Can anybody translate this recent interview with Eteri Tutberidze, Yulia's coach:
Can anybody translate this recent interview with Eteri Tutberidze, Yulia's coach:
A: I can't say this competition was any different from others, because even at the Grand Prix event it was important to finish no lower than in second place in order to make the GPF, or fight at least for the second place at the Russian Nationals as well, because it was the Olympic team selection. And it was the same at the European championships, because two out of the three participants of the ladies event were selected for Sochi.
At the Olympics, we didn't feel the pressure of selection. We just wanted to show the best skating, which, unfortunately, didn't happen in the individual event.
For me, the biggest surprise of the Olympics was that many people who probably never watched figure skating before, suddenly became interested in this sport. The audience, the fans, the overwhelming media attention... It was a revelation. And I wasn't ready for that.
Q: You didn't expect such a hysteria around Julia?
A: No, I didn't. It's not like Julia just appeared in figure skating world, and those weren't her first clean skates. In my opinion, she skated better at the European championships in January. But when we came back from Budapest, there wasn't nearly as much attention. And in Sochi, we didn't even think we'd get into such situation.
We planned that right after the free skate in the team event, we'd get on the plane, come back home and start working. But we had to change tickets, because Julia had to go to the medal ceremony, and the initial plan had to be changed.
Every time we get back home after the competition, we try to repeat the preparation cycle for the next event. We let go a bit, breathe, and get back to work. We planned to have a day off when we get back to Moscow, and then start. But it didn't work out. We lost time, and didn't even have proper rest.
Besides, we had some adventures at home. When we had to evacuate the girl from the back door, I had to sneak into the ice rink. Of course, it was distracting, both for me and Julia.
Q: How did it affect Julia's preparation for the individual event?
A: It would be wrong to blame anyone or to say that we couldn't prepare properly for the individual event. Technically and functionally, we were prepared even better for the individual event than for the team event. After returning to Moscow, Julia was very focused, did everything from the first try. So the reason for her unsuccessful showing in the individual event was not lack of preparation, but her psychological state.
The attention and hysteria around her were very tiring. She took very personally everything that was said about her family. She was upset because her grandmother and her relatives are not public persons, and suddenly they were put in the spotlight. Julia even called Alexander Gorshkov, the president of the figure skating federation, and asked him to protect her family from the journalists. All together, these things exhausted her, hence the mistakes in the programs.
Q: It hasn't happen to you before?
A: It happened that we came to the competition not in the top shape, and Julia saved the situation with her head. But here there wasn't that most important thing, her head wasn't in it. And not because she had to skate four times, but because of the exhaustion of her mind.
Well, now we'll know that Olympic Games are special, that they attract millions of viewers. They have this right, it's just that we weren't ready.
Q: After the victory in the team event, Julia came back to Moscow in the elated mood. How did you manage to make her switch and start preparing for the individual event?
A: We didn't get to properly enjoy the victory, there wasn't a feeling that we are the winners, here is this happiness, because there was still individual event, and we were preparing to skate well.
It's not true that was written in some papers, that our only goal was gold. I am a realist, I understood that there were Mao Asada and Yuna Kim, that Carolina Kostner could get it together. I saw at the European championships that technically she was reaching her peak. So we just wanted to show our best skates, and I knew that if Julia did it, she could fight for the top three.
As for preparation, I didn't have to motivate her, there was no euphoria. We just wanted to continue working.
Q: Did you insist that Julia skated both in the team and individual event? They say you even asked the the minister of sports for that.
A: It's not true. After the European championships I was told that in the team event Julia would skate the free, and Adelina would skate the short program, because throughout the season they were winning those segments. I thought it was fair. I even started to plan the preparation concentrating on the free program. But then there were talks that Julia would not skate in the team event, only Adelina, because the situation in ice dance was difficult, and both our ice dance teams were to skate in the team event in order to lessen the stress for Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, who were preparing to challenge for bronze.
And it was the only time that I called the federation and asked to keep Julia on the team event roster, because she earned that right. Julia placed higher in all the competitions this season, with the exception of the Russian Nationals, she was more consistent. I asked only for that, to let her participate in the team event. It wasn't even discussed how many programs she would skate. I am not the person who makes such decisions. And then they asked me: "What if Julia had to skate four programs, would she be able to?" And I said that if we don't have a choice, if the question is to be or not to be, to participate or not, of course, the answer was yes.
Now that we know how it turned out, it's obvious that it was a right decision. We won gold in team event, two medals in pairs, bronze in ice dance, Sotnikova became ladies Olympic champion. And Adelina herself admits that the fact that she was left off the team event made her angry, made her concentrate on the individual event. Otherwise, who knows what would be. Maybe the team event would also wear her off, and we wouldn't get to see her have two skates of her life.
After the competition I re-watched her skate, because I didn't properly see anything or anyone that day, and I noted that she did a really good job, she got everything together and had the best skate at exactly the time and the place. It was her best skate all around. You see, Yuna Kim didn't have that light within, while Adelina did. And Carolina did, but her program was weaker technically.
Q: This event has really put Julia to the test in terms of coping with the success. Do you think this experience has changed her?
A: I will be able to answer that in 3-4 weeks, seeing how she works during practices. But even more important is not to take home the negative experience of going out on the ice and understanding that you don't have a head for it. The most important for Julia is to learn from this experience.
Q: But she already did that. She cried when she won the Rostelecom Cup. In the GPF, when she finished second to the last in the short, she said: "What am I to do, go hang myself?" There was very little time between those two events, but we saw a different Julia.
A: As a coach, it is very important to me that my skater gets tempered. Believe me, I know many who give up even before they start skating.
These Olympic Games were difficult for Julia. It's one thing when you go on the ice and all you have to do is skate clean, it's completely different when not only you have to skate clean, but also fight for medals. Different tasks.
Q: To add to that that Lipnitskaia is an overachiever...
A: Many elite athletes are overachievers. The ones who settle for less stay behind. They simply cannot reach high places, because it's a very difficult path.
Q: What emotions prevail now: the joy of gold in the team event or the disappontment that it didn't quite work out in the individual event?
A: Now I feel only tiredness. But there different kinds of tiredness. It can be pleasant when you feel content with the work done, and it can be empty when you're just tired and there is something left unsaid. Of course, it's great that Julia won gold in the team event. But I still have a feeling that we could do more.
Q: So you gained valuable experience.
A: Women's skating is such a fine matter. We don't know what will happen in four years. In sports, Olympic cycle is a huge amount of time. And everybody knows that there are new generations of skaters. So you never can tell.
Q: Looking ahead, do you plan to add difficulty to Julia's programs?
A: I don't think we're going to try quads anytime soon. Mao Asada includes triple axel in the planned content, but it doesn't always work. At this moment, Julia's main goal is to skate clean. What next? If she wants, of course we'll try quads, why not. She has good rotation, enough height on triple toeloop.
But most important thing is not to rush things, not to break an athlete. You have to remember that after the first jump there are six more, plus spins, step sequences, program presentation. You have to show emotions, to lighten, not to tighten up, working for technical mark.
Q: The season is not yet over for you. How are you going to prepare for the world championships in March?
A: It's the most difficult now, because first Julia needs to rejuvenate. We went through something similar last year, and it wasn't easy. It took a lot of time and effort. Now there isn't much time left until the world championships, which worries me, but we'll see.
Q: Are the gold medals in the team event and in the individual event of the same value for you?
A: When people started to congratulate, calling Julia an Olympic champion, it was difficult to believe. Team event is a new discipline, and every innovation needs time to sink in. Maybe the next generation of skaters will get accustomed to it, but now many, including me, operate with the old terms.
But I can admit I was more nervous about the team event. Julia's results in the individual event were, of course, disappointing for me. In the team event, we were afraid to let the others down. Imagine, how can you afford to skate poorly when you have Volosozhar/Trankov, Plushenko, other skaters behind you. Zhenya didn't just came back and skated in his forth Olympics for bronze medal. It was important to live up to expectations, to not be the weakest link. And Julia passed that test.
Last edited by quiqie; 02-26-2014 at 12:28 PM.
Thanks for the translation, qiuqie!
Interesting. Her coach sounds very thoughtful.
Thanks a lot!
Thank you for the translation. Good interview. She seems to have a good perspective on things.
It's awful that Julia had to worry about her family being under siege from journalists. I saw one of her tweets about the media efforts to find her father. I cannot imagine what that would do to your head, especially when you're only 15.
Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club
Thanks a lot ffor translating quiqie!
Interresting read, Lipnitskaya seems to be well looked after, her coach seems to have good priorities, she has hopes and dreams but is down to earth at the same time.
Too bad that they weren't prepared for the olympic crazyness, and that it derailed them. It should have been the Russian Federation job to both prepare and shelter them, while organizing the logistics, instead of having coach and student fight reporters.
Does her coach really think she has enough height on her triple toeloop or any of her jumps? I do sympathize with all the pressure she felt after the team event. It's almost as if Yulia helped build the momentum/hype required for Adelina's win to happen. However, I still can't get over how she was gifted 70 in PCS for a pretty lackluster LP performance.
Wow. That's so messed up.. I'm sure the girl has enough issues without the media digging up her long lost father, which is incredibly sad.
Nice interview. Sounds like a good coach.
I dont' know much about Julia... what is the story with the father?
I think her dad left the family before she was even born so she doesn't know him at all.
She does so many things so very well. Why not focus on all those good things shes does and the few things she should improve?
I agree with barbk. Her coach sounds very thoughtful indeed. Julia is fortunate.
Thanks for the translation!
I read that Julia's dad "went into the army and never came home" which could he read as he died or that he used his service as an excuse to abandon his family. Apparently, it was the latter. I remember reading that a Brazilian TV station tried to find Amodio's birth parents and it was very difficult for him. That is awful. What are they talking about in reference to people saying stuff about her grandmother and relatives? Like they wanted interview or they were actually saying things about her family?
Thanks for the translation!
There's something about Tutberidze I really like.
As for Julia, I'd rather she get bigger skating, a better axel technique, a true lutz and held her moves longer before a quad. It'll be interesting to watch her develop