“When we came to Tutberidze for the second time, she said that I should fall at my feet and beg her to take us back. In the hall, in front of all parents!” Interview with Elena Kostyleva’s mother
Translation of the interview with Irina Kostyleva, a mother of figure skater Elena Kostyleva. About serious injuries in childhood and being kicked out of Tutberidze’s group.
original source: RT dd. 24th January 2024 by Vlad Zhukov
Q: It seems like the jumping championship was a real star hour for Lena? Everyone finally saw what she is capable of.
— Oh yes. Thank you so much for letting Lena participate. I just approached our methodologist and asked, “Can Lena try to enter?” She agreed. As a result, she made it to the list of participants, and I am very grateful to the federation. The only thing was that the organization was a bit strange, and we didn’t fully understand what jumps were required.
But it worked out anyway, even though we had a very busy competition schedule. She won the Moscow Cup, she won the championships. Lena’s individual competition was late at night, at 22:30, and by 8 in the morning, she was already at the “CSKA Arena” for training. So, lack of sleep, mental overload… But I am happy with how she performed. She is not fully ready physically; she hasn’t completely restored her ultra-c yet. But now we will work on that. It’s not in a rush anymore. This summer, we rushed, and Lena got injured. We were restoring the triple axel without a harness, and some vessel in her knee burst…
Q: Back then, there were reports about cartilage damage.
— No, everything is fine with the cartilage. Lena attempted the axel without a harness — it turned out to be under-rotated, and her knee twisted. There was a huge hematoma, 5×6 cm. As for the cartilage — the thing is, I don’t follow Lena’s social media, I don’t control her. She is absolutely free in that regard. The only thing is, I ask her not to talk to any men on the phone.
After that injury, she wanted to go on the ice at “Moskvich” in just three days. The hematoma had subsided a bit, the knee felt better after physiotherapy, but I stopped her. Just in case, God forbid, something happens to the same cartilage. Because of this, we initially went to Rossozh (a town and the administrative center of Rossoshansky District in Voronezh Oblast, Russia) for 3-4 weeks, gave complete rest, and overall, Lena’s summer vacation turned into 1.5 months.
During this time, the hematoma dissolved, and everything passed. Although this season for Lena is, of course, incomplete. In May of last year, before the injury, she already had three ultra-c! Clear ones, 10 out of 10 attempts in training. But we are not in a hurry; Lena has everything ahead of her.
Q: One and a half months of downtime in figure skating is like a death sentence.
— A lot indeed. Previously, she had a three-week break after leaving Eteri Tutberidze when she was injured, but for such a long period… I remember filming her on the first day on the ice after the break — she had such emotions, she was so happy. No, 1.5 months is normal for double jumps, but for quads, it’s very challenging. She is growing; this year she has grown by four centimeters, making it slightly more challenging to recover the jumps.
Q: Are you still actively involved in Elena’s training process?
— No, I don’t train her or participate. She has coaches at “Moskvich.” I only step in when we leave Moscow, for example, to Rossozh for a week, and she needs to practice. If there are no available coaches there during that time, I encourage Lena a bit to work. I don’t delve into the details of technique; I can only spot a major under-rotation. This comes from observation when you constantly watch from the boards, but it’s not enough for full training.
So, it’s a great misconception when people say I’m coaching her. I may provide some moral support. Sometimes, a child doesn’t feel like working, and that’s normal. The parent’s task, in this regard, is to feed, equip, and motivate them to hand over to the coach. That’s what I do.
Q: Has the conflict situation with “Moskvich” been resolved?
— I think so. Because Lena is their only athlete who qualified for the Russian Junior Nationals. The athletes in whom the school invested a lot showed nothing. “Moskvich” has no chances — once again, it’s represented by little Lena Kostyleva, who had only two hours of ice time and not many comments from a coach.
Until the last week, they didn’t give her anything. But when they realized that Lena was the only competitive one at this level, they had to do something. The school did very good work during this period with us, and we are very pleased. I hope it will continue at least in the next month before the Russian Junior Nationals.
Last year, there were difficulties, albeit with less harm towards Lena. I didn’t engage in this kind of blogging before, but when we first hit the ice at “Moskvich,” not knowing anyone, and Lena was already standing in the locker room after three minutes of training… At first, I thought something happened with her skates or costume. And she says, “Igor Alexandrovich (Lyutikov) kicked me out, said I’m no longer training at ‘Moskvich.’ And I thought, how could it be, she is a junior national team member after all, and she’s being treated like this? I started to fight.
When Tutberidze expelled us for the first time, I kept silent. Silently took the skates and left without any scandals. Told the coach to **** off. We took it, we left, and the same evening, we trained with Vadim Raevsky.
Q: Why didn’t you want to fight back then?
— Lena got sick at that time. Then she entered the championships at the age of 8 with a triple Lutz, competed with very strong girls — Gordeeva, Rubtsova, Titova, Dzepka. She performed well. I remember we had a very good relationship with Arseni Fedotov’s dad back then. He was also qualifying at the age of eight, but he didn’t have a lutz or flip yet. And Arseni’s dad said, “Your girl is even better than my boy.”
But apparently, the coaches didn’t like it at all because they didn’t prepare her. While Lena was ill, she didn’t skate for about ten days, she had shaky legs. Naturally, it’s impossible to go to the championships in such a condition. In the end, Lena and her dad went to skate a bit more — not in the cold ice rink Kommunarka, but in the warm rink in Lefortovo. It was important for the girl, after the illness, to have a warm ice. And since there were many coaches there, they immediately reported everything.
We recovered and returned to the ice. At that time, I bought a beautiful gift for Eteri Georgievna, as her birthday was coming soon… But we never gave it to her because we were expelled. Before the choreography, Sergei Rozanov, a coach working in Tutberidze’s group, passed by us with such an angry look — I understood everything right away. The training started, parents sat by the wall. Because everyone is afraid of Eteri Georgievna, it’s true. But she’s doing the right thing, you can’t show weakness; otherwise, people start to get cheeky. She called Lena, asked her about something for 20 minutes. Then she called me and said, “We are on different planets. You are impudent, shameless people, get out of here.”
Q: Just like that?
— Yes. They showed us a photo where Lena was working on harness with Raevsky (coach – ed.). I won’t hide, we approached him in the summer, but before Eteri Georgievna. And already in August of that year, Lena lost all her jumps. Everything she came to “Khrustalny” with — all triples, double axel — disappeared. I had to ask him again for advice on what to do because that school didn’t make any comments. Neither Rozanov nor Eteri Georgievna said anything.
Q: Rozanov is generally a strange figure.
— Well, he didn’t work with Lena at all, in any case. Sergei Viktorovich Dudakov is a fantastic coach; when there was no Rozanov and Tutberidze, he coached Lena. I don’t know why Eteri Georgievna needed Lena in that case… But, in general, I said then that we jumped, are jumping, and will keep jumping. I turned around and left.
And when we came to “Khrustalny” for the second time, Eteri Georgievna said to my husband, “Your wife should fall at my feet and beg me to take you back.” In the hall, in front of all parents! I still don’t understand why. I brought such a girl to her!
Q: Is there now a principled confrontation with Eteri Georgievna for you?
— No confrontation. I love and respect her as a great coach. I wanted Lena to train with her. I overcome myself to come to her for the second time. Although we were not at fault for being expelled.
Q: How do you react to criticism on the Internet? Many don’t like your sharp comments.
— You know, if we’re talking about the situation with yogurt, I’ll only say this — Margarita (Bazyluk) deserved it. She cleared her way in this group, removing a beautiful, talented, jumping girl. God sees everything and will put everything in its place.
Q: It seems from the outside that both Lena and you have serious ambitions in sports.
— The point is that neither I nor Lena had any ambitions in sports. Lena has weak health; we came to the rink just because the doctor advised her to breathe cold air. She’s a kind, cheerful child. The main thing is for her to be healthy.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva: “Figure skating showed me that the world is big and diverse. Of course, it became a strong motivation. I understood that to see even more I needed to work very hard and strive.”