But just for a week
On the occasion of the 2018 Russian Test Skates, Evgenia Medvedeva, the Olympic silver medalist, came back to Russia for the first time since she had left her coach Eteri Tutberidze and the country to train in Canada with Brian Orser.
On September 5, 2018, the Russian figure skater together with her new Canadian coach arrived in Moscow to present their new program for the season. On September 8, skaters of the Russian team demonstrated their short programs in Novogorks behind closed doors which have always been a standard practice, while on September 9, the organizers held an event open to the public. As reported by the Figure Skating Federation of Russia, all available tickets were sold out, and approximately 6,200 people came to watch long programs. After stories about a discord between Evgenia Medvedeva and her former coach Eteri Tutberidze, following Alina Zagitova’s triumph at the Olympic Games in South Korea, and a certain amount of negativity against her move to Canada spread out in social media, these Russian Open Skates not only tested her new technique obtained with Brian Orser but were also psychologically important for her to move on. And in her interview after the long program, when she was extensively cheered on by the audience, the Russian skater shared her positive feelings of being and performing “at home.” Evgenia Medvedeva felt that people in Russia “were waiting for her,” and she enjoyed this fact a lot. She also admitted that the decision to go to Canada was one of the hardest in her life.
“I am Russian and will, most probably, never get used to a Canadian culture.”
Meantime, another Canadian coach and friend of Brian Orser, Douglas Haw, in his recent comments on the 2018 Russian Test Skates for The Skating Lesson YouTube channel revealed some details of the conflict between Evgenia Medvedeva and Eteri Tutberidze. According to him, the Russian coach told her pupil that her athletic career was over after the Olympics. At the same time, he mentioned that the Russian skater and her new Canadian coach “definitely got along well,” and that Brian Orser “was very much supportive of her.” This care and encouragement were noted also by famous Russian figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova. “They have been training together for only one and a half months, but I, as well as all the others, see her advancement in gliding and basic work,” shared Tatiana Tarasova with Sport Express.
RIA-Novosti cited Brian Orser’s impressions of the skates in Russia in general and his pupil’s performance in particular. He didn’t think highly of the idea of having the Russian Test Skates open to the public, as this format put additional pressure upon athletes. However, he seemed content with the week spent in Russia except for Evgenia Medvedeva’s presentation of her long program. He also remained positive about this experience.