Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “In the Olympic season, I wanted to be absolutely myself in my programs”
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva about the final Grand Prix stage in Sochi, the importance of getting to the Grand Prix Final and the content of her programs. Liza also shared what programs, in her opinion, can be called Olympic programs.
source: fsrussia.ru dd. 8th December 2021 by Olga Ermolina and Tatjana Flade
Liza, can you analyze your performance at the Grand Prix in Sochi?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I’m happy with how it went. After the end of the competitions I had only positive emotions and this is the most important thing, because I knew it would be difficult. I didn’t have much time to recover from my illness, and I prepared myself for this. But it turned out even better than I expected.
In principle, I am satisfied with my performance in the short program, but in the free program … Already in the evening I realized that my legs did not really want to skate today. I knew it would be hard. And I think it was visible, noticeable, although I tried to show the character. But this was not the kind of performance that I can skate. So I will work on it. I hope that the shape will return quickly and at the Grand Prix Finals (at the time of the interview it hasn’t been known yet that the Final was postponed), and at the Russian Nationals I will show a different skating, better, and of better quality.
That is, the physical condition affected?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, it was banal physical condition. Legs are the most important thing we have, and if they are in good, “working” shape, if you are in good shape, of course you skate more confidently. If something is wrong…After all these are not just a triple loop or double axel which could be done in any condition, these are more serious jumps, difficult elements.
Do you think this competitions will add you confidence, because you coped even with such a situation?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I don’t know what should happen to me so that I could say: that’s it, after this I will be able to skate in any state. I thought I could say that after the Worlds last year because I was very nervous. Or after the Grand Prix in Canada, because it was cold there and I really wanted to sleep. Or now, after Sochi, where I was again not in the best shape. And after all this you think: well, that’s it, I’ve already overcome so many things – come and skate! But no: every time I worry, I find something else …
I want to feel at least one competitions, so that I can just go and skate confidently with a drive. But since this season is responsible, you approach the competition without such ease, not the way you could have.
How important was it for you to qualify for the Grand Prix Final this season?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: It was important for me, because the Grand Prix Final is a prestigious competition where one of the best skaters participate. And in the Olympic season, qualifying for the Final is a good claim to compete for a place in the Olympic team. To get to the Final is like a small step forward.
During your career, you had memorable interesting programs, but this season, one might say, you and the coaches and choreographers hit with the programs. Could you call these programs Olympic ones, the best of Liza Tuktamysheva?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: That’s why I took these musical pieces, which I feel perfectly, and which have completely different artistic images. In the Olympic season, I wanted to be absolutely myself in my programs. To be honest, I don’t know what an “Olympic program” is. At the beginning of the season, public don’t like some programs at all. But when athletes become champions, their programs are immediately called Olympic ones.
It seems to me that when you are on the Olympic ice and skate clean and very emotional, the audience feels this swagger and the program sounds stronger, becomes a strong program. It seems to me that it’s not even about the music, but about the athlete, about his ability to present his program as an Olympic one. I say this, imagine it, and I even got goosebumps …
You said that you chose the music for this season’s programs yourself.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No. I don’t have such in my character that I clearly understand what kind of music is needed. I have an idea, and I need to be offered some options and then I will understand what to choose. Everything was simple with Ilya Averbukh (short program – Oblivion (J’oublie) by Astor Piazzolla, performed by Misia). I said that I wanted, and he sent three musical pieces, we chose on one of them. Alexei Nikolaevich (Mishin) immediately agreed, because it was really mine. And when we started to work on the choreography, I felt the music even more, because on the ice, with movements, you perceive it even deeper.
And in the free program (Arabia by Hanine El Alam, My Love … Music by Artem Uzunov) I also explained to Nikita (Mikhailov) what I needed. But when he sent many options for consideration, I had a little mess in my head. But when he put everything together, I listened and thought “This is just fire!” It worked the way I wanted. I’ve been skating this program for almost half a year and I do not get bored with what I do.
How did you formulate your ideas for the choreographers so that they would choose the music?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I said to Ilya that I want a deep feminine image, and if the vocals are in French, it will be wonderful. I had the idea in my head that it should be such serious female, mature music, and I saw it in French. And when Ilya sent me what he found, I answered that this is exactly what I want.
And for Nikita I simply outlined: an oriental theme, I want to enjoy and dance, so find cool tempo music. Nikita is already quite experienced choreographer and he knows what the audience will like, what the athletes will like. The main thing is that this program has a slow part in the middle, so that I can take a break. It’s important for me. And I said, “Nikita, the slow part is in the middle, because I just can’t handle skating the way it was last year.”
You clearly understood what programs you want, and the choreographers helped you to fulfill your ideas. Right?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, this was the first year when I knew what I wanted in the Olympic season, what programs. Before that, I also roughly understood it, and there were many different options. But this time there was no doubt, so it was even easier for me to choose.
When the choice is “easy,” the most obvious programs turn out. When some things come together and come easily, then everything is right.
At the press conference, you were asked a question about quadruple jumps. At the Russian Nationals in Krasnoyarsk, you tried to perform a quadruple in a free program.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, I didn’t do it then – I fell. But the very fact remains that I trained, I tried a quadruple. Then there was a different situation, then it was possible to take risks. Now is the Olympic season and everything is different.
At the Grand Prix in Sochi, you slightly complicated the free program. Should we expect more changes?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: It is unlikely that something will change dramatically, because now I have programs with the content that I often skate. And it’s not very good to get out of the “prepared state”. Perhaps, if there are any changes, they will be small ones.
In other words, everything must be stabilized and brought to shining state.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, I want everything to go in one breath.
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Oleg Vasiliev: “Tuktamysheva is a woman of mystery. She could have won everything in the last Olympic cycle, but lost because of the lack of appropriate attention to training, competitions and her shape.”
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