“Veteran” places: what awaits Medvedev, Zagitov and Tuktamyshev

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Six months ago, figure skaters Alina Zagitova, Evgenia Medvedeva and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who had previously won the World Cup, seemed no longer quite competitive. Zagitova, after the sixth place in the Grand Prix finals, decided to take a break, Medvedeva was unable to enter the free program of the Russian Championship, Tuktamysheva took fourth place, significantly behind Kostornaya, Shcherbakova and Trusova. After that it was impossible to get rid of the feeling that the impressive advantage of the young trio would allow him to skate through all the rivals for at least one more season.

However, every subsequent event in 2020 refuted this hypothesis. Now Zagitova, Medvedeva, and Tuktamysheva do not seem to be statistics at all, they really have a chance to return to the race for the national team. Perhaps Elizaveta and Eugenia will be able to do this even more likely.

In my opinion, Tuktamysheva, Medvedeva and Zagitova were not excluded from the fight for medals in the most important starts of the season, – said the 1994 Olympic champion Alexei Urmanov in a conversation with Izvestia. – There is no doubt about it. If you asked Tatyana Anatolyevna Tarasova such a question, she would tell you a couple of gentle ones.

It is already known that the Grand Prix in figure skating will start in October, and the test skates of the Russian national team will begin in September.

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva

World Cup Winner 2015, European Champion 2015

Prospects: solid

Tuktamysheva already last season became the first senior figure skater in history (over 20 years old) who succeeded in a quadruple sheepskin coat, but in competitive conditions at the Russian Championship, the attempt was unsuccessful. At the training camp in Kislovodsk, the 23-year-old ward of Alexei Mishin is already trying salchow. This means that there is definitely progress in technology. Elizaveta was separated from Trusova by 20 points at the last major tournament, and her opponent could lose them in the transition and adaptation to the style of Evgeni Plushenko. The 2015 world champion is supported by the fact that she stayed away from the coronavirus and transfer scrapes, and a few weeks ago she even graduated with honors from the university.


Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

There are practically no arguments against her – except that there are risks of switching Mishin’s attention to Mikhail Kolyada who came to the group and traditionally low points for artistic components.

– Lisa has a great coach. Eteri Tutberidze is rather an excellent organizer, and Mishin is a genius, – said the honored coach of Russia Lyudmila Velikova. – I’m not afraid of this word. He pulls out the kind of people that everyone else abandons after a few workouts. If we talk about Tuktamysheva, then she is a very good skater. In jumping, Lisa may well compete with the young trio in the new season. Mishin won’t just give up, it’s obvious.

Evgenia Medvedeva

Two-time world champion (2016, 2017), twice silver medalist of the Olympic Games-2018

Prospects: available

On August 6, Evgenia Medvedeva took part in the first public event after returning to Moscow – she held a training session as part of the federal project “Sport is the Norm of Life”, of which she is now an ambassador. The figure skater told reporters that the programs were ready, and cooperation with Tatyana Tarasova was going on productively.

For Medvedev – her activity during the pandemic. The athlete did not sit at home, but went from Canada to Japan and managed to visit local skating rinks. The two-time world champion put the programs before anyone else, trained more, and now she is the main star of CSKA, which took Brian Orser’s ward. This is an impressive starting data in conditions when many rivals are “sausage”.

Evgenia Medevedeva

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

But without technical progress, attempts to make quadruple or at least pure cascades from triple Medvedeva, it will be difficult to cling to the top three. Much will depend on where she decides to spend the season: in Canada, because of the list of participants, you can win the Grand Prix stage, but in Russia the competition is higher.

It seems to me that Zhenya experienced more stress than Alina Zagitova. Change the coach, country of residence, work system. She showed psychological stability. On the other hand, the shift is growing. I would not want to say that Zhenya is not able to fight them. But the results of the last season say that it will be very, very difficult for her to qualify for medals of major starts., – said three-time Olympic champion Irina Rodnina in an interview with Izvestia.

Alina Zagitova

Olympic champion – 2018, winner of the 2019 World Cup, European champion – 2018

Outlook: hazy

August is outside, but it is still unclear whether the Olympic champion will take part in the starts. She cheerfully returned to Novogorsk at the beginning of June, trained, but then switched to the Unified State Exam, golf, and according to the latest data, she is now recovering from an illness.

The outflow of skaters from Eteri Tutberidze definitely plays into the hands of Alina, whom the coach will cherish as the gold of the party. Surely the judges will be loyal to her and to the Tutberidze group as a whole – judging by the fact that the federation does not meet Plushenko and does not register Kostornaya’s transition. But the absence of quads raises doubts about the claims to the national team, nothing is known about the physical condition and motivation of the athlete… Over the current summer, Zagitova’s coaches have not posted a single video of her ice classes or work on programs, and this is alarming.

Alina Zagitova

Photo: Izvestia / Dmitry Korotaev

If you want to know my opinion, then I doubt that she will return, – said Irina Rodnina. – I understand that now all her fans will scold me 150 times... I saw how hard it was for Alina the last full season. Especially the 2019 World Cup, which she won with a ruptured aorta. The whole team worked for her. Whether she will be able to repeat all this is a big question.

The open test skates of the Russian national figure skating team will be held on September 12-13 in Moscow.

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