Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “If there had been no development, I would have finished. But I feel like I still can. There’s a desire to do more and better.”

Posted on 2022-12-18 • No comments yet


Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

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source: fsrussia.ru dd. 17th December 2022 by Olga Ermolina

On December 17, the athlete celebrates her birthday, and a few days later she competes at the Russian Nationals, which will be the 15th Nationals in her sports career!

Liza, congratulations! Before the start of this season, in your interviews, you made it clear that you found motivation to continue your career, and this motivation is further development. Is it possible to consider your new free program as confirmation of this statement?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I think yes. In general, it seems to me that it was worth not to finishing just in order to skate this program. Working on it was a revelation for me, and I put my soul into this program. It turned out to be completely different from my previous programs, for example, on the Oriental theme. It was interesting for me to try something that is not expected of me, something that you have not seen, and it is very nice that it was appreciated. It seems to me that people saw that I could really show a new image, and this image is really close to me. I like it. Probably everything that I talked about at the beginning of the season, this program justifies.

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Why is this program is close to you?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: As I feel it, this program (composition “Loneliness” by Igor Krutoy) is not about physical blindness. It is about loneliness, and in the image of a blind heroine, there is a certain emptiness, a rejection of something, a feeling of powerlessness. All this is reflected in this music and in this program. When you want something but it is out of reach and impossible to touch or see, all movements reveal this meaning. It is rather difficult to show this in the program. You need not only to live it, to pull it out of yourself, but also not to forget about the program itself, about the elements that you perform. But I like that this program has a change of mood, that there is not only a rough patch. But even more, I like the tragic ending, and not because I am a pessimist. It just seems to me that this makes more sense than ending the program optimistically.

Judging by the costume for this program—the image of a rose—this is probably a reference to the flower girl from the movie with Charlie Chaplin, who was blind. But you have your own plot in this program.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, we are talking about a woman who went blind. She is unable to see her children or loved ones and is filled with dread. However, there is some hope because, when she dives into her memories, she appears to see clearly; she can see, touch, and feel… But it only seems so to her. Whether this is a dream or her great desire, it is based on inner experiences. Having experienced a state of ecstasy, she returns to reality and comes to terms with her bitterness. She accepts her doom, and in this, surprisingly, her strength is manifested.

Choreographer Elizaveta Navislavskaya came up with the idea of the program. But we worked very hard on this program with our entire coaching team.

If we talk about your character, what do you prefer: to go with the flow, perceiving what is happening as it is, if it is impossible to change something and it does not depend on you? Or act like that frog from the parable that got into a jug of milk and, in order not to drown, beat with its legs until it turned into butter, which helped it get out?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: For me, the best solution in an uncertain situation is always to do what you can. not because it is necessary, although you do not always want to. It just seems to me that in “dark times,” you always need to find “light.” And since figure skating is light for me, the main thing in my life now, then, of course, I find an outlet in this, especially if there is a strong interest in what I do, in my programs, in my development as an athlete.

I’d rather put it all together. Naturally, I will be afloat, trying to do something while at the same time not forcing too much, just going with the flow so as not to have bright hopes, so that later I will not experience strong disappointment if they do not come true. Clearly understand the situation and find ways to change things in your life for the better.

Sports life can be compared to the road that you follow every day, year after year. But suddenly the route changes, and they offer to choose a different path, without a clear destination. But leaving the former “comfort zone” allows you to find other ways of self-realization.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, that is right.

What did you find for yourself?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I just wanted to touch on this topic. When a season like this one develops, when for reasons beyond your control something doesn’t go according to plan and there is no specific goal to go to the Worlds or somewhere else, then you can give part of your energy that is invested in preparation to the show. Perform there and combine it all. Try different images—something new for yourself—and at the same time get an emotional charge from the public. In general, you can do something else in parallel. Start learning foreign languages. And do it with a free soul, because there are no such strict restrictions, a strict schedule, when everything is aimed only at preparation and performances.

Last Olympic season, I didn’t do anything to distract myself. Only work. There was a specific task to withstand. This season, of course, is not easy for other reasons, but it is easier for me because, psychologically, I can say that I am free in my work. My technique doesn’t get worse because of it. It is still important for me to do well what I can do. But it’s easier for me to train and skate like that. When they say to you, “This season we will change the route a little and go on a different track,” you need to find advantages in this and use it to your benefit.

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Do new competitions, such as the recent jumping competition, motivate athletes?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I really liked it. In principle, we used to practice this at the Channel One Cup, but then it was not a separate competition. And what they have done now is such a jumping championship; it’s cool! Everything was well organized. I liked that there were separate stands for each team, and you could be there to support and cheer for your guys. The skating rink was warm, and it was not a problem to spend so much time on the stands with the team. Well, and the atmosphere was friendly.

The very idea of competitions only in jumping was probably initially perceived with skepticism. But the event turned out to be intriguing, and several hours flew by unnoticed.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, it was especially interesting to follow the team competition. Not just for the athletes who took part, but also for the spectators.

You didn’t take part in individual competitions. Why was such a decision made?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I initially thought that I would not compete, because I understood that even if I did a quadruple toe loop in the team event, then, most likely, in the individual event I would not do it because I would get tired after the team, and there you have to be in good shape. And with one triple axel in the “individual competition,” I had no chance because the girls would have jumped other quadruples. Therefore, I decided that I would calmly prepare, especially since at that moment I did not feel quite optimal, and it was the right decision.

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Recognition is important for every professional, especially for a public figure. Liza Tuktamysheva, for many skaters, has become a kind of symbol of devotion to figure skating, thanks to her long career and confirmation that even experienced athletes can perform ultra-c. It’s nice, of course. But what else motivates you to keep going?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Of course, if there had been no development, I would have finished. I don’t know, but I feel like I still can. Some potential sits in me, a desire to do more and better, and I want to fulfill it so as not to regret it later. And, of course, my environment, coaches, and team play a big role. We will celebrate my birthday together. What can I say? We have a very good team. And this is also one of the reasons why I stay in sports and skate. All of this — coach Alexei Nikolayevich Mishin, our team, my physical abilities — adds up to such a result. 

They say that our thoughts are material. Where would you like to see yourself in, say, 5–10 years?

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Self-confident and successful in something else besides figure skating, with a clear feeling that I can still do something besides sports and that I’m good at it.

I don’t know; at 18, it seemed to me that at 26, I would be different, but time passed, and I didn’t change outwardly, at least. It’s good. Probably, ice plays a role—a permanent “lifting effect.” (Laughs).

But if we talk not about how I would like to see myself but what I would like to achieve, I would like to find a business that would benefit not only me but also many people in the world.

I’m looking, I want, but it’s difficult. To be frank, it’s scary to start something new, because for 20 years you have been doing one thing in which you are a professional, and to start something new where you are not a professional, it’s scary to make a mistake and realize that it’s not for you. If I find something and realize that it not only brings me satisfaction but also benefits everyone, it will be great. Then there will be harmony in my soul.


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