Eteri Tutberidze: “I was trying to motivate Kamila so that she could enjoy her presence at the Olympics. I told her at that moment, ‘It’s unknown whether there will be a second Olympics.'”

Posted on 2023-11-04 • No comments yet


Translation of Eteri Tutberidze’s comment about Kamila Valieva doping case at the Olympics.

original source: Comment Show Youtube Channel

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Here’s a translation of Eteri Tutberidze’s comment regarding Kamila Valieva made in a interview with Leonid Slutsky.

Q Did you know that there was something wrong with the test at the Russian Championship?

Eteri Tutberidze: No. I know that the top three winners of the Russian Nationals must [take] a doping test, and someone else can be taken. The top three, in general, always have to do it at any competition.

My daughter Diana and Gleb became second, but they weren’t in the pool yet. They immediately received a notice that they should sign up for the pool. This is not so easy; they need to go through some authorization by a certain date in December. There was a notification that they had to authorize themselves by the 28th of December. Then, on the 4th of January, at 5 a.m., doping officers came to our door. And they came again. Before the Olympics, they had to pass three doping tests and be clean.

All the athletes who participated in the Russian Nationals had their tests done. Why was it hanging?

Q: How did you react when you found out? How did Kamila react?

Eteri Tutberidze: Let me tell you a story. I have not only girls but also pairs who competed, and a boy who skated for Georgia. We had to take a 40-minute bus ride from the Olympic Village to the training facility, then walk 10 minutes to the bus, and also do all the tests and scans, apply them so the green checkmark would work. In short, it was a very tight schedule. You don’t even have time to eat or anything.

I returned from one training session, and I had an hour before the next one. I received a call from the federation, and the voice on the other end was very stern: ‘Go to the headquarters immediately.’ I thought, ‘Am I really going to the headquarters now?’ By the time I get there, go upstairs, time will pass, and I only have an hour. I wanted to quickly drink some tea and have a snack. I said, ‘No, not now, I don’t have time.’ But I went to the headquarters, went upstairs, and the first thing I saw was Kamila sitting there, completely pale, swollen, and in tears. She was 15 years old at the time.

This is how it happened with us. I want it to happen this way — that their parents accompany them everywhere they can. I can’t take responsibility for them after the competitions. Even in the evening, after they’ve eaten, I need them to go to their rooms and rest, and I won’t accompany them. When I accompany them, as I did with Yulia Lipnitskaya, it starts to deteriorate our relationship. You begin to forbid something, and she snaps at you. It affects the training process. I don’t want to get involved in their personal lives. I want to be a coach on the ice and somewhere else. So I almost demand that the parents accompany them.

All the competitions, her mom traveled with her, and all the parents traveled with them. They were accredited in Krasnoyarsk, did the tests. I was watching something when I noticed that the training had started, and Kamila’s mom was sitting in the changing room, looking somewhat strange. She had collapsed, and I was thinking, ‘Why did she come here if she’s not even going to watch the training?’ It turned out that she had contracted a severe form of coronavirus. She was hospitalized at the Krasnoyarsk hospital and admitted to the intensive care unit. She was in a serious condition for a certain period. When I saw Kamila, I was constantly afraid to ask her about her mom’s condition. I asked quietly, but she’s so modest, and her replies were quiet. At that point, I saw her face, and my initial thought was that something was wrong with her mom, God forbid. What else could it be?

Then they started explaining to me that there had been a one-hour doping interrogation with her. What doping? Why a one-hour interrogation with a minor? All these men were present. When we sat down later, and Alexander Georgievich Gorshkov was present, it seemed like his heart was about to stop because he looked very pale. When they told us this, I didn’t understand at first what kind of drug it was, what Russian Nationals was, and all of that.

Next, they said that she urgently needed to be removed from the Olympic Village. But we were in the middle of a pandemic, and the Olympics were in a closed state. Where could she be taken? Alone? In that condition? I said, ‘Where will you take her at the age of 15?’ They replied, ‘We will find some hotel to accommodate her.’ I said, ‘No, seriously? Who will be responsible for her? How can you just take her away? No, you won’t take her anywhere. In any way, we will leave her here.’ They discussed it for some time, and they agreed to let her stay. Then I requested that we be allowed to bring her with us to the training sessions. She would be with us on the bus, somewhere in the hall when we went on the ice. Her condition worried me. It was a kind of hysteria, that’s all.

They told us, ‘Well, this is the Olympic Village, the bus, how can this be?’ I said, ‘She’s not a criminal. She’s 15 years old. Are you ready to take responsibility for her?’ There was no one willing to take responsibility for her. There were no flights; these were charter flights. The nearest one, I think, was on the 16th. We agreed that she could come to the training sessions. They told her not to step onto the ice. Okay, she wouldn’t go onto the ice. Then they placed security guards every 5 meters or so. They checked to ensure that the athlete didn’t jump over the boards and get onto the ice. I don’t know.

At that moment, I could see that Kamila in the rink wasn’t as vibrant. Stress and a lack of motivation. She had slowed down in the rink. And suddenly they said they wanted her to step onto the ice. There were media and the press there, and it was important for them too. You can train during a practice session. But at that moment, I didn’t understand if she wanted to train. I could see that we were not quite in shape in the rink. We told her, ‘Kamila, they allowed you to step onto the ice.’ I was trying to motivate her so that she could enjoy her presence at the Olympics. I told her at that moment, ‘It’s unknown whether there will be a second Olympics.’

There’s even a video where she falls, does something, approaches me, and cries on my shoulder. I said, ‘So, what’s going on?’ She said, ‘I’m skating and don’t understand why I’m here.’ That’s how it was. She didn’t understand why she was there. The media started bombarding her with questions and making fun of her. They wrote a lot, ‘How can they just leave a child, she went through the media zone alone, someone should have accompanied her.’ This is the Olympics. Coaches have accreditation for specific areas. Athletes exit the rink and immediately pass through the media zone to the dressing rooms, and we cannot go in there. This is the Olympics; everything is strict. There’s no such thing as you can go wherever you want with whomever you want.

Then, I saw a video where she had pulled her hood over her head. The next day, she said they should accompany her. They came up with something and accompanied her. On the first day, she went alone.

Then, somehow they said that she was cleared for the competition. We didn’t even understand it anymore. She wasn’t even ready. She didn’t skate at all during those days. You need to maintain your form. You are at the peak of your form. It goes down very quickly. But here, there was this stress, a lack of practice, and she didn’t do much in the rink. They cleared her for the competition, but Kamila showed me on the day of the free skate… You know, there’s an online scoreboard, and at the bottom, Kamila told me, ‘Eteri Georgievna, look.’ In large letters, it was written there that if Kamila Valieva made it to the podium, there would be no awards. I had a question, ‘Was it necessary to display this on the online scoreboard? Couldn’t you have placed it somewhere separately, informed us, or kept it as internal information? So, it was introduced somehow, they couldn’t be bothered. Seriously?’ I read that, and it shocked me. I probably wouldn’t have gone on the ice if I were in her place.

Q: But she was the leader after the short program. She skate the short program perfectly.

Eteri Tutberidze: No, she had made some mistakes. The scores were not as they should be. The free skate is a bit different.”


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