‘I decided to calm down’: Russian skater Tuktamysheva aiming to avoid striptease & sex headlines
Former world champion Tuktamysheva, 22, has started the season with a third-place finish at the Skate America event in October followed by another bronze medal placing at the Cup of China earlier in November.
Noticeable by their absence have so far been the headlines that accompanied Tuktamysheva’s exhibition routine choice last season, in which, dressed as an air stewardess, she stripped to her bra to the tune of Britney Spears’ Toxic.
That set off a figure-skating trend, while Tuktamysheva also set tongues wagging with some of her interviews and social media content.
This season the Russian star has toned down her exhibition routine and – for the time being at least – said her lower-key profile was part of a plan to seek less of the limelight, which she had found “draining.”
“I calmed down. That [last] season was enough,” she said in an interview with Sports.ru.
“I don’t want to constantly do provocative things. This year, maybe I'll be a little calmer. In the next – there’s already an idea about what can be done…
“I need to maximize my focus on figure skating, make every effort. This season shouldn’t go down the drain,” she added.
One particular headline-grabbing interview last season came when Tuktamysheva spoke to RT’s Russian language website, during which she claimed that the only thing better than figure skating was sex.Also on rt.com ‘The only thing better than figure skating is sex’ – Russian ‘striptease’ star Tuktamysheva (VIDEO)
The skate star suggested she wanted to shift the focus back to her skating and away from discussions on her activities off the ice.
“[The attention] drains your energy. It turns out that I need two fronts, and I want all my forces to go into one thing.
"It was fun, although I didn't do it on purpose, but [the stories] were inflated – about sex.
“It seemed I gave a good interview, but then – bam, it’s not clear where the headlines came from. I immediately felt people began to recognize me more."
Tuktamysheva added: “I still haven’t understood how to relate to this. Such a wave of recognition – for the first time, even after the World Cup, there was none.
“And I thought: ‘Do I need all this? Do I enjoy the fact that they recognize me that way, they quote me everywhere?’ I decided to calm down and focus this season on figure skating.”Also on rt.com ‘Grandmother of figure skating’: European champion on 22-year-old Elizaveta Tuktamysheva
The self-styled ‘Russian Empress’ of figure-skating, Tuktamysheva also raised eyebrows with some social media posts, including a bikini balcony shot shared by fellow figure skater Andrei Lazukin.
Tuktamysheva suggested there was no need to read too much into the photo.
"I just stood on the balcony, Andrei took a picture… It turned out naturally, and then a lot of noise appears around it.
“You think to yourself: ‘Damn, how did that happen?’”