Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “It would be so cool to do a quadruple lutz. It will be an incommensurable victory over myself.”
Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. Liza shared her emotions from a successful season, hinted at plans to complicate the content and recolled a funny incident with a costume at competitions.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 5th May 2021 by Anastasiia Pletneva and Anastasiia Ratskevich
What was the hardest part of preparation for the past season?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Everything was hard: getting in shape after quarantine, skating the programs, looking for motivation. And the season itself was not easy. No one had such an off-season, it was difficult for me in the summer. Some certainty appeared only when competitions began, then I fully engaged in this process and found the energy to work.
Did you have any thoughts like: “That’s it, I’m tired, I can’t take it anymore”?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I think there were, but I do not remember exactly at what moment. This whole season is overcoming, everything was through “I can’t” and “I don’t want to”. I thought “Lord, when will all this end, when will I rest?” But, thank God, everything was rewarded with double success. It was worth it.
Recently, you have had successful post-Olympic seasons, and now you have a pre-Olympic one. Is the curse broken?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: You can say that (laughs). This season I have disproved the typical Liza. But after 2018, I tried to perform consistently, to skate without major failures and at the decent level.
How did you come to working on quadruple lutz?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I just thought it would be so cool if I did a quadruple lutz. It will be an incommensurable victory over myself if I learn this jump, overcome my fears. The emotions that I got when I realized that I could learn the quadruple lutz … I decided to try. And with a harness it turned out not so difficult and scary. Now I’m trying to overcome myself and make a quadruple lutz without harness. I’m already overrotating it, the work is underway. As soon as I do, it will appear on social networks. I really hope and will work on it.
Do you want just to make it or to add it into the program?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: For now, just for myself, this is purely my goal. We’re not talking about the program. Again, there is a certain challenge in my life that I want to take.
What is more difficult for you – lutz or toe loop?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: In general toe loop is easier to rotate, because it has more inertia. And lutz is considered one of the most difficult triplets, and psychologically you set yourself up that it will be much more difficult than a toe loop. It is a priori more expensive and the most difficult. So far I have tried lutz only once or twice so I cannot really talk about it. I have been jumping toe loop for a season so I already know how I feel. With the lutz I go and do not understand what awaits me.
And if you compare toe loop and salchow?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Also toe loop, because salchow, in principle, is not my best jump. The toe loop is more comfortable. But when I tried the quadruple salchow in the summer, it was more convenient to do it. Probably it’s possible for me to learn salchow, but I don’t know where to find so much courage. And my only problem is courage. I’ve thought recently that I have been jumping triples for 15 years. Apparently, my body has already developed its own system and doesn’t take it very well when I take a step aside.
Are there any plans to complicate the content?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: It is planned, but it is not yet clear what it will be. It’s necessary to rest and get in shape in the summer in order to understand the pre-season state, with what content to go. But of course I need to complicate my content. While we are working on new programs and lutz.
At the 2020 Russian Nationals, you tried to jump a quadruple toe loop in a free program.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I understood that I have a good shape, even if I try toe loop and do it with a fall, as it happened, then I will be able to continue the program, albeit imperfectly. I also understood that the top-three are very strong and this is a good start to understand what it is like to skate a program with a quadruple toe loop. We did not miss this opportunity. Then I started jumping toe loop three weeks before the Nationals, and it was more or less prepared.
Does this experience help now?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: This experience is very important for me, therefore, perhaps we will consider this option with one quadruple. Let’s see which one it will be, probably, still a toe loop. Everything will depend on the off-season.
What about the programs that you will skate in the new season?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I almost have my free program. I can just say that I really like it, it will be something really mine. When you hear the music, you’ll understand.
And the short one?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I like the choice of the free program so much that it seems to me that Alexei Nikolaevich will choose the short one better. When he proposes options, then I will think, because for now I want to focus on the free. I have no specific thoughts for the short one.
What is the most memorable program for you?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: From fresh memories, this is the Charleston, which I skated in the 2018/19 season and a little bit in the 2019/20 season. I don’t remember exactly what emotions I had from the free program in 2015, but I know that it was really fun for me. Skating these programs I enjoyed every moment.
Maybe you want something in the style of your exhibition program Shallow?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, there are also such thoughts. I also really like this gala program, it is so light. Every time it’s a pleasure to skate it. Maybe we will use the style for the programs.
Nikita Mikhailov choreographed your free program. How did you start working with him?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: He did programs for the guys from our group – Zhenya Semenenko, Sonya Samodurova. The programs turned out quite good. Therefore, when in the middle of the season, Aleksei Nikolayevich and I agreed that we needed to change the program, Nikita seemed a good option, fresh. Young and full of energy choreographer. We met, found a common language, it is easy for us to work with each other. The process goes faster when two people are on the same wave.
Which of your costumes evoked the most vivid emotions?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: One of my favorites – I felt confident wearing it – black dress with mesh and rhinestones for the tango by Piazzolla in the 2011/12 season, when I just entered the senior level. I then used it until the last. I skated any gala program in this dress.
Have you had any incidents with the costumes?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: There was a moment that my tights torn before going on the ice – they were super thin. There were huge hols on both legs. There were practically no tights left. I was almost going to withdraw from the competitions. I didn’t have time to change my dress, tights and skates. As a result, I came on the ice in shock, not understanding at all what was happening. But no one noticed, because the tights were very thin, even on photos it was not visible. I shouldn’t have worried so much about this.
Worried that this would affect the judges’ scores, or is it purely a woman’s thing?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: In general, I don’t worry about runs in my stocking or something else, I think that this is normal. There were just big holes, and everything was not in the back, but in the front. And my starting pose was right in front of the judges. It was unaesthetic. I think anyone in my situation would panic.
Any plans for next season’s costumes?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Not yet. We decide together: I say my idea, as I see, my designer draws sketches. Then, according to the sketch, we choose what the majority like.
How long does the process take from choosing a design to wearing a costume at competitions?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: On average, if you take it with a normal margin (but I really don’t like working liek that, I like it to be short on time when you need to do everything quickly), you can make a dress in a week. To make it calmly – it’s two weeks, even two dresses can be made. And sometimes it’s possible to do it in two day offs, if it’s really so urgent. Our figure skating designers do their best.
There was no desire to skate a pure classic of figure skating? Carmen, for example.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “Carmen” has been already used so much times, but there is so much good music that you can choose something more interesting, in my opinion. I had the idea to skate “Carmen” when I was at the beginning of my journey, when I was 16-17 years old. Now every year there is “Carmen”, and in the Olympic season – not one or two, so I don’t really want to take it.
But I had a classic last season – Spartacus. I tried it, realized that it was high level, beautiful, it was a good program, I loved it madly. But I felt that it was not really me. Since I love enjoying my skating, I need music that energizes me, which gives me lots of emotions.
In terms of complication, this season you had a combination with an euler. What was it like mastering it?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Compared to the beginning of the season, when I was just trying to jump it at competitions, it was not easy. The combination itself does not require strong physical efforts, it is not so difficult. It’s just that I have never done such and did not understand where to put my arms and legs. My euler is not entirely correct. And then, when I worked on it a little bit, it became much easier, and we put it into the second half. Combination with axel and toe loop takes more strength, but at least I clearly know what needs to be done there. And to do axel-euler-salchow well I need one hundred percent concentration. And plus this season I had a lutz-toe loop in a free program. For the first time in my entire career, I have both lutz-toe loop and two triple axels, I think this is generally a victory. I’m more happy for that.
Who suggested learning the combination?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Alexei Nikolaevich said that it would cost more. In the summer, we worked a lot on combination with euler. If we also work on it this summer, then it will not be so difficult for me and it won’t take so much concentration.
Have you tried any other combinations? For example, with a loop.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I have never done combinations with loop, I think here time has been lost a little. My technique is not quite suitable. In my position it’s not very reasonable to learn combinations with loop now, because I need programs, spins, quads and eulers … I will not have time to deal with loop combinations.
And just for yourself?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I can, but there are so many things for myself – both lutz, and programs, and axel, and toe loops – there is simply not enough strength to try something else. As for me it impossible to jump for two hours, because the legs are very tired.
In general, do you have a desire to try some element someday?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Now I have it with a lutz, once it was with a toe loop, with an axel. I will not go for it until I want to and my eyes are burning with some idea. What I planned, everything worked out for me. I also thought about the flip-toe loop a few years ago that I could not do it, but no, I can do all 3-3. Every year I find something new in myself that I did not know how to do before. It is very important for me.
Do you see yourself as a coach in the future?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I don’t know. Maybe a coach or somewhere in the media. But I can definitely see myself as a coach for some time. We’ll see. I would be interested to try.
But your future will definitely be associated with figure skating.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Maybe. I have already invested most of my life in figure skating. There is no way to get rid of it (laughs).
How much more do you plan to skate?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: How many years my body will allow me. Now I want to go to the Olympics. Let’s see how the next season will develop.
Do you make a decision every year whether to continue skating or don’t you think about it at all?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: There is an analysis every year. Therefore, yes, I do everything without getting ahead of myself. Season – analysis. I think that it is not worth guessing, as everything can change.
You’ve been skating for a long time. Is there something that you could at 15, but can’t now?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No. I’m just making progress. Maybe at the age of 15 it was easier to skate the entire program, I’m not sure. But at 15 I was doing the same thing as now. Now I do even more.
You do great things. Don’t you feel special, because you do quads being an adult, when everyone else who also performs them is 15-16 years old?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I don’t really like to talk about it. I want to achieve something to stand out. But I try not to think about it, but to work. I just want to do even more for figure skating, for myself, in order to leave a good mark behind me and say: “That’s it. I have done everything I could, and I can’t do anything else. Now I can finish.”
Are quads good for a ladies’ single skating?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Of course, it develops. This is a sport. If you learn them from an early age, it will not be that difficult in the future. Maybe quads will be a usual thing in a few years. Complication is always right. We need to develop, move forward. It’s always interesting who is doing what this time. If you watch men’s competitions, I love watching them. It’s incredibly interesting, and it’s impossible to predict who will take which place. If women have quads, then perhaps there will be even more intrigue.
Would you like to comment figure skating?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I can try. If there are offers, I see no reason to refuse in my free time.
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