The relationship between Russian figure skater Yevgenia Medvedeva and now former coach Eteri Tutberidze has turned icy, with the coach intimating Medvedeva wanted 15-year-old training partner Alina Zagitova kept in the junior division last season and held out of the PyeongChang Olympics.
Medvedeva announced Monday she will be coached by Brian Orser. More on that here.
Zagitova and Medvedeva went one-two in PyeongChang, with Zagitova rising in the two months before the Winter Games to supplant the returning-from-injury Medvedeva, who had won the previous two world titles and gone undefeated for two years.
Zagitova, in her first senior international season, became the second-youngest Olympic singles champion after Tara Lipinski.
Tutberidze, who coached both skaters, shared a conversation she had with Medvedeva in PyeongChang in this Russian TV interview.
“There was this really childish phrase: ‘Couldn’t you have kept Alina in the juniors for one more year?’” Tutberidze said, according to an Associated Press translation. “I said … we have to give everyone the same chance.”
Medvedeva declined to comment on the exchange later Monday, according to R-Sport. An image was shown on the broadcast of Tutberidze’s text messages to Medvedeva that went unreturned.
“Rumors had been circulating, of course, and I had been writing [Medvedeva] by that time, but I hadn’t received any answers to my texts, and she wasn’t answering my phone calls,” Tutberidze said, according to a TASS translation. “That’s why I realized [Medvedeva] had left us when I heard it on Channel One news.”
Medvedeva, now 18, started training under Tutberidze at age 7. She became world junior champion in 2015 and world senior champion in 2016 and 2017.
She went undefeated for more than two years — the longest streak in women’s singles since Katarina Witt in the 1980s — and looked primed for Olympic gold in PyeongChang before being sidelined by a foot injury last fall.
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