Morisi Kvitelashvili: “I had such mixed feelings after women’s FP that I cried. Tutberidze asked me “Why are you crying? Sad about your 10th place?” Even then she didn’t stop joking, holding on.”
Morisi Kvitelashvili summed up the results of the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing, spoke about the strength of his coach Eteri Tutberidze, and also spoke about the situation with the doping scandal around Kamila Valieva.
source: matchtv.ru dd. 23d February 2022 by Vlad Zhukov
Let’s start with the main one. Why do they call you “Morisi Kvitelashvili” even though we all call you Moris?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: (Laughs.) That’s how it written in the Georgian passport. In Russian – Moris. Apparently, Georgian grammar, that’s why they put it that way. Although many Georgians say that this is a mistake. Maybe a mistake. But in competitions they call me “Morisi”.
Have you tried to change it somehow?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: I asked the federation, they had to apply, but I don’t know if they did. When I first started skating for Georgia, then I asked. But now I’m used to it, and it’s fine.
What is the Olympics? Here we are now sitting on the stands of the Capital Indoor Stadium. Describe how you feel about it?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: You know, I’ll probably say this – like it’s not a really large-scale event. It’s a pity that there are these restrictions, everyone in masks, few spectators, the atmosphere could be much better. But in any case, it’s good that the competitions were held, and not canceled or rescheduled, as it was with the Summer Olympics. It would be unpleasant. I’m glad to be here.
Yesterday I went watch short track, all the skaters went to watch the final. I even have a video where I shoot the men’s final of 5000 meters and I even unwittingly used some bad words there. I scream, yell, such a drive – it’s cool to watch.
Didn’t it seem to you that the short track is sometimes more popular here than figure skating?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: It’s hard to say … Many competitions are over, people came to see, maybe that’s the reason. There was even more excitement in Pyeongchang, Koreans are short track fans. Here, too, Korean fans screamed the loudest.
Korean was amazing. She was last or sixth, and at the very end she just takes three pushes and overtakes everyone, especially in the outer circle. Very strong! She also set an Olympic record in the semi-finals.
Excellent gliding, “skating skills”?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yes, you need to adopt the technique in figure skating (laughs).
Speaking about Georgia, there is an opinion that it is more difficult to represent small federations in terms of their lack of international power. Have you faced it?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yes, but, probably, you just need to earn your points. For example Javier Fernandez, how he started, and then what he achieved. I believe in it. You need to be a strong athlete, have a strong content and skate clean, then there will be no regret that you did not do everything. You have to go a certain way before you are appreciated.
For example Nastya Gubanova. She skates great…
Morisi Kvitelashvili: One word – rating. But it seems for me that Nastya everything is still ahead.
Doesn’t it feel like this Olympics has become a bit of a farce towards the end, because the focus has shifted from the competitions to what’s around the ice?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Can not say anything. I do not even know.
But how do you feel, do you follow it, this hype?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: What hype?
Well, in particular, Kamila’s story.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: I don’t know how to answer this question. Not in my competence to discuss it. But if we talk about me… You know, I perceive this story with anxiety. I wish that everything be resolved in the best way for everyone and everyone will be satisfied with the result. Because it’s really hard.
Speaking about you and the result at the Olympics. Are you generally satisfied?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: In general, yes, but I could have skated the free program better, have more clean landings. In principle, the competitions have passed long ago, and I don’t even remember some details. But I understand that I could have done better, because I was very well prepared.
It is a pity that in the free program it was not possible to do everything that I wanted. Well, when the jumps began to fail, I began to look for myself during the program. I tried to calculate everything on each element in order to score more points somewhere else. Combination at the beginning of the program was 4-2, then I went to 4-3 to close the combination with a triple toe loop. I began to pick up speed on a flip – euler – salchow, but I didn’t gain enough and got into a trace.
So you had the same problem as Yuzuru Hanyu?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yeah. I just made a three turn step and I felt that I had lost control. As a result, I hurried – I didn’t control it and made a double jump instead of a triple one. But I didn’t lose my head and continued to skate.
All the same, I could have been scored more, better … I always have the feeling that I didn’t finish something somewhere. Therefore, we need to work further.
Was it something wrong with the ice?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: No, no, everything was fine. Just in any case, some traces remain after the other guys. At any time you can enter either someone else’s or even your own trace. It very often happens to me, by the way, that I get into my own traces. I make the same movements along the trajectory and get there.
What happens when you get into a trace? If you compare it with the sensations from ordinary life.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: It’s like you slipped and try to catch your balance somehow, although, in fact, you are already falling. And to fight to restore the balance at least somehow. Because in such a state you still able to pull out a triple jump, but on the quadruples everything is lost. If you throw the body back on a triple jump, it’s real to land it. On the quadruple, there is more speed, more rotation – the body tilts even more. So, most likely, there will be either a fall or a strong step out.
You say that there is always a feeling that “something could have been done better”. I have a feeling that this is a common problem for all single skaters of the Russian school.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yes, I think it’s true. It seems to me that this is a kind of setting laid down since childhood – to do everything well, on maximum. So such, you know, strange perfectionists turns out.
Isn’t it the same for the others?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: I do not know. Maybe guys from other countries have a different attitude to sports… Everyone has different mentalities. Perhaps this is the problem.
At the same time, for some reason, it happens that it is our guys who have a problem to skate both programs clean. Usually we “fail” at least one.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: You know, sometimes it happens because you really want it too much. Or you are afraid to make mistakes. And when you start to be afraid, mistakes, on the contrary, show up. Perhaps there is a lack of relaxation.
That is, the phrase that we go to competitions like to war is true?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yes. Not everyone manages to take it easier. But in general, even the strongest make mistakes, and we see it.
It seems to me that only Mark Kondratiuk does not have such things now.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: He just knows how to switch. I’m sure he was worried before stepping on the ice. Nobody wants to let the team down and skate badly. I’ve talked with the guys, with Vova Litvintsev for example. He told me: “Oh, I’m so nervous.” I ask him why. And he: “I want to skate well.”
Everyone wants to show their best. It’s just that someone can abstract from it, but someone can’t.
Maybe we should try to catch this state of relaxation?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: But how? Imagine that you have, for example, an important exam, and you are also nervous about it. And those who, for example, defend their diploma, also get nervous. It just happens to be a little different.
Some people can handle it, some can’t. I went to the Olympics without worrying at all. In the team event I was very nervous, but in the individual – not at all. Maybe the atmosphere was…
Do you mean a small number of viewers?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yes. This affects the overall impression. The audience really charge you a lot, and you draw some kind of energy from them. And here…
I remember – last year I performed in Holland at the Challenge Cup. We also had a “bubble” there according to the “ice-hotel” scheme. We arrive at the rink, stand before a six-minute warm-up when they announce the participants. They call me – and the response like this (makes two quiet claps). One or two and that’s all.
Also the competitions started early… There is no atmosphere. It’s like you’re in training. I even talked to the judges about this, they say, we would gladly clap, but according to the rules we can’t (laughs). And here it was about the same here.
The men’s competitions at the Olympics ended a long time ago, but you ended up staying until the gala. What were you doing during this time?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: In general, I wanted to go to the mountains – to see skiing or something like that. But it takes three hours to get there. In principle, the organizers tried to diversify leisure somehow. When we checked in, we were told to download the application – you can play in it, answer “Olympic” questions, and for this you are given a box of badges.
In Pyeongchang, there was about the same application. Well, and they gave similar badges … But there, each badge had to be “earned” – there was a map of the village, and a notification was displayed to you: “Come to this zone, complete the task and you will receive a third of the badge as a reward.” Then you monitor this application further to earn the rest of the parts. Such entertainment for those who sit in the village.
There is also a recreational center – billiards, ping-pong, table football. There are a lot of VR glasses here. There are shooting games – you put on glasses and play. I tried to play them and go through the textures in these glasses – the brains, to be honest, were in full swing (laughs).
You said before that you could end your career twice. One of these “times” – before moving to Eteri Tutberidze. What was there anyway?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: In fact, we just did not understand what to do and where to go. I went to school for two weeks, and then my parents asked me if I even wanted to continue skating or not. They said that there was an option to try to work with Eteri Georgievna. I said with tears in my eyes: “I want!” (Laughs.) And I still skate.
It so happened that my friend, with whom I started skating in childhood, trained with her at that moment. We asked her and in the end decided – we must try.
Why is Eteri Georgievna worse at working with guys? In fact, you are the only one who has reached a high level with her.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: There are many factors. Some people lack patience. Someone strength…
Do you need a lot of strength and patience to work with Eteri Georgievna?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Certainly. Although in general, to do figure skating, you need a lot of patience and strength. Of course, sometimes it’s not easy with Eteri Georgievna. But over time, you get used to this regime.
What kind of person is she? I think you, like no one else in her group, can answer this question.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: She is a strong person. I see how she hides her strong emotions, restrains herself in many moments. I will give an example of this – women’s free program here in Beijing. I watched the girls in the arena, and I was insanely hurt and offended by the situation with Kamila (Valieva). But at the same time, I am very happy for Anya (Shcherbakova) and Sasha (Trusova) that everything worked out for them.
I had such mixed emotions that I broke down and cried. And when I went downstairs to the guys, I met Eteri Georgievna. Imagine how difficult is this moment for her, and for all the guys in general! But even then she did not stop joking, holding on. She told me: “Why are you crying? Sad for your 10th place? (Laughs.) I laughed right away, said: “Well, yes, of course.”
This is her strength, I think. She knows how to get positive energy even from some difficult moments. And keep your face. Few people can do that.
Let’s talk about you now. 26 years old, Pyeongchang has passed. Beijing too. What’s next?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: World Championships. I’ll go there.
Okay, what next?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Shows.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: I’ll think … I’m tired of training, of course. And I’m tired of performing. But at the same time, only now I’m starting to feel that I can. I got that kind of feeling right now.
I have things to do outside of sports. There are ideas, plans. But it’s too early for that. I think at the end of the season it will be necessary to go rest, restore mentally and physically. And then either into the new season, or … I will think.
The decision will be difficult, I can say for sure. But you know what I’ve been thinking lately? Now we have an excellent team in Georgia, we can even get to the World Team Trophy according to the rating and show ourselves well there. This is also an opportunity – personal, career, financial. I will really have to think.
After last year’s World Championship in Stockholm, I looked at the lists, and there we were only two people from Georgia, and we were in tenth place, the first six got to the World Team Trophy. And now we perform in each discipline. Maybe we will be able to get there.
In general, I like to skate. Although sometimes it’s already hard … I understand that the level of younger guys is much higher than what I can show. Maybe some strength will appear, I will learn other quads …
Have you tried?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yes, I tried flip, but so far it didn’t work.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: I have an unclear edge on it, so I don’t put it into programs at all, so as not to risk it again.
Can you explain what is the problem with these wrong edges? How do they appear?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: The legs are crooked (laughs). In general, it has been like this since childhood. For someone flip is easier, for others lutz, and someone can do both. Probably it’s real to correct the edge, but very difficult.
Have you already thought about what will happen after the sport?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Yes, you know, my health and age still allow me to perform. It’s more a matter of desire, but sometimes I have, sometimes I don’t.
And so … I think you can perform in shows, coach. But first you need to close this last page in sports. So to speak, to finish your diary of a skater.
But are you ready for coaching?
Morisi Kvitelashvili: Certainly. I’ve already worked as a coach. Even went to another country instead of rest. I coached in Switzerland, once in Georgia. It is a pity that we do not have the proper conditions for the development of figure skating. Although we are doing a great job of raising our sport in Georgia now. They cheer for us a lot.
I would also like to thank the Georgian Federation, the Ministry of Sports and the National Olympic Committee for supporting us. But it would be nice if a skating rink was built at least in the capital. And better – a few throughout the country, so that the sport develops and competitions or shows can be held. We have great conditions! Many foreigners told me: “We will come to Georgia with pleasure, we really want to.” But where to perform? Hopefully, over time, we will come to this.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “Of course, it’s very cool to perform on the Olympic ice, but it seems to me there are bigger and cooler things in life that you can wish and dream about.”