t know for sure yet. In general, working on exhibition program always helps to switch a little and bring joyful emotions to the training process. Before important competitions, athletes do not devote much time to exhibition program, but even these few hours can create a very good mood.
With the famous number to Toxic, you, as planned, brought men back to figure skating. But such popularity certainly has a downside. Do you often receive direct messages with propositions to meet?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I got such messages quite often even before that program, so for me it was not new. I rarely look at the direct messages, but mostly people leave friendly messages that are pleasant to read. I try to answer some of them.
Recently, you’ve said that understanding that there is another life outside of figure skating helped you to create such a long beautiful story in the sport. How to avoid being obsessed with figure skating?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: If results are demanded from you from all sides, then it is very difficult to keep love for what you are doing. It seems to me that relatives should understand that there is no need to force and put pressure on a person who already devotes a lot of time and effort to his occupation. Probably, the understanding that life is not limited to figure skating comes with age. My friends helped me a lot during this period. Just human communication, some kind of adolescent spontaneity.
You got into the group of Alexei Nikolaevich as a nine-year-old girl and you still work under his quidance. How has Mishin’s attitude towards you changed over the years?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Over time, our relationship has become more trusting. When I got older, Alexei Nikolaevich began to consult with me more often, to give me the opportunity to express my opinion. He understood that he should talk to me like to a 20-year-old girl, and not like a 15-year-old teenager. Alexei Nikolaevich is a very wise person and he has a subtle sense of such moments. It was always easy to find mutual understanding with him.
Over the years, have you ever been on the verge of changing your coach?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No. Whatever happened in my career, I never even thought about it.
Many people think that your victory in Moscow gives hope to all mature figure skaters in the world. Do you feel such a responsibility?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I would not call it responsibility, I just showed by my example that nothing is impossible. It’s great if I managed to inspire someone. So, all this is not in vain.
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