Polina Tsurskaya: `I did bring flowers to Tutberidze'

TAHbKA

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An interview with Polina Tsurskaya in sovsport.ru `I did end up bringing flowers to Tutberidze'

Q: At the end of May you announced retirement. Do you regret?
PT: Not at all. I haven't skated for 3 months, just announced it a bit later. My life is completely different now.

Q: What kind of life is it?
PT: First I was lost. The first week was great, I thought that was the definition of happiness. But then realized I can't go on without moving. So I started working with the kids on the ice. For now it's the only way for me to earn some money and well, to get out. I graduated the highschool, did my exams in advance and the uni will only start September 1st. Hence I started looking for kids to work with.

Q: How?
PT: I published an ad in several forums. When we started working on the ice the parents spotted me and asked to work with their kids as well.

Q: So on which ice do we get to see the coach Polina Tsurskaya?
PT: Wherever they ask me to work.

Q: How much does a lesson with you cost?
PT: I would tell in person. But it's an average price.

Q: Were your coaches much more expensive?
PT: I never took private lessons.

Q: Interesting, now a days the parents pay a fortunate for the additional private lessons.
PT: It's a common practice now. Things used to be different. In Omsk, where I began skating there was enough ice time as it was. Then I switched to Eteri Tutberidze. There is no such thing as an additional private lesson with a different coach in her group. Everyone works at their time. You worked hard and done your job - great, you haven't - it's your problem. But the process in `Hrustalny' rink is such that everyone gets enough ice time.

Q: Were you living on the ice?
PT: No, we had a flat 5 minutes walking. The lessons would start quite late- around 10am. I even had enough time to drop by the school and then be off to the practice. I would sometimes be slightly late, but Eteri Georgievna allowed that if it was because of the studies.
We had a warm up, then the ice time, break, warm up, ice time and cool off. At 7:30pm we would go home. Though I would go home and get some sleep during the break as well.

Q: How did you end up with Tutberidze being from Omsk?
PT: When I was 11 we had a conflict with the coach and I thought I'll be a normal school kid now. But my parents got in touch with Aleksandr Kogan and he advised to talk to Tutberidze. I was told who she was and who she raised.

Q: Yet 6 years ago she was not that famous
PT: Even back then her pupils were on the top: Polina Shelepen, Julia Lipnitskaya. Evgenia Medvedeva started flourishing. Even though I wanted to retire I was afraid to tell my parents `no': they did so much for me, were willing to move and change their lives.

Q: Do you remember your first meeting with Eteri Georgievna?
PT: We were standing next to the dressing room, the zamboni had just finished and then Eteri Georgievna came. Mom explained her who we were, the coach looked at me and said `She is a tall girl. Are you sure you want it and will be able to?'. We said `yes' and she called us on the ice.
During the first practice I showed all I could, but think Eteri Georgievna also liked that I listened to all her remarks and was fixing the mistakes on the spot. After the first practice I was told I was accepted.

Q: And the golden time began?
PT: It was indeed very cool, especially the juniors times, when we all were younger. I wouldn't say we didn't have a childhood. During the breaks we could be quite silly.

Q: Who did you like being silly with?
PT: Zhenya Medvedeva and Anna Scherbakova, who was a little kid back then. She was hardly reaching my waist. Zhenya, on the other hand, was older. She is a very interesting person, very open and was easy to contact.

Q: Who were rooting for at the Olympics? Zhenya or Alina?
PT: Team Russia!

Q: And more exactly?
PT: Zhenya. I haven't watched it live. In the morning I woke up and was afraid to look at the result. I was so upset for Zhenya and at the same time so happy for Alina, because when we were sharing the ice I saw how much she worked and how she aimed for that win. I was happy for Zhenya as well after seeing the skate and watching how emotional her skate was.

Q: Why both Alina and Zhenya were able to win at the main competitions while many, you included, never made it there? You had the same rink, the same coach, the same conditions, you worked equally hard?
PT: Guess not everyone works equally hard. Some go slightly easier on themselves, later all those `slightly' get into one big thing and pop up.

Q: Have you heard about the recent scandal because of Zagitova's programme, where Gleikhengauze was accused plagiarizing the moves?
PT: It's silly. It happens in art - you see a move and use it. We are not talking about the whole programme being stolen. It's not even on the ice! If the skaters liked some moves, why not take them? Of course had someone skated now Yagudin's `Winter' it would be wrong, but when you integrate the moves from the floor to the ice... I think it's great. They could had watched thousands of dances on that music but they picked this version - you should be proud! I don't see a problem...

Q: Describe Eteri Georgievna
PT: Demanding, goal focused, sincere

Q: Why did you leave her?
PT: Because of the injuries. It became mentally tough. Eteri Georgievna was trying to get me back into my senses. Guess she was not very soft about it and I took it wrongly. After all I was being a teenager who thinks she knows all the best. Perhaps I was being lazy, she was trying to make me do things, I hated it and was paying back.

Q: Paying back how?
PT: Verbally.

Q: Is it even possible?
PT: Guess at that moment I was too daring. They were trying to bring me back to my senses, it didn't work and I left.

Q: Are you sorry about it now?
PT: No.

Q: How did you parents take it - after all they moved to Moscow for your career and in order for you to work with Tutberidze?
PT: They were trying to talk to me, but realized: the moment when I can make my own decisions came. Besides, I was so lost that they realized their interfering wouldn't change a thing.

Q: How did you tell Eteri about leaving the group?
PT: I am mainly sorry about not thanking her when leaving. I should had came with the flowers and thank her for everything she had done for me.

Q: It's never too late.
PT: Exactly, and I did just that. The same day I announced the retirement. I meant to go there for a while, but she was never around. I was also a bit afraid and ashamed. That day I was home, chatting with the friends. Suddenly Diana - Tutberidze's daughter wrote me `Polina, Eteri is on the rink'. I jumped up and ran. The friends asked where I was going, I replied `I'll be there soon!' and run to buy the flowers.

Q: Was Eteri Georgievna surprised to see you with the flowers?
PT: She smiled and we had a very nice conversation. I had no idea what her reaction would be - may be she was hurt, perhaps she didn't want to see me. But it went really well.

Q: You stayed friends with Diana after leaving Tutberidze's group?
PT: Diana and I were always good friends and were in touch till she switched to ice dance. We would go out together a lot, I could stay overnight at her place.

Q: And Eteri Georigievna would cook dinner for you?
PT: We would cook ourselves. She usually came home much later. Once Diana left the group we saw each other much less often, but if we met during the competitions we always were glad t see each other. In April we started contacting again and realized we missed each other. So we met and spent some time together.

Q: I don't recall your leaving Tutberidze being a big deal
PT: It wasn't. Zhenya was leaving at the same time and everyone were focused on that.

Q: Were you inspired by her leaving?
PT: Not at all.

Q: You said you had a good relationship with Diana and Zhenya. Is friendship between the skaters possible?
PT: Of course it is. Maria Sotskova is my best friends. We've been friends from the Junior Olympics. I guess it's a rare for our sports, but it happens. More than that, we became friends that junior season when we were the main gold contenders - the whole year we were first and second. Of course we were rivals on the ice, but it never influenced our relationship.

Q: Tutberidze's school is often called a heartless conveyor, which produces young champions, but they disappear quite fast after breaking down either physically or mentally. What do you think about it? Are you a victim of such a conveyor?
PT: No. Well, take my first injury: it was not a stress fracture or because I was tired - it had just happened. It wasn't even on the ice - a usual jump off the ice and I landed wrong. Tore ligaments. I did not break down because I was landing the quads or spending 5 hours on the ice. It just happened, just like it could to anyone else. And why are you only talking about figure skating? Take diving. Isn't it hard on one's knees? back? yet no one is discussing it in such depth.

Q: I.e. you, a person who was inside all that do not agree?
PT: Of course professional sport has it's toll. I would never let my kids become professional athletes. But at the same time the kids who do practice do it because they want to. No one makes their parents bring them there. Everyone knows why are they on the rink, what is their goal and what are the risks. But it's their choice. If no one was willing to take a risk figure skating would had stopped from developing. It would remain the same as 30 years back. Would that be interesting?

Q: Being in the quads rink - had you ever tried a quad yourself?
PT: No, but I attempted a 3A. Mainly with the harness.

Q: Who landed the first quad you had ever seen?
PT: Sasha Trusova.

Q: How did everyone react?
PT: We all were in ave. We clapped and congratulated her.

Q: And Eteri Georgievna?
PT: She clapped as well. It doesn't happen every day. It was like an outer space. A girl! Landing a quad! So young!

Q: Did it become easier once you switched the coaches?
PT: Physically - no. I changed things and it became easier mentally. As for the rest: it's the same ice, the same off ice and you have to work equally hard. But I switched off season, when the pressure is not that high and no one does full run through. The practices were intense : new steps, entrances. But during the season the old stuff came back.

Q: Was Tarasova working with you a lot?
PT: Yes. She choreographed both programmes for me, was trying to make it to the rink before the competitions. If Elena Germanovna was away Tatiana Anatolievna was usually present on the practices. If nothing worked she always helped. Elena Germanovna could always call her and ask to get some sense into us.

Q: How would she do that?
PT: What do you think? Verbally, of course. She is an amazing shrink. She always saved us.

Q: In the end your only season in TSKA was your last season.
PT: It's not because I switched to TSKA and nothing worked. Just that I graduated the highschool and preferred the studies. I started thinking about it since the summer - I was always a decent pupil and realized: I don't want to become a coach. Law and economics on the other hand, were what I wanted.

Q: How did you figure you liked it?
PT: I always liked serious issues and professions - lawyer, prosecutor, investigations, maths, natural history. So I wanted to get accepted to the worlds economy faculty.

Q: I.e. while still skating you were able to study hard enough for your finals and do so well you were able to get accepted to such a demanded faculty?
PT: At the autumn I told my parents I needed history lessons. I worked with them for 2 months and said I had enough. I switched to natural history - it was more fun and much easier. Math was always my love. In the end I did the right subjects and went to the world economy. The official acceptance will be announced on July 11.
But never say never, perhaps I'll spend there half a year and decide to become a coach after all. Yes, I wanted to get away completely from the figure skating and never touch it again. To build a wall. But I realize for now it's the only experience I have.

Q: What do you think you'll be doing in the future?
PT: In the past I thought I'd be a good economist, but now I understand things might change quite rapidly. When I first put an ad about coaching the kids I though I'll just do it a little bit and that's it. But it sucked me in. I got offers to come here and there. So I'll spend the whole August travelling between the training camps. I was absolutely not planning that, thinking at the worst case I'll do some shows. No shows for me now.

Q: Why?
PT: I don't want to skate.
 

PRlady

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Clearly a smart young woman whose parents were more interested in having a star skater than she ever was. I'm personally sad about it because she had a unique style, but more power to her as an economist. :)
 

Michalle

Well-Known Member
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If the Russian version of Blades of Glory is ever made, I hope the flowers/no flowers thing is a major plot point.

This is a great interview and I wish her all the best. I like that she is both willing to look at herself critically and to stand up for herself and her desire to forge her own path at the same time.
 

Katesk8sgr8s

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Thank you for sharing this! Interesting read. I'm glad she was able to speak her mind and remember that she had no regrets doing so. Good luck to her in economics.
 

Jeschke

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Well spoken girl with a clear head on her shoulders. Good for her.
Still, a shame, what could have been :drama:
 

Garden Kitty

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Thank you very much for the translation. Very interesting and I wish her all the best in whatever her future holds.
 

Tinami Amori

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PRlady

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Well, Russia already has lots of fabulous lady skaters. It sure as hell needs better economists. A patriotic decision.
 

skateboy

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I'll miss Tsurskaya's skating. But I love her blunt, no-nonsense answers. These are my favorites:

Q: Why both Alina and Zhenya were able to win at the main competitions while many, you included, never made it there? You had the same rink, the same coach, the same conditions, you worked equally hard?
PT: Guess not everyone works equally hard.

Q: Why did you leave her?
PT: Because of the injuries. It became mentally tough. Eteri Georgievna was trying to get me back into my senses. Guess she was not very soft about it and I took it wrongly. After all I was being a teenager who thinks she knows all the best. Perhaps I was being lazy, she was trying to make me do things, I hated it and was paying back.

Q: Paying back how?
PT: Verbally.

Q: Is it even possible?
PT: Guess at that moment I was too daring. They were trying to bring me back to my senses, it didn't work and I left.

Q: Are you sorry about it now?
PT: No.

Q: I don't recall your leaving Tutberidze being a big deal
PT: It wasn't. Zhenya was leaving at the same time and everyone were focused on that.

Q: Were you inspired by her leaving?
PT: Not at all.

Q: What do you think you'll be doing in the future?
I'll spend the whole August travelling between the training camps. I was absolutely not planning that, thinking at the worst case I'll do some shows. No shows for me now.

Q: Why?
PT: I don't want to skate.
:D :respec:
 

rhapsody

Well-Known Member
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870
Jeez, I wonder why Eteri didn't bash Polina for not bringing her flowers after she left when she was such a biatch towards Evgenia.
 

hanca

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Jeez, I wonder why Eteri didn't bash Polina for not bringing her flowers after she left when she was such a biatch towards Evgenia.
I think Tutberidze is such a sweetheart that it may be quicker to name people who actually did bring her the flowers, rather than the long list of people who didn’t.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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What a smart young lady. Very clear on who she is, and what she wants from life. Intersting that Polina was rooting for Medvedeva. EM is bashed so much (by certain posters or poster) here that you'd think she's the devil. Yet all the girls she trained with seem to adore her.
 
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Katesk8sgr8s

New Member
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What a smart young lady. Very clear on who she is, and what she wants from life. Intersting that Polina was rooting for Medvedeva. EM is bashed so much (by certain posters or poster) here that you'd think she's the devil. Yet all the girls she trained with seem to adore her.
Good point.
 

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