Under new coach, Yevgenia Medvedeva to make season debut at Autumn Classic

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TORONTO – Phase two of Yevgenia Medvedeva’s competitive skating career begins this week, with a long road ahead.

Medvedeva, 18, who moved to Toronto to train under coach Brian Orser in June, knows she is at the very beginning of what she expects to be a four-year project to become a changed and improved skater before the 2022 Olympics.

Yet the publicity and heated reaction on social media generated by her coaching change from Eteri Tutberidze in Moscow to Orser was so enormous that people will be closely watching her competitive debut under the new coaching team at the Autumn Classic International, a Challenger Series event Thursday to Saturday in nearby Oakville, Ont. The event will stream live on Skate Canada’s Dailymotion page.

The reigning Olympic silver medalist and two-time world champion is trying to keep it all in perspective.

“Every competition is special and important to me, so I am trying to do my best every time,” she said.

During an interview Monday at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, Medvedeva said she was not concerned about the possibility that critics are undoubtedly ready to pounce if her performances are less than her best, no matter how premature such a rush to judgment would be.

“People always are judging so fast. Always,” she said. “That’s ok. I just don’t pay attention to it.”

Orser and his coaching team already have made changes in some of her jumps and in her stroking. But such changes take time to become new habits.

“We did a lot of work already,” Medvedeva said. “It’s one percent of the work (we will do), but some of the change is already visible.”

Medvedeva, believed to be the first star Russian skater to train outside her homeland with a non-Russian coach, performed her new programs 10 days ago in Moscow at the Russian test skates, which was not a judged competition. The short program was closed to the public but the free skate drew a crowd of some 10,000 to the Megasport Arena.

Her next scheduled competition is to be her season debut on the Grand Prix Series at Skate Canada Oct. 25-28 in Laval, Quebec.

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