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‘I’m smiling more since I left’: Figure skating star Kostornaia reveals ‘infuriating’ music row led to split from coach Tutberidze

‘I’m smiling more since I left’: Figure skating star Kostornaia reveals ‘infuriating’ music row led to split from coach Tutberidze
Reigning European figure skating champion Alena Kostornaia has revealed the reasons behind her decision to leave famed coach Eteri Tutberidze, admitting that she felt the atmosphere inside the training camp was far from healthy.

The 17-year-old, whose transfer to Evgeni Plushenko's academy made headlines in Russia and abroad, said that she had misunderstandings with the coaching staff which led to her leaving Tutberidze's team.

"I had a problem with music for my short program," she explained. "I was told that the song which I had offered was not good.

"But I was really infuriated several days later after learning that another girl from our team would skate to that music. I decided to leave before the new season because I didn't like the atmosphere in Sambo-70.

"Would it be easier to restore technical content if I was still training with Tutberidze? But maybe I should have left, because I've started smiling more often since that," she added.

Kostornaia has won every major title in women's skating last season, including the ISU Grand Prix final. But she has been struggling to revive her signature element – a triple axel which helped her to outscore the rest of her rivals.

The exceptional skater took part in Rostelecom Cup in November, where she finished second behind Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

Kostornaia was expected to take part in the national championship but was forced to withdraw after contracting Covid-19 soon after the Grand Prix event in Moscow.

She has also withdrawn from the upcoming jumping tournament, saying that she "has nothing to show there" - making it clear that she still hasn't restored the triple axel.

Having missed the national selection, the skater is at risk of being left out of the national squad to represent Russia at the ISU World Championship in Stockholm in March.

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