Republic of Julia: Famous unknown Lipnitskaia

Julia Lipnitskaia at Sochi Olympics

By Vladislav Luchianov

Sochi Olympics is in full swing and their premier highlights for many still are performances of the Russian figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia (in other spelling: Yulia Lipnitskaya).

On the one hand, it is surprising; on the other hand, it is quite natural.

Many media are trying to compare the youngest Olympic champion with some past or present figure skating stars but these comparisons are very subjective. Julia is Julia. She has always emphasized that she wants to be herself and she does it very successful.

She manages to be herself even after her name became known to millions around the world. She is still the same Julia even after taking the Olympic gold. She finds mistakes in her skating even when TV commentators say delightful words about her performances.

So who is she, this Julia? For fans of figure skating her name is already well known, as well as her successes at the international stage since her triumphant season of 2011/2012 in junior skating. This year she raised spectators from their seats from the very beginning of the season, starting from performances at the Finlandia Trophy and Grand Prix stage Skate Canada. But many others, those who watch the Olympics only once in four years, learned about Julia Lipnitskaia only at the Sochi Olympics.

Julia Lipnitskaia in Sochi

Many after her success were surprised and amazed by her modesty,  self-criticism and original personal closure. At the same time she willingly speaks to reporters, although does not give them a “carte blanche”. She seems to be saying: “Thank you all for your attention but it’s enough for today.” Meanwhile, she’s still a very welcoming and this causes a sincere sympathy towards this young lady.

This 15-year-old girl knows that the world fame is a very ambiguous thing. Figure skating has many examples of how this fame “burnt” athletes. That is why mistakenly understood Julia’s “closure” is a kind of “cream” for protection from the pervasive rays of glory.

Her skating has some absolutely distinctive feature – it is fascinating and it makes you forget about everything going on. It’s like a different reality. A reality that is very hard to describe, because it will be not enough to do it by using only such particular words as perfect, gorgeous, amazing, etc. I can only say that her programs again and again illuminate the memory and not going to leave it, which happens not so often.

There is another factor, which certainly causes a lot of respect for this athlete – it is her independence. She is absolutely self-made person. She never, I repeat, she never got anything without effort or as a gift of destiny.

Julia Lipnitskaia with Eteri Tutberidze

Unlike some from the “state-made” field, she never had influential patrons among the elite of the Russian skating federation. She never had special conditions for her Olympic preparation. She never got special advices from experts of sporting research institutions and she never had huge financial sources.

She was not sent to Broadway to improve acting skills and methods of impact on the audience. Moreover, she was often underestimated with points in favor of interests of those, who are usually called as influential persons in Russian skating.

Someone might ask the logical question: “Hey, Russian skating federation spares no resources for their athletes.” Yes, it is but there is one big BUT: but not for everyone. Interesting fact: Julia lives with her mother in Moscow in a modest rented apartment.

It is possible that the situation will change, as Russian President Vladimir Putin personally watched the performance of Julia in Sochi and was impressed. Moreover, until recently, he knew about the situation in the domestic figure skating only from the certain people.

Lipnitskaia’s talent has been noticed a long ago by her coach Eteri Tutberidze, who, as well as Julia, was virtually unknown compared to other Russian coaches and who, it is important to note, as well as her student, had to go through a very difficult way for asserting herself as a specialist, overcoming both ordinary and artificially created barriers. Incidentally, Eteri never feels embarrassed or confused by all those difficulties. She continues to do her work and does it a lot better than many of those who have been often seen on the headlines of Russian newspapers, magazines and television.

When Julia and her mother moved from Ekaterinburg to Moscow and her talent was noticed, her coach Eteri Tutberidze did everything possible to support Julia. Moving to a metropolis like Moscow involves solving many diverse issues.

Eteri Tutberidze and Julia Lipnitskaia

But all experienced difficulties only strengthen Julia’s will and character. In her 15 years, she is absolutely realistically looking at life. Julia is well aware that still much things of the modern figure skating are at least “strange”, that justice does not always triumphs and that not all smiling you are your true friends and admirers.

That is why the international fame, which she has deservedly received in Sochi, hardly has a chance to turn a head of Lipnitskaia. She has many different competitions ahead, including individual event at the Olympics, and there is no doubt that she’s aware that so-called public opinion is a quite changeable thing. But we can be sure that this skater is ready for anything and will fight in absolutely any conditions. After all, the most important thing for Julia is to be always very honest with herself on the ice and in life.

I daresay that all of the above gives her a very special feature as she certainly puts a piece of her life and personality to any skating performance.

Julia Lipnitskaia in her short program

That’s why it is very difficult to find the right words when at the end of the short program You Don’t Give Up on Love she draws us a heart and at the end of free skating performance to Schindler’s List she looks into the very depths of the soul of everyone. This simply can not be put into words.

And if the end of her programs brings you tears, don’t be confused with that. This means that your soul was touched by something unusually bright, kind and sincere.

Photo: official Vkontakte page of Julia Lipnitskaia

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