Figure skater Elizaveta Tuktamysheva showed a new short program at the test skates of the Russian national team. She also admitted that she does not want to deceive journalists and cannot yet unequivocally answer the question of whether she will perform fully this season. The correspondent discusses the drama of the figure skater, who, in the 17th year of her career, faces a difficult personal choice.
The fact that 26-year-old Lisa has problems with motivation became clear back in the summer. She performed in ice shows, skated at training camps with Alexei Mishin’s group, but was in no hurry to create new programs. In principle, it was possible to go into the season with the old ones, but Lisa was not attracted to this option – there was no impulse at all. Out of compromise and lack of time, it was decided to update the short and leave the free.
At these performances, Tuktamysheva became, perhaps, the only one who, in her choice of music, did not dance from the bench, imitating the normality of what was happening, but started from the context. The context is: nothing to lose, nothing to gain. All we have left is ourselves. Only our thoughts and feelings about ourselves are valuable, and not what they think about us. So, at the suggestion of director Ilya Averbukh, Lisa came up with the underground little-known song “Sky” by the Sounduk group. In Russian with a text-prayer to heaven – the apogee of isolation of our sport today.
Never before have any of the top skaters been allowed to take on such topics. The program must be understandable to a wide audience – from Japanese to Americans. And even in demonstration numbers it was possible to use only something Russian export – like “Black Eyes” and “Kalinka”. So in this sense, “Sky” is a real breakthrough. Lisa lived every line, every word. This was some new understanding of the cliche “he doesn’t ride, but lives.”
A separate interesting solution is a dress. Black and white with written lines from a song – like a soul from which words break out. “I can’t understand everything,” “Don’t be afraid of anything,” “I don’t feel like heaven without him.” And the red ribbon that Lisa takes out at the end from somewhere behind the gate.
“The red ribbon at the end is a symbol of hope, which is no longer there. I take it out of my soul, flying to my beloved in the sky. I decided to end it in such a way that she still went to him, because there is no hope, and she decided to end it with me,” said Lisa.
Her performance was not like a competitive performance with jumps and spins, but like a performance by a modern artist, which is based on extreme reflection. To the point of causing pain to yourself. Plus, Lisa became, in fact, the only one who openly admitted her doubts about continuing her career. And her career, for a minute, is already 16 years old. Tuktamysheva's first Russian championship came in 2006, when Evgeni Plushenko had just become an Olympic champion.
They stay in figure skating for so long for two reasons. Partly because of the unwillingness to let go of the usual way of life and look for oneself in life after sports. First of all, because of love. Just don’t think that this love is an altruistic desire to devote yourself to a square box full of ice with plastic sides, and so that no one will ever see you, beautiful.
Figure skating is not a monastery that attracts people seeking solitude and humility. This is a sport for bright, self-confident, stubborn and even vain people who value world recognition and success most of all. Global is the key word. Without international tournaments, we are all just stewing within our own pot. Without salt, pepper and bay leaf. And since there is now no hope that in the more or less foreseeable future something will change for the better, few experienced and adult athletes will be ready to slurp unleavened soup for a long time. Tuktamysheva was the first to dare to say this.
Several years ago Lisa said with bitter irony that a little girl was killed in her. This concerned the qualifying tournament for the 2019 World Cup, which she lost to Evgenia Medvedeva by pennies. In fact, that “girl” survived. She smiled, dusted herself off and then gave it all she had, becoming one of the most successful figure skaters of the next two years.
The “girl” was not killed by her third failure to qualify for the Olympics. She had enough strength to resist, perhaps because she knew that she would definitely have one more chance.
But now, for the second season in a row and who knows how much longer, she does not have the opportunity to compete on the international stage , something inside Lisa is really dying. That symbolic girl from the past – a 9-year-old little girl from Glazov in a rattling train carriage to St. Petersburg and back – turns pale and disappears into memory.
But where are we without you, Lisa?