Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “Russian Nationals is the most psychologically difficult competition for me. Even the World Championships is easier.”
Interview with Elizaveta Tuktamysheva about the upcoming Russian Nationals.
source: matchtv.ru dd. 14th December 2021, by Anastasiia Panina
The next Russian Nationals will be your fourteenth. Of all those who competed then, only you remained the active athlete. Do you remember that very first championships in St. Petersburg?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Yes, I remember it well. It was a significant event – the first time at such a major competitions. I remember how nervous I was then. I remember the whole atmosphere. The hotel where we stayed, the draw. I probably don’t remember other Russian Nationals as well as this one. I really liked it so much, because I was the youngest, and it was always interesting for me to talk and communicate with other people, with older girls. I felt my “smallness” (laughs). It was very cool. And I haven’t even forgotten the competitions itself. This is an important and memorable event for my life.
You were only twelve then. Are Nationals perceived as stress at this age or as a holiday?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: No, after all it’s stress. Even in childhood. You are still worried and afraid. But in general, with age, when understand yourself better, the competition is easier and have more drive. The main thing is to catch this wave, to switch attention from your fears and to look at the situation from the other side – that it’s interesting to compete.
You said that you always loved to communicate with people who older than you. I also remember a story from your childhood, how you came to the skating rink following older friends from the camp. Has socializing with your elders influenced you in terms of development, maturity, confidence?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Only experience adds confidence, any communication won’t help here, unfortunately. But in development it helped a lot, because you can’t talk about many topics with your peers. I was never interested in playing with dolls, but I liked to run somewhere, communicate. And when I realized that there is a choice, naturally, communication with those who are 6 years older than me was more interesting for me. This affected my faster growing up – both communication with elders, and my trips without parents at a fairly early age.
Speaking of travel. Before you finally move to St. Petersburg, you traveled with Svetlana Veretennikova to Alexei Mishin’s training camp for several years. Every 2 weeks by train. 27 hours there, 27 hours back. What did you do?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: It was easier to go back, because after the training camp in St. Petersburg I was very tired. The load was stronger both emotionally and physically. Half of the way I just slept. And so … I read some sagas like “Twilight”, which then fascinated me very much (smiles), plus at some point I got a computer, and I learned how to download movies there. I also had a Nokia phone then, the very first one, and there was a ball game on it. I used to play this ball all the time (laughs). The beauty of those phones was that they kept charging for three days or even a week. In general, I listened to music, read and enjoyed the fact that I did not need to run anywhere and do something. I liked it.
In one of your first interviews, dated back in 2008, I read that you named Sasha Cohen and Mao Asada as your skating idols …
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: These were some of those names that I knew (laughs). I didn’t want to embarrass myself and just decided to choose someone I knew myself and who was in the public eye. No offense, but I have no idols and never had. It was a youthful delusion. It’s also funny, because Alexei Nikolaevich was present at that interview, and when I said about Mao Asada and Sasha Cohen, he shook his head like that (laughs).
You once told me that when Alexei Nikolaevich sent you Billie Eilish’s music for the program, you were shocked by how fashionable your coach was. Do you remember any other moments when he surprised?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I was always surprised how much he feels his athletes. If I come in a bad mood and do not feel well, he immediately understands it. He’s very perceptive. Sometimes our thoughts coincide in training, we equally plan some unusual scenarios – for example, when we decide to do something else, not according to the usual schedule. Alexei Nikolaevich comes up to me and says: let’s try something today. And I answer: I just wanted to offer you the same thing.
It seemed to me, is quite difficult to remove conservatism from a person, especially a very adult. And therefore, the most surprising is that he’s ready to perceive all bold and modern ideas and he does it with unexpectedly vivid emotions. It’s great that I have such a coach.
Do you remember what did you spend the first and second prize money on?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I started to get the most significant prize money when I began to go to the senior Grand Prix. And I received the amount for two first places – almost a million of rubles. With this money, I bought myself the newest MacBook Air. The most memorable gift for yourself! By the way, it worked for me for about ten years.
The investment was successful. How much did it cost then?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I think it was something about 127 thousand. And the rest of the money my mother and I just put in a piggy bank.
At what age did you become independent in terms of everyday life? Clean up, cook, wash things – that’s all.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Quite recently, actually. When you live alone, you need to do all this yourself, and this motivates.
When we lived with a coach (Svetlana Veretennikova – ed), we didn’t have much things, a certain regime was observed. Everything was in order. I didn’t even think about how it all works, the coach helped.
When my family and I moved to St. Petersburg, I started to clean my room, but all the same, washing, ironing, cooking – it was all on my mother.
You drive a car with pleasure. What kind of driver are you?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I drive quite correctly, I don’t violate rules, but I really like to get to the place as quickly as possible, sometimes because of this I pass the yellow light, having assessed the situation, of course.
There is no such thing that I constantly play “checkers”, but if there is an opportunity to move in a line that goes faster, I will do that 100%.
What kind of music is playing in your car?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Radio Hermitage, my favorite.
Is there any special song that energizes and makes you feel the coolest?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: At first I listened to rock, I like it in the car more than rap – as if it is more suitable for travel. And as for songs … “Gangsta’s paradise” is a very good option. At the sunset “Californication” is the theme. In general, usually I just turn on my favorite tracks, and there are remixes and very driving songs. But the need for such a mood from music is rare, because I drive the car mostly twice a day – in the morning before training, when you just need to start living this day, and in the evening after training – then I want calm.
Was you very upset because of the cancellation of the Grand Prix Final, where it was so difficult to qualify?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: Let’s just say that this is not the competition, because of the cancellation of which one should be very disappointed. There are more important competitions, and if they were canceled, I would be much more upset. So I took this news calmly. It was not unexpected, because in 4-5 days all these conversations began, and I gradually began to prepare myself for the fact that this would happen. Plus I was pretty tired and found positive things in cancelation. I thought that everything should be so.
Almost simultaneously with the cancellation of the Final, news came that the ISU Congress will consider raising the minimum age for athletes. What do you think about it?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I think that for me as an active athlete, it would be not right to comment on such topics. The International Skating Union will make a decision which it considers right.
When I, not an athlete, think about the Russian Nationals in women’s single skating, I get scared. And you?
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: I try not to think, but such thoughts still get in my head. For sure it’s exciting. That is, I understand that it will be tough. As always at the Russian Nationals, however – for me this is the most psychologically difficult competition. Grand Prix, Challengers, test rentals – it’s all much easier. Even the World Championships easier than the Russian Nationals (laughs).
What can I do? I am already trying to find such phrases and thoughts that will help me to cope with my nerves.
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