Polina Shelepen interview “Ex Tutberidze’s student: Leaving sport not a tragedy”.

Tinami Amori

Well-Known Member
Polina Shelepen interview “Ex Tutberidze’s student: Leaving competitive sport was not a tragedy”.

(Very full and detailed recap of Polina’s competitive and coaching career: plenty on Tutberidze, Polina’s own training methods, techniques, quads, cost of skating, her injury, ending career, and other interesting strictly skating issues).

For “MatchTV”. By Anastasia Panina. 02-06-19

Editorial: we spoke with Polina about her competitive past and coaching future – about her work with Eteri Tutberidze, her departure, the life-time influence of her first coach, about an injury and recovery, and that the life outside of competitive sport can be a happy one.

Polina Shelepen – the first skater in the Tutberidze’s group who reached top results on the international junior level. She reached twice the GPF, and both times won a Silver medal. Gifted in terms of jumping ability, her jumps were all triples and in combinations, back then when it was not main-stream – 10 years ago.

Transferring to Seniors was a mishmash, and then Polina’s trace dissolved from competitive skating – she changed coaches and citizenship, received a common injury, which due to incorrect diagnosis and treatment, evolved into a major issues, requiring a surgery. And then at 19 years of age, her skating career abruptly ended and coaching career began.

Today Polina Shelepen is happily training children in one of the Moscow’s skating schools and holds seminars which are attended by many, including skaters from other regions. Not long ago she trained a student to perform the first quad jump.

AP: Polina, as far as I know, you started to work as a coach at the CSKA school, is that true?
Polina: It was just the time when I returned from America, after I decided to end my competitive career, and got a call from Svetalana Vladimirovna Sokolosvskaya – to find out if I really stopped skating. She asked me to come and talk. She offered me to skate in her group, to try and see if I change my mind. But at that time my decision was final. She asked me “what are your plans? I have some kids, try training them, see if you like it and if yes, then continue”. That was the right push for me. I never considered a coaching career, because I was not planning to quite at 19, but I loved it as soon as I tried. Then we stopped working together, because I went to another city to try on my own.

AP: if I am not mistaking to Angarsk?
Polina: yes, to Angarsk. I didn't work there too long. Angarsk is far from Moscow, yet I am close with my family, and it was hard for me when I was not able to be right there to help them if there was a problem. That was the main reason why I left that place.

AP: your work day now starts early – at 7 in the morning is your first lesson. How easy is this for you?
Polina: It’s not easy to wake up early, but such schedule is required so that young children can at least somehow go to school (to study).

I handle morning wake-ups differently. Sometimes after daytime trainings I have additional evening trainings and they end late, at 9-10 at night, and I don’t get enough sleep. But the important part – is to make yourself wake up in early morning and get yourself to the rink. Once I step on the ice – you’re energized and mood is happy.

AP: You have experience of being on both sides of the rink’s railing. Is it easier to do a jump yourself, or to instruct how to do it?
Polina: all kids are different: some get it quickly, and then you're thinking how long it took you to get there. And sometimes it is a difficult process, to a point where you’re ready to go out there and do it yourself. But often it seems to me it is easier to do it yourself. Same with competitions. Once I was asked what is easier, to supervise your skater, or skate yourself. When skater performs, the coach is powerless, just stands and watches. At that point you’re helpless, only hope is that you trained him well, gave him the right attitude, and that he’ll handle it.

AP: is there are common algorithm, how to set an athlete with the right attitude, or is this strictly individual?
Polina: individual. Some need seriousness, concentration. Some the opposite, all into themselves/uptight, then we talk about other issues “what your brother is up to?”, “what shall we do after this event?” – to relax. Sometimes the athlete is scared, and although I am scared too, I have to show “I am not scared, I believe in you”.

AP: do you see a difference, between finding an approach to a girl or a boy?
Polina: in my 3-year experience, it’s easier with the boys. If a boy falls, he gets up, skates up to you, and listens to you. The girls are more emotional. After a fall they may cry, get upset, and before you can criticize her, you need to pacify her. The psychological work is greater with the girls. But with the boys, they are slower learners, or so to say: they take longer to get the technique.

I like to work with both, it’s just important to remember that kids are all different. In girls I like that they are well stretched, accurate lines. There are boys who are exceptions, but on the average it’s easier to get the girls to have (in their lines/forms) visual beauty, clean and fine moves – they are naturally more flexible, softer, pay attention to details.

AP: How can one teach a child to do something you’ve never did yourself? Quad jumps for example. And how does it work overall, if a coach is a former ice dancer and yet training singles?
Polina: There are athletes who were good jumpers in the past, but it does not make them good coaches automatically. Then there are opposite examples. If you understand the jump, can see the mistakes, and can explain them, then it is not so important if you can do it yourself. I, for example, already dealt with teaching quads. At that time I watched many videos, analyzed, who did what, paid attention to various details, filmed the actual skater during practice. Together we broke down the whole process. Thanks good, all went well, and it worked. I was so happy, as if we won the Olympics, no less. And everyone around us congratulated us. This is a big step forward, and a motivation. The triples you teach all the time, but for a quad one must go through a process.

AP: How did you figure out that this boy is ready for a 4S?
Polina: it was his wish initially. I tried to postpone it as long as possible. He is not from Moscow, from another region, and overall a quad was not necessary for him at that time. But my colleagues already were telling me, that I am holding this boy back. At some point he skated up to me and said “let’s try”. I stood there, in fear, almost with my eyes closed. A quad – is a big responsibility. Doing it one can fall hard, get damaged. Strictly physically and technically he was ready, but I was not ready for a long time psychologically. I was lucky to have a pupil who was not afraid himself, and was really ready physically. You can’t make someone jump quads who is not ready, who is afraid. It must be a mutual desire (student and coach).

AP: Are the strong wish of an athlete and a lack of fear the key elements to make a quad happen?
Polina: Of course. That is exactly why it is important to talk with the athlete. Let’s say some coach wants all his students to become Olympic Champions. But we all understand - that does not happen.

A teenager has his own goals in mind, he knows approximately what he needs. You ask him “what are your goals?”. And he’ll tell you, for example, “to reach Master of Sports level, then go to college and start a business”. So why would he need a quad? One must coordinate goals with students, when they are already grown.

AP: You did study to be a Technical Specialist. Did you work in this field?
Polina: No, I did not work in judging, it’s not my cup of tea. But every coach must understand the rules; that’s why I studied it. I can’t avoid knowing how my skater will be penalized for a mistake, or rewarded for a good performance.

AP: Do you not think that today’s judging system is too harsh on the athletes? For a fall on a jump with an UR, an athlete is punished three-times: minuses in base-value, in GOE, and 1 point deduction.
Polina: When new rules came out, I was horrified. Was thinking how can it be? – so many points lost for a fall. But half a year later, almost a season, after I traveled with my skaters to competitions, and began to understand better these rule adjustments. We started to see cleaner performances. Let the content be lighter, but the skate is cleaner, so good.

For a 3-turn after landing they now give -2-3, not -3 like before, which in a 5-point system is not as punitive. Of course, if one falls from an under-rotated jump, then the marks will be low. But that is motivation to jump clean.

AP: How can one solve an under-rotation problem?
Polina: one must look at the situation. Some lack strength, which means working on leg muscles, to lift up the jump. Some have wrong technique, and that should be worked on.

AP: you study at the university at the Coaches Faculty. Does it help your work?
Polina: I learned about physiology of children, how it changes at they grow; about psychology, which plays a major role in our sports. The institute does not teach about skating techniques and elements, for that one’s personal experience is more important.

AP: you hold seasonal training camps for skaters, and allow others who are not your students to attend. What is the purpose for such events?
Polina: Such camps are primarily important for skaters in remote regions. In remote regions the coaches often lack skills, and that’s an opportunity for them to attend the camp with their skaters, and to learn. But sometimes it works in reverse – you fix a skater’s technique, set his jump right, and then he returns home and goes back to the old method. So this work was for nothing.

Such camps are also important for parents who are considering relocating to Moscow (for better training), and not sure if they should. At the camp they can test the abilities. If a skater is progressing, then it makes sense to further consider relocation.

For “my own kids” such camps are good for a change of atmosphere, to break the routine. As well, my skaters come by themselves, without parents, and it is a big plus in terms of learning independence. And of course, at such camps there is more ice time. There is time to work on strokes, jumps, spins.

AP: in the “ask.fm” you were asked which foundation you would create. You replied “foundation to save talented skaters who are lacking funds to pursue this wonderful sport”. Is figure skating a truly expensive sport?
Polina: yes. It’s not good to compare children to business, but for every parent, when they send the child into sport and expect high results, it is essentially a business project.

At first you only invest, minus revenues (at a loss), and then, if an athlete reaches results, there is a chance for a return on your investment. Then there are opportunities to not have to pay for the training, costumes and travel, but first you must invest a lot of your own money. That’s how it always was. But one must invest with the right thinking. Some parents think that a large investment is a guarantee for a good result, and invest like fanatics. In the end, the child is stressed, gets tired and loses all motivation, because he is made to practice 7 hours a day, then additional off-ice training, stretching, and skating skills classes.

AP: As a coach do you get involved in relationship between your pupils? Do you make sure there are no personal conflicts, or do you let the students handle it among themselves?
Polina: If their relation-ship do not interfere with the training process, I do not get involved. Because that’s their (off ice) lives and should not concern me. But if they, them selves, chose to get me involved, and or if there is a conflict right there during practice session, then of course, it is my duty to get involved.

AP: Is it possible to be in this sport seriously and not have dietary issues?
Polina: Possible. But two factors must overlap: a watchful coach, and a sensitive parent. Of course, the weight must be and should be monitored, but not when it passes the line of unhealthy. A child, do to age, and lack of understanding, can take a wrong path, and it must be controlled. A trust is very important from all who surround the child.

I am often criticized that I am too close with my students. But this is, first of all, logical, given our small age difference. And second, if I feel my student, I can tell immediately if something is off.

If I know nothing about the skater, how can I train him? One needs yelling/scolding, another needs to be left alone. And some have other personal issues, so if you yell he’ll just close off, and then I can lose him.

AP: Does a coach adopt the style of work from those who trained him during his sports career?
Polina: I think yes. There were already moments, when they said that I am very like Eteri Georgievna, always meaning it as a compliment.

AP: you two are even similar in looks somewhat.
Polina: yes, in looks also. I have naturally wavy hair, like Eteri Georgievna, and it was noticed even when I was a child. But most importantly, I gained from her is – the love of what you do. I believe it is one of the reasons I am good at training. I love kids very much, love ice very much, and my work in that respect is labor of love.

As long as I remember Eteri Georgievna – it never mattered how tired she was, what personal problems she dealt with, or in what health condition, she came to the rink, and on the ice she was all together. It motivated me. I want my students to see me exactly like that – full of strength and desire to train.

AP: what is the cutest gift ever given to you by a student?
Polina: they give me so much gifts, it’s hard to pick one. At home I have a display stand with their drawings, sculptures and other gifts. But I remember this one: my last birthday, which falls on the days of skating camps, one of the mothers drew a skate, and kids put on little tags with wishes – so many nice words. Also, when I was leaving Angarsk, kids gave me a toy-rabbit dressed in copy of my skating dress. I love such gifts, which remind me of my skating programmes.

AP: Speaking of your programmes. Which one was your favorite?
Polina: “Swan Lake” and “Korobuska”, probably. Not always did I manage to skate them as well as I wished, but they are still the most soul touching.

AP: Did you ever feel the psychological pressure, when you first started to show significant results?
Polina: First season, no - because there was not that much competition. And then – yes, it was hard, especially at the national competitions. The most difficult events for me always were Russian Championship, and Russian Junior Nationals. Strong competition for a chance to make the European or Junior Worlds team… all that, yes. The difficult one was my last Russian Nationals. I failed in SP, and did fairly well in the FS. Then short time after it was Russian Junior Nationals, where I skated both programmes clean. All could not understand how in just one month I could improve my form so much. And I just had to let go of the fact that yet again I did not make the Euro team.

I told my mother just before the event, that I did not want to come, there are so many girls with good jumps, I will probably be 5th or 6th again. My mother told me to try to skate clean, and let it be what it is. In the end I came in 2nd, and with Julia Lipnitskaya we went to Junior Worlds. That was fun, I did not expect it then at all.

AP: When you decided to end your career, was it a spontaneous or a well thought through decision?
Polina: It was a spontaneous decision. After I left Tutberidze, the next two years were hard for me psychologically. The puberty was in full swing, then injury, then moving to another country where I knew not a soul, not a single relative. At one point I knew, that I will not go to any competitions, because I am truly scared. Maybe I was lacking some kind of support. Maybe that someone to tell me “Polina, you need to endure it now and then all will be normal”. But what I heard in response to my wanting to quit was “Well, then go home” (coach Serov, in USA).

And then I was like “Hurray, thanks god, going home!”, but once in the airplane, I realized what I’ve done. But my concerns were not as much on how to return, but what to do next. Because my whole life was dedicated to skating, and I did not know how to anything else. To skate in shows with an injury was not an option; to start coaching – where/how to start?

So, what to do next? And here is that “big thank you” to Svetlana Vladimirovna (Sokolovskaya) that she gave me a shoulder to lean on in a difficult moment.

AP: What was your injury?
Polina: I got injured in a most stupid way, and it is particularly funny when people use it against Sokolovskaya, as if it is her fault. I fell down on a cross over after I landed a jump. Then my injury was diagnosed incorrectly. They said it was a sprain, then that it was a tear, but with all that one can still skate. And I skated for half a year, but did not compete. Then I left to skate for Israel, and ended up outside of the Russian Team.

It was the Israelis who then suggested to go for a medical evaluation. It turned out that all this time we treated the wrong issues, and since I skated with it for half a year, the complications started: the tendon was torn, the bones split and a cartilage developed. I needed a surgery. I was fine about it, surgeries in sports are not unusual, and often a month later athletes can skate. I went into surgery with a positive attitude. In the end, it took me 4 months just to learn how to walk. And only half a year later I stepped on the ice. Naturally, I never had such lengthy break in skating/training. A year after the surgery I regained back all triples. To lose a full year from practice at the age of 18-19 is a big deal.

Imagine how important is a right diagnosis? Israeli doctors told me that with a right diagnosis and treatment I would only be off the ice for 2 weeks. But as it happened, I only exacerbated the condition. Although, feeling wise I could tolerate it. But then MRI showed that principally I could not skate – the ligament is torn.

AP: What did you do while not able to skate?
Polina: Missed the ice. When you’re in sports it is your whole life, that's how stay active. And here you just lay, sit and… nothing else. First day I remember particularly well, because I did not know what to do with myself.

After the surgery we faced another problem. Due to limited mobility, I lost all my leg muscles – to a point where I could not even jump up on one leg. I had to build them up again.

AP: how did you change citizenship from Russian to Israeli?
Polina: I was first offered to skate for Israel when I was 14. My parents handled the negotiations, and I pretty much was not aware of any Israeli roots, which go back to my great-great-grandfather, I think.

It was not hard to get the citizenship, exactly because we have (there) real relatives. But at that time we refused, because I was in the middle of my first international junior season, representing Russia, and was performing well.

I remember many told me – what for do you need that Israel? But now I realize now, that if I did not switch then, I would stop skating right after the injury. Because the problem with the leg we never solved. Israeli Federation took over handling of my condition, paid for my operation and rehabilitation, for which I am very grateful. They did it right when I joined them, have not won anything for them yet, but they showed me kindness. Of course, I held an Israeli citizenship, I was not just a Russian who came – but all the same, nobody is obligated to solve my problems. This experience has taught me that in any situation something good can happen.

AP: What is the administrative process of changing a citizenship for an athlete? You go to the RFSF and file a claim… and then what?
Polina: That’s right, but first Israeli Federation and Russian Federation must engage in negotiations on this issue. First there must be an agreement on the highest level. That was not easy, since I was an active member of the Russian Team. But all was settled peacefully.

AP: Looking back, would you change anything your skating career?
Polina: Gobally, I would not change anything. Any changes in the past brought me to the changes in the future, and at present I am very happy with my life. I have work that I love, and close people by me. Only one moment is worth changing, so to say: it would be best to address my injury properly. But in general, my departure from sport is not a tragedy.

And I am glad that my time while in America was not easy. Over there people live differently, have different approach to coaching/training. It’s a valuable experience.

AP: Who did you train with in America?
Polina: With Roman Serov, he works for Israeli singles team in USA. He got himself a difficult case (me) – an adult, after an injury, first time in USA. He took me into his hands and even was able to reinstate all my triples, supported me in every way he could.

AP: You had strong athletic jumps while you were skating. Is this a natural ability, or a result of training?
Polina: I never had any special problems with jumps, so will take the liberty to assume that it is natural. But earlier as a child I also took gymnastics, and came to figure skating with push and stretch, already conditioned as an athlete.

AP: Eteri Georgievna is a strict coach. How did it affect skaters’ motivation towards practice?
Polina: For some odd reason people say that Eteri Georgievna is a strict coach, and see her as some kind of monster. I still hear it from my skaters’ parents when they learn that I trained with Tutberidze. They look at me as if I was in hell and came back alive. But every top coach, on a high level, does not exactly praises and pets his students on the head and begs them to stop sulking. In Russia there are no such coaches for sure.

No, it did not break our motivation, as we understood clearly – our coach wants us to be the best. Nobody was harsh on use because of a bad mood. If you’re scolded – there was a reason. When you love your coach, it’s not in your head that you can get upset at him for critique and scolding. If he scolds you – go and fix it, and when you get it right, there comes the praise.

When an athlete wins the competition, he receives a medal on his neck, and then nobody remembers the times when the coach was strict, yelled and scolded. Everybody remembers only what a huge effort it was behind this medal.

AP: How did you leave Eteri Georgievna?
Polina: The difficulty was due to the fact that we’ve been together for so long. But the last season was not easy in terms of our relationship. I can now explain that it was due to my maturing process then. When you’re 16-17, at home and at the rink, you think everyone is treating you unfairly (picking at you for nothing). You then think “Everybody is wrong, and I am right. Just lay off me”. We had confrontations, and I, being a hot-headed person, could sometimes walk out of the training session. I never did it before, but during the last season it was showing in my performance results: if Polina failed at an event, for sure it was because I walked out of practices just before.

Then we went to the training camp in Novogorsk, and all this continued. At one point I did not feel like arguing anymore. There was no progress anyway. The main issue was that I loved my coach so much, and could not imagine how to walk up and say “good-bye”. It was painfully difficult. I figured to treat it like removing a band-aid – just tear it off and that’s it.

I returned to my hotel room, and text my mother to come and get me out of the camp. I took some of my things with me, went to wait for my mother outside, and told the rest that I am going for a walk. Then we left. When they started to look for me, to call, to search, then I had to confess that I left for good. Many people scolded me that I left like I did, without good-bye. But to understand – I could not do it differently at that age, given the complexity of relationship, with all my love and attachment. Late I returned to Novogorsk with flowers. But it is a secured territory, and my name off the list, without a pass I could not get in. The flowers and my note were delivered to Eteri by security guards.

The transition was hard on me, and my next coach Svetlana Valdimirovna understood it, and never raised this issue. Now that I am a coach myself, I know what it is like to lose your student. Such departure is not easy, not for skaters, not for coaches. Even when a coach realizes that he has nothing else to give, and lets his student go – it is still, like giving your child to another family.

That is why it is unpleasant for me when journalists call and ask me to comment when someone in Tutberdize’s group switches. I don’t give such comments, it is unethical and wrong.

AP: Why exactly did you chose to train with Sokolvskay at CSKA?
Polina: There are not that many places in Moscow for a senior skater. There were only two options – Khrystalny (Sambo) and CSKA. Initially I came to Elena Germanovna (Bouinova) and skated with her for 1 week. But she told me she does not have much time for me, she was training Adelina Sotnikova for the 2014 Olympics. Bouinova offered me to Skolovskaya – she liked me, and was ready to take me. There was not much time to lose, Russian test skates were almost at the tip of the nose. As well the CSKA rink was closer to my house, so I stayed.

AP: Are there radical differences in the training process between Khrystalny and CSKA?
Polina: Of course, all coaches are different, but I can’t say that it was easier for me in terms of the load, at one place or the other. At CSKA for me the scheduling was better, the training sessions started later, the rest between them was longer, travel time to/from rink was shorter. I had 2 half-days off, and 1 full day off. At Khrystalny you get only 1 day off. But as far as load/pressure and frequency of programme run-throughs, it’s about the same volume as at Sambo.

AP: Attention for the audience at the arena, did it give you energy in competition?
Polina: I always loved to skate in front of the crowd. I felt it especially during the Junior Grand Prix Final in Japan. Before I came there, I could not imagine that in Japan they are such skating fans.

I came on to the ice, got into the position and see the whole arena – it is full all around. They cheer not only when you jump or spin, but clap for a simple footwork. That time I skated well, and did not even notice all the toys on the ice. When the event was over, I walked down the corridor and saw a bag with toys with my name on it. That was such a euphoria! I ran to my grand-mother, she used to accompany me then, and to Eteri Geogievna – to share the happiness.

When I talk to my students now about my own experience, I tell them all – I wish you reach a level where you can have an opportunity to skate before the Japanese audience. This is something one needs to experience and understand. If you go higher in results, then great, but at least one dose of this love must be in the life of every skater.

AP: What is your most valued award?
Polina: Probably my answer will surprise, but it is Gold from my last Universade. I went to three such events before, and all three times won Silver. This last fourth one, I did win. Besides, it was right after the Junior Worlds, almost right off the plane I went to the Universade. Even Moscow Figure Skating Federation came to me – finally, a win! Of course, I also remember two of my Silvers at the Grand Prix Finals. These medals are even visually beautiful.

AP: What is the wisest advise you ever got from Eteri Georgievna?
Polina: Oh, that’s hard (laughing). Here you can write a whole book. I will not quote here verbatim, just list the most important things I absorbed.

She taught me to be a maximalist, to judge oneself critically. In my head there is one of her phrases: “You can always be better”. Now I pass it on to my students. And still, always apply to myself.

AP: Do you follow the current competitions? Which programmes this season do you like more than some other?
Polina: Russian Nationals I did see. Europeans I did not have time for. Did look at results. Three programmes caught my eyes – Jason Brown’s SP, Kostornaya’s “Angel” and Valieva’s “Girl on a ball”.

AP: What do you think, does Alena Kostornya has a chance to win the Championship? (Russian jrs. Interview taken before the event).
Polina: There is a chance, but only if (Trus/Shcher) her rivals make mistakes, like during GPF. Without quads, she can only win if she has perfect skates and other makes mistakes. It’s unfortunate, really. But I would not want her to follow the path of 3A and quads – so she can stay intact. I want to see her more, she looks wonderful with the content she already has. Such a Russian Carolina Kostner.

AP: You practice dry-trampoline jumping. Why did you choose this sport? Does it give you physical and emotional satisfaction?
Polina: I do it less now, all my time is taken by work. My friend introduced me to the trampoline, when I quit skating, yet wanted new experiences and physical activity. The coaches liked me right away, they noticed my athletic past – in rotating. I did it for 2 years, was able to do difficult elements. But I knew, if I hurt myself, I will not be able to step on the ice. Now I attend rarely.

AP: Films, books, music. What do you like? Where do you get your strength and inspiration?
Polina: In music mostly, not a day without it. It can be any music, by the way. I rarely watch films, they take too long, and time is precious.
I like to read, and do it while traveling usually, always take a book to competitions.

AP: I noticed you marked a book you liked, “Flowers for Algernon”.
Polina: It was recommended to me. I took it with me on vacation and thought I can finish it in a week. It took me 3 days, it absorbed me. Now I am reading “Arc de Triomphe” (Remarque).

I always read a lot. Eteri Georgievna taught me that. It is very important, to always keep your self active. You can’t just come home and just do nothing – it makes you lazy. You need to be in shape. Your mind must stay engaged, even when muscles are relaxing.

Once there was a story, which I am bit embarrassed to remember. We were driving to a competition, and got stuck in a traffic jam. And Eteri Georgievna, asked me to recite some poem (from Russian school work). I did not know it, and changed the subject, and yet Eteri Georgievna recited to me many poems, by memory. I thought to my self – wow, she remembers so many of them, how does she find time..

AP: Tutberdize gives the impression of a person with ideal self-organization, strict self-discipline and a strong character.
Polina: When I started training with her, it was on a regular hockey rink. Back then we were looking all over the place to find a practice rink, trained in questionable conditions. Eteri Geogievna was fighting for us to have some ice time, even though our results were not too bad.

But when we first came to “Khrystalny” it was quite a shock. We were allocated our own dressing lockers, while before we had to change and dress in some corner, after hockey players left. Eteri Georgievna invested a lot of effort and work to make her school what it is now. She selected her team bit by bit. To endure it all, and not break, one must have a strong character.

It is so strange that many people think that I hate her, that our relationship are bad, but it is untrue. Yes, we parted, not exactly as a happy ending in a movie. But that’s life.

In 2018 I came to Sambo on business, not to specifically speak with Eteri Georgievna. But realized that the time has come to do it, it can no longer be set aside. Of course I was worried, did not know how she may react – we did not see each other for so many years. I was prepared for the worst, but all went very well. She listened to me.

AP: What was Polina Shelepen’s dreams 5 years ago?
Polina: I was 18 then…. Exactly the time when had the injury and the surgery. I wanted to walk normal, to return to ice. Nothing complicated, I would say. But that’s when I realized how much I love figure skating. Can’t do without it.

AP: what are your dreams now?
Polina: to become a good coach, to create champions. To help others to reach what I was not able to. Do you know that feeling, when you’re too old to be an athlete, and too young to be a coach? Well, looks like I am getting out of this state.
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Well-Known Member
I like how this interview isn't blind praise or hate towards Eteri but shows her from an honest student perspective. I can see much of what she is saying in Eteri's current students. This is a great interview

Tinami Amori

Well-Known Member
(and did you do the translation?).
"translate" in the current use sounds like "work done by a professional" and i am not a professional. in it's original latin meaning "to transfer" - yes.. i transferred russian text into english.

I like how this interview isn't blind praise or hate towards Eteri but shows her from an honest student perspective. I can see much of what she is saying in Eteri's current students. This is a great interview

:D Mark Twain's quote: When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.

I remember reading few years ago a more expanded version of the "poetry recital while stuck in a traffic jam" story. afaik - Tutberdize checks her students on how their school-work is going. In the car she asked Polina how is her school-work, etc., asked to recite a poem from the russian lit. course (same text book for many decades for all of us). Polina could not, Eteri gave her a lecture about school work, and said "knowledge stays with you forever", and to demonstrate recited by memory a bunch of poems one learned in school from 4th to 10th grade... :lol:
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