Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “Mishin shouted “Goddess!” several times after my performances”
Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. About publicity, friendship in sports and her coach.
source: iz.ru dd.6th May 2021 by Anastasiya Pletneva and Anastasiya Ratskevich
In the past few months, you have had many different events. What is the most memorable for you?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: If you take one of those that are not related to figure skating, then it was “Evening Urgant” (Russian evening show – ed.), I wanted to go there for a long time. I was told that, most likely, after the World Team Trophy, I would be invited there. When I returned from Japan, I found myself in that amazing atmosphere, there were a lot of emotions. Everything as I imagined.
Did you prepare for the shooting somehow?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: In my life, usually it goes the way it goes. I don’t like to prepare in advance. I came, my friend was there. We sat in the dressing room, chatted, then we started filming.
Was you nervous?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I just enjoyed what was happening. I thought it would be much more difficult, but there was such a pleasant and cheerful atmosphere. I felt comfortable.
What is the brightest moment for you this season?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: The most striking thing is still connected with the competitions: victory at the Grand Prix and second place at the World Championships. There were such strong emotions that in ordinary life it would be difficult to find something more emotional, just as bright and happy.
Could you imagine yourself doing pairs or ice dance?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: You can imagine everything, but agree on it … You could try in the “Ice Age”, but of course it is also scary to skate in a pair, with an inexperienced, beginner skater. While it’s interesting, I’m always open for new experiments.
Which partner would you skate with?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Nikita Katsalapov is an amazing skater. I think he is one of the best dancers. But ice dance is very difficult, a completely different discipline, it seems to me. And among the pair skaters, Max Trankov is one of the best. We even did some lifts on the show with Max, so I’m not so scared with him.
Who is easier for you to communicate with – ice dancers, pair skaters, singles?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: In general, it makes no difference, the main thing is just to get along, to make it fun. Discipline doesn’t matter at all.
And if to talk about gender?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I have different friends – both men and women. There are usually more male friends at competitions. It’s just more fun with them and you can laugh. But there are also female friends – one of them is my best friend Zhenya Tarasova.
What do you generally value in men?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I appreciate the sense of humor, intelligence and kindness. These qualities are very important to me.
With such a busy schedule: training, projects, filming and so on, how often do you go on dates?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Now my life is more about “skating”: projects, interviews. But I’m ok with it. I go on dates very rare. Almost never. I dated Andrei (Lazukin, figure skater of Mishin’s group. – ed). And it all started with friendship, so going on dates was already irrelevant. There was no candy-bouquet period – and I am ok with it, it’s more important how you feel next to a person. I have no memorable dates. It’s more pleasant for me to just go to a restaurant, to chat – is this considered a date? (Laughs.)
How do you feel about publications about yourself in the media?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Calmly. They began to write about me a long time ago, it’s a matter of habit, so I’m okay with it. If you say everything correctly, then there will be no surprises.
Do you often read about yourself?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No. I read more about others than about myself.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: About ladies’ and men single skating, about pairs. I have friends everywhere. So I’m interested in all disciplines. If there are any interviews, even with coaches. It is interesting to hear someone else’s opinion.
Are you often called as an expert?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I do not express an expert opinion. That’s not for me. There are already enough experts.
Does this benefit figure skating?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Any articles always popularize the sport. The more opinions and interviews, the more people read and follow this sport. This is more of a plus.
Did quadruple jumps affect you and your health?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Not yet. I don’t jump that often. And there are not so many opportunities to work them, since in the season everything goes to the programs. The first time, when you learn a quadruple, the feeling on the axel is lost. I had this when I was working on a toe loop, which went well. Triple axel and quadruple toe loop – almost the same turns, but fundamentally two different jumps. Now I tried the quadruple lutz – on the triple it feels different. This all is very much felt. I feel it with every part of my body.
Have you celebrated your success at the World Championships?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Not. There was no such opportunity. But we are going to when we’ll have a well-deserved rest.
In general, it is customary for skaters to celebrate? As do football and hockey players?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Well, yes. But we hadn’t this at the World Championships, since pairs and men were still to compete the next day. It’s easier for hockey players – they won, and they don’t have gala the next day (laughs). And we have gala, and you cannot well celebrate a victory or a good performance, since you need to show yourself. And then usually late in the evening or early in the morning you have a plane. This season there was no opportunity to celebrate at all.
Is gala even necessary?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, this is definitely a plus. There you can do what you cannot do at competitions. Show different images, fool around or do something interesting. That’s cool. No need to remove it. Some people like gala even more. I love it. Speaking of the mood, there is more freedom here. You are not worried and looking forward to it.
Plus, you give more emotionally. In competition, there is a strong concentration on the elements. Therefore, it is not so possible to reveal the artistic image on the first two jumps. And you still need to keep track of the elements. And at the gala you can do anything – and no one will tell you anything.
Do you have plans to do a new gala program?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, there is, but I don’t know which one yet. I want to do different program, because I already had sexy one. Now we need to show the other side. I want something funny. But maybe femininity will prevail. We’ll see.
Betina Popova can help you (Elizaveta’s friend, a former Russian figure skater who performed in ice dances and choregraphed bright gala programs herself. – ed).
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Sure Betina can help, she is super creative and open to new things. I watch her work, and it’s always very interesting, she tries to do it outside the box.
Have your friends or relatives advised you any artistic images?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No, the family does not interfere with figure skating. Grandmother can tell her expert opinion: whether she liked or did not like the program (smiles). Or say: “What kind of music is this? I don’t understand it. But you skated very nicely” (laughs). I told her: “Well, thanks.”
What did your family tell you after the Worlds in Stockholm?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Zhenya, my sister, wrote that they were all crying. Well, that’s all. Later my mother texted, asked when I would be home to meet me (laughs).
Is family support important for you or do you abstract from everything?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I try to abstract from everything. My family does not call me until the end of the competitions. I come, I can write something a couple of times. But then I disconnect from the outside world and immerse in a competitive atmosphere.
How do you relax between programs?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Time usually passes very quickly. You go to dinner, take a shower, lie in the bathroom, watch the TV series – and it’s already evening. Like all normal people: a TV series, a movie, a book of some kind. Everyone is relaxing like this, I think.
Do you rewatch your performances? Old or recent ones?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No, I don’t rewatch the old ones. I watch performances right after. It rarely happens that I have a nostalgic mood and decide to watch the old videos. Watching old ones is sentimental. You will not discover anything new there, and skate better now. And if you want to see better skating – watch the current one (smiles). And since I like to benefit from the process, sometimes I watch the others, best skaters to learn something for myself. Men, mostly.
What do you feel when you watch your performances with mistakes?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: If I watch with someone, I can say: here I was thinking about this, here I have done almost nothing. As they choreographed – so I do. Maybe I’m not finishing something in my emotions. But in general, at competitions I try to skate as in training. But there are no comments or thoughts.
Were there any phrases by Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin after your performance that you remember? “Goddess!” or “Look how you skated, how they applauded you”?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I can never remember any words. After the performance, there is always a lot of emotions and everything that will come later does not really fit in my head. I think it’s okay. Alexey Nikolaevich shouted “Goddess!” several times after the performances. He has phrases. But when you come from the ice after performance, what the coach says … You nod to him, so tired that you just want to take off your skates, sit down and watch the scores.
Is Mishin restrained or maybe emotional?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: In life, he rarely shows aggression or anger, it is difficult to unsettle him, as he has a lot of experience, more than 50 years, which I really like (laughs). His calmness is transferred to me. He is more serious than emotional – it touches.
What kind of environment do you have in your group?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Nice, calm. We all communicate. We have very different ages. Me, Andrei [Lazukin], Sonya [Samodurova], Gleb [Lutfullin] we communicate more with each other. Zhenya [Semenenko] now communicates more with Misha [Kolyada]. We communicate, but I can’t say that every Saturday we all go to the cinema together. The atmosphere is friendly.
Didn’t the fact that you went to the Worlds help?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: The fact that we went – not really, since we rarely saw each other, everyone has their own schedule. I just came to cheer for the boys in the free program, as I have already skated. At competitions, you meet with someone very rarely, if it is not your best friend.
There was probably time at the World Team Trophy. For all activities, scenes …
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: We thought up the scenes after Zhenya and Misha performances, yes. We have a very friendly atmosphere. But we have different interests.
Do you have all friends from the world of figure skating?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I have only one, my best friend is not from the world of figure skating. She watches everything, cheers for me very much. I cannot say that she is far from it. Many people with whom I start to communicate, also start to watch skating, to cheer and to make their husbands also interested. It’s funny.
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