Tuktamisheva, Sotnikova may bring us to the times of Yagudin and Plushenko

By Vladislav Luchianov
Photo: courtesy of Elizaveta Tuktamisheva, Adelina Sotnikova

Russian figure skaters Elizaveta Tuktamisheva and Adelina Sotnikova can get us back in the time of the uncompromising struggle between two high-level athletes. Such a competition we observed in men’s skating during the best times of Alexei Yagudin and Evgeni Plushenko.

Now the time has come to the ladies. There are many similarities between the struggle of two legendary men’s singles and between these junior girls. Also, this is notable before their performances at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Korea this week.

Yagudin and Plushenko competed with each other practically in all competitions – from the National championships to the Olympics. For them, every performance was the struggle not only with other competitors, but also between themselves.

Tuktamisheva and Sotnikova compete with each other in the same style. To see it, enough just to look at past series of the Junior Grand Prix, in which their struggle reached its peak in the Final. Sotnikova have won in Beijing with 169.81 points, and Tuktamisheva ranked second with 160.87 points.

The same story was repeated at the Russian nationals. And again, Sotnikova ranked first, scored a total of 197.44 points. Tuktamisheva remained third, but also with not a small number of points – 180.71.

“I was shocked by my high results!” said Adelina after the championships to the Russian media. Although after the not very successful short program, where she lost few points to Alena Leonova, self-critical figure skater in her own words was very angry at herself.

Tuktamisheva and Sotnikova have completely different style of skating. Alexei Mishin, the coach of Plushenko and Elizaveta, has always been a supporter of a more athletic figure skating. Elena Vodorezova, the coach of Sotnikova, presents a different school of skating, which is more focused on artistic approach but at the same time not at the expense of high technique.

It is also interesting that in the trainings of Sotnikova a very active part takes Tatiana Tarasova, Yagudin’s coach. “Mrs. Tarasova is actively involved in my trainings, but this does not mean that she always praises me,” said Adelina with a smile.

Both young skaters, who have called wunderkinds, have in their arsenal cascades of very difficult jumps and combinations thereof. Tuktamisheva at a fairly high level performs a combination of triple Lutz – triple Toe, triple Axel (with a half turns) and all the other triple jumps.

“I evaluate my level as very good but, of course, there is always a lot of work to improve my skating,” says Elizaveta modestly. Tuktamisheva completely devoted herself to trainings. “I have forgotten for a long time about usual life, we have to sacrifice something.” she added.

Sotnikova also has a strong “army” of jumps’ combination such as triple Lutz – triple Riedberger and triple Salchow – triple Riedberger. Living in metropolis like Moscow, she said that school teachers know about her sports achievements, but not so much. Her main rival lives in a small town Glazov (Republic of Udmurtia, autonomous district of Russia) and in her school she is a real star.

There is no doubt that at the world junior championships in Korea, the struggle of these two girls will continue with renewed vigor. Tuktamisheva will make every effort to take revenge for the Junior Grand Prix Final and National Championships. Elena Vodorezova’s student will try again to show that she is the first in this duel.

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