Sport connects the two countries
Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva left her coach Eteri Tutberidze, whom she had worked with for 11 years and had gone with through the Olympics, to live in Canada and work with the Canadian coach Brian Orser.
Rumours about a discord between the Russian coach and the Olympic silver medalist appeared after the 15-year-old Alina Zagitova beat Medvedeva for Olympic gold. According to Tutberidze, the 18-year-old skater was disappointed that the coach hadn’t kept Zagitova in juniors to let Medvedeva win the Olympic Games in South Korea. The whole uncertainty resolved with the skater’s official statement about her decision to move to Toronto, submitted to the Figure Skating Federation of Russia on May 7, 2018. At the same time, she stated that while working in Canada, she would continue to represent Russia. The relocation didn’t take long, and Medvedeva had her first day of training with the new coach and new training partners at Toronto Cricket Skating & Curling Club on June 18.
While a certain difference of opinion is heard from Medvedeva’s former coach who claims that Brian Orser challenged Tutberidze having doubted her other young pupil Trusova, the Russian former competitive figure skater, Evgeni Plushenko, predicted that either Zagitova or Medvedeva would leave Eteri. The whole situation reminded him of his own story with Alexei Yagudin who had decided to leave their common coach Alexei Mishin in 1998 due to the two skaters’ famous rivalry.
“It is sport, and we need to choose what we need for the result. If she feels comfortable to train in Canada with Brian Orser who is a great coach […], then why not?”
The 1988 Olympic champion in figure skating, Brian Boitano, from the United States, who highly evaluated both technical and emotional sides of Medvedeva’s figure skating in his interview for the Olympic Channel, believes that she will benefit from her move to Canada. He explains that athletes are under pressure in their own countries due to the attention they get, while they can enjoy anonymity in other countries and focus on themselves. Despite the fact that Boitano won gold against Brian Orser in Calgary in 1988, he thinks much about his former competitor calling him “the best of the best.”