Alena Kostornaia Interview | Page 3 | Golden Skate

Alena Kostornaia Interview


Power without conscience is a savage weapon
Mar 3, 2015
Aliona gave a very long, very frank interview. Are you seriously trying to enforce a new rule banning the content of her interviews from her fan fest now?

No, you're right. Let's continue to comment on too-small dresses instead. That's what being a fan is all about, right?

Quoting the exchange for reference:

No disrespect intended. She looked lovely


Power without conscience is a savage weapon
Mar 3, 2015
Your comment was fine, I only added it for context. The reply, on the other hand...
I am grandmother age so take things in the spirit intended.. we all in this FF love and support Aliona and wish her well .. that said, well said and point taken .. keep things civil and respectful

She is absolutely wonderful isn’t she!!🌹


Power without conscience is a savage weapon
Mar 3, 2015
OMG with a kid and a dog
Doesn’t get any sweeter ❤️❤️

Alex Fedorov

Nov 12, 2021
Translation of the next fragment - until 34:45

A: Mom is the person who for the last three years has simply shouted to me from behind the edge: “This is only the fifth flip-toe loop, but you need to do ten!” Here they are sitting together - Katya Samsonova and my mother. Denchik and I (the son of Ekaterina Samsonova) skate along the edge - and these cries are constantly heard: “Not that! Not this way!". But in general, Eteri Georgievna encourages parents to watch their child’s training, because [without this] the coach can tell parents one thing, the child can say something else, and it’s hard to understand who is right in this situation. And so the parent himself sees that his child does nothing in training, and then he himself shouts something to you from behind the side, threateningly waving a stick.

E: That is, in the group of Eteri Georgievna, the parents of the skaters can watch ...

A: It is not possible, it is necessary

E: Is it necessary?

A: There was a funny situation once. One of the parents (I remember who exactly, but I won’t say because it’s confidential) was sitting in the auditorium when the program was being run, and something in this program didn’t work, didn’t work, and didn’t work again. And the skater's mother is completely busy with the phone. She had the imprudence to dive into the phone. Daniil Markovich comes out and says: “Did you see what she did now?” She replies: "To be honest, no, I was busy with the phone." And he: “Why are you dive into your phone during training?!” (laughs)

Z: That is, it turns out that not only athletes are trained there, but also parents (everyone laughs).

A: It’s just that this woman is sitting there with such an expression on her face: “But it’s not me skating, but my child, and I just came here” ...

E: I gave you a child, so you take care of it!

A: She seemed to say: “This is your athlete, deal with him yourself!”. It was so funny - "How dare you use your phone during a training?!".

E: And if the parents shout something, or is it just [what is required]

Z: This, it turns out, is the desired effect ...

A: No, they're not literally screaming...

E: It’s just that there are parents who, if a child does something wrong…

Z: Well, Alena tells about this - that her mother shouted out remarks to her when she skated along the edge with Samsonov.

A: Well, no, it's like - there's more ... That is, my mother constantly controls, that's when I perform a cascade, when I slouch, and she immediately: "Slouching again!", Or something else. And my mom's favorite topic is taking my phone away from me. And in order for the phone not to be taken away, it is necessary to fulfill the norm. For example, working out a free program - seven elements must be repeated three times. In general, the skating turned out or didn’t work out - this is not the main thing, the main thing is to try to do it, not to be interrupted. I had some kind of set, it seems, five combinations with a flip, seven combinations with a flip - each time it varied. Seven cascades of lutz-toe loop, something else, a connection of lutz-toe loop + flip-toe loop. And in order not to lose the phone, all this must be done. And my mother sits, counts and writes down, so that if I say: “I did it!”, Present these notes to me and say: “That's what you did! Do you see this notebook?

Z (to Ekaterina): Do you understand that Alena's mother has a summary of the training of the Tutberidze group?

A: No, she has a summary of my training.

Z: That's right, but it's still training in the Tutberidze group. That is, this is a system - here it is, everything is recorded.

A: My...

Z: Where are these records?

A: My mom has the notes somewhere. She shows me and immediately: “Did you see?! Fix it!" - and immediately hides notes.

E: It seems to me that these records can be sold for a lot of money.

A: Well, I just know that if I’m tired somewhere, I didn’t finish something, then that’s it - now the training is over, my mother comes into the locker room - and I no longer have a phone! Until I meet the norm set for training, I will be without a phone. And if I'm not rude to anyone...

Z: Excuse me, how old were you when [she took away your phone] last time?

A: Oh my God, it was… (laughs) It was this season!

(everyone laughs)

A: Well, okay, okay, no, this season, my phone has not yet been taken away ...

Z: Well, thank God!

E: Well, in general, you were in such conditions that you won’t spoil - neither the coaches nor your mother will allow you to be lazy.

Z: What, your mom literally knows the whole training process?

A: She makes a training plan for me! Well, how - it was something like this: "In addition to the main task ..."

Z: Wait, your mom is a coach?!

A: No!

Z: What is your mother's profession?

A: Mom graduated from a construction institute.

E: Wow!

A: Probably something related to mathematics, I don't know for sure.

Z: It's serious, but it's not a sport.

E: But now she's actually a coach. She mostly takes care of you, right?

A: Yes, I became a job for my mother - my figure skating.

Z: "Your job?" - “daughter Alena” ...

A: Yes, and that's how it turned out somehow ...

Z: And she wrote what you need to do extra?

A: Yes, she told me: “Look, here you have the main task - to work out a short program in the morning, a free program in the evening, jump a few axels - I don’t need your axels, this is your business. I need these cascades, these spins and so many connections, because you have breathing problems, you can’t stand it until the end of the program.”

Z: Can you describe the connection?

A: Well, basically it's the same skate, but I remove the spins and the sequence of steps.

Z: So it's like a layout, a jump layout.

A: Seven elements, seven jumps, yes. So I went skating and...

Z: But you put the elements in those corners, in those places where it is provided by the program.

A: Yes, I follow the program, but without spins, instead of spin, I immediately accelerate and perform a jump element. But I could skate all this without axels, and my mother did not make any comments about this. But the coaches made a remark to me about this: “Why are you working out the program without axels?” And then I begin to work out the axel, fall from this axel, because of this, the connecting elements disappear and then my mother appears again: “Now everything will be!”. When the coach turns away, I miss this double axel. But there are three coaches, and they all do not turn away at once. And again there is a cry: “Kostornaya, where is the axel ?!”

Z: So you want to say that this is how your training process was built up to senior age? And even as an senior age?

A: Then I came out with the Twilight program. And when I was already performing this program, I had a problem - after the choreographic sequence, I could not complete the flip toe loop cascade - my legs did not converge. Flip-toe loop could not, but flip-oiler-salchow-lutz performed normally. Well, there, of course, the cascade was done in another place. And so my mother shouted to me: “Sequence! Sequence! Cascade!". Well, what about me? I did all the jumps in the first half, started to rest, skip the track. The coaches don’t tell me anything, because all the jumps are done, the full run of the program is only in the evening, but for now I have something like amateur performances - that’s something I do myself - well, that’s good. And then mom screams from behind the edge: “Where is the sequence?!”. This is how it all happened...

Z: Do you and your mother bring figure skating home? Did you bring it home when she was with you in training?

A: My figure skating never stopped, except for those moments when I was sleeping. So I slept everywhere.

Z: Got it! (laughs)

A: Although no, it was interrupted even when we had tutors at home. Nobody touched me while I was with them. Therefore, I either studied (and I constantly had exams, there was a school all the time, I'm constantly studying), or I slept.

E: The main thing is that it works.

A: Yes. I slept in the car, I slept at home, or I studied.

E: Well, it's bearing fruit. You, as I read...

Z: Wait - what does "your fruit" mean? What fruits?

E: Well, look - not everyone wants, for example, after the end of a sports career, to train someone or perform in show programs. Someday figure skating will end, and then Alena Kostornaya will remain - a very smart person. And I read that you want to be some kind of surgeon?

Z: A neurosurgeon. But I thought this topic was already dead.

A: No, no, of course not, what are you talking about! Since the age of eight, this has been my dream.

Z: Well, just two years ago you were actively talking about it, and then everything somehow calmed down ...

A: Yes, because now what is the point of me talking about it? They cling to my words very strongly, and I kind of ... Well, I have a dream, and let it be. Now I am studying coaching because I need such an education that in the worst case, when there is nothing else left, I could at any time become a coach who will be hired.

Z: You send your mom and...

A: No, my mother is over already

Z: Her job is done now?

A: Yes, she was actually a person who was so immersed in my sport that it was as if there was nothing around at all. And now, when I see how independent she is from my figure skating, I am glad. For example, she says, "I'm having a high school reunion." I don’t know what graduates, I don’t even know when my mother graduated from school or college, but they had meetings. And I think: "Finally!"

Either she dyes her hair, then she has some kind of massage or a gym, she does cross-fit. And she says, “Today I ran for an hour on the track at a speed of 12 kilometers per hour.” You know, this man does push-ups from the floor a hundred times! I won't risk arguing with her about anything at all! She pushes twice as much as her own weight with her legs. My mother's height is 150 cm, my height is now 158 cm. That is, my mother gets me here with her head (shows with her hand). She probably weighs a kilo more than me. She freely jumps on a pedestal almost as high as her own height!

E: I would be afraid to argue with her too!

A: And here! She loves sports and I can see how she has blossomed.

Z: Do I understand correctly that my mother, in general, was not surprised when she had such a super active child, because she herself is the same?

A: Yes, that's right.

E: Tell me, did it feel better for you - after all, when your mother controls you 24/7, then ...

A: Yes, and now I also live separately, I have my own life, and we agreed on this. At first it was perceived with hostility

Z: You mean your independence?

A: Yes, because I once - it was when I broke my arm - had a very strong quarrel with her, really very much. It got to the point that my mother did not come into my room for two weeks to do the cleaning. Usually she cleaned my room every day, and if she doesn’t do this for two weeks, this is a bad sign. And we didn't talk to her at all. We didn't even say good morning to each other. No contacts.

There was a moment when I told her: “Aunt Tanya, can I ...” - well, that is, I got to the point that I called my mother Aunt Tanya. That is all, it was a crash. And then one day I come home, people help me carry the box. She asks me: "What is it?". And I answer her: “On Monday I collect my things and move to another apartment” (this happened on Saturday). And she: “Actually, this could be discussed first.”

And then we talked to her, and in a sense, I was punished for this act. As it turned out, we had a free apartment, not far from my parents' house, and very conveniently located. Now I live there and it is very convenient for me to travel around the city. They didn't tell me about this apartment. And although I still live, of course, not for free - for the apartment I originally rented, I gave a fortune every month. And these two months, when I lost a lot of money, became my punishment, because I was not told that there was an alternative.

Then, of course, we calmly sat down, discussed everything, and in the end, when I now sometimes say to my mother: “What will happen if I move now?”, We agreed that ...

Z: "I'll move" - in the sense of returning to your parents?

A: Yes. We got out of this regime of constant control and we began to have a good relationship with my mother, and before it was just terrible (covers her face with her palms).

Z: Excuse me, how old were you then?

E: I think 18.

A: Well, yes, it was the New Year holidays, before the New Year.

E: So you already been 18 years.

A: Before the New Year, I moved

E: I congratulate you, because I think this is a very cool act, this is a step forward, and I think it will help you a lot.

Z: Do you remember how Liza Khudaiberdiyeva told how at the age of 12 or 13 her parents simply told her: "That's it - you are now responsible for yourself." And I have a question for you - when were you told that you are responsible for yourself?

E: She decided for herself!

A: No, I always had a condition, or rather, there was my mother’s favorite phrase that she uttered from the moment I turned 14: “When you turn 18, live where you want and do what you want.” And now I'm 18 - good morning, I'm 18 years old. I remember this TV show - I got a lot for it then, even before I got out of there. That's when I said that I'm responsible for myself. It was such a thrill to say it. But in the end, to tell myself that I am fully responsible for myself, for real, I was able, probably, only at the moment of my transfer to Elena Germanovna Buyanova. That's all - Eteri Georgievna told me about her decision, I called my mother and told her. In fact, I knew about this decision for a long time - even when a week had passed after the fracture of my arm.

I already knew this would happen. And I knew the options, that is, options were thought out about “what would happen if ...”. And so I call my mother and say: “Mom, everything is done!”. She answers me: “Great, now think about what you will do next.” And then the moment came when I was given complete freedom of choice, because ...

Mom told me: “Then I tried to dissuade you from going to Plushenko’s Angels, but you didn’t listen to me. And then you will know that this is completely your decision, so do everything yourself. I say: "Great!" (rubs hands). And that's it. Well, from now on, I have full responsibility.

Z: Maybe it should have been done before?

E: Well wait, okay, we'll get to that now. But now a phrase has slipped through your mind - you also seemed to make the decision on your own about the transfer from Eteri Georgievna to Plushenko's Angels, as I understand it. Mom tried to dissuade you, but you insisted and this transfer happened.

A: At that time there was actually a very big scandal inside...

E: With mom?

A: No, in general, there were such actors: me, Eteri Georgievna, my mother and the federation. And I did something ... Well, I go out on the ice, and Sasha left, and ... And it happened with us that Sasha was often praised, many set her as an example to us. And so we think: “Sasha is gone, well, maybe, at least this time we will be” ...

Z: "We will be appreciated"?

A: Yes, we expected to be appreciated. But - again, no. And we react... no, I won't say who. Well, something like: "Damn, but how so?". In general, again: "She's done well, and you ...". And I think: “Damn it, it’s already unbearable.” In general ... And then I understand that if I now go to the Angels, I will go to Sergey Alexandrovich - it's like the same school, but different directions. And I think: “No one will tell me anything there. No one will set someone as an example for me.” Well, who could I put as an example when I am the oldest. And I mean ... And I decided - that's it, I turn, they spread rot, they slander me, I'm tired of this, I want a normal attitude towards myself, as an athlete. At a minimum, so that there is no total humiliation in front of everyone.

E: Look, now I want to make a little clarification, to help you, so to speak. It's just that from my side, I think and how I feel, it's very cool when an athlete has the opportunity to talk with a coach already at a fairly adult age. And in the team of Eteri Georgievna, as I think, 15 years can be considered quite an adult age. 14.15, 16 - no?

A: No.

E: Still not?

A: If you just talk, then we talked with her in Novogorsk about it. More precisely, the issue of the transfer was no longer discussed there, there were slightly different conflicts, and they talked to me. Because then it was like this: either you, or we you - there were no other options. There was no other dialogue. Maybe only once, and that was when Daniil Markovich and Sergei Viktorovich (we were all talking together) went away for a while and Eteri Georgievna began to ask: “Why? But as? What can be done to avoid this?" But then five minutes passed, Daniil Markovich and Sergey Viktorovich returned, and the dialogue again went in line with “We made you, and you do this to us.” I think: “Well, I also made some efforts for this.” And I was so offended that my contribution was so devalued, and I somehow already ...

Plus, there were moments when, in order to motivate you to work during training, the following happened: the group is warming up on the ice, and they say to you: “And you ...” - and some kind of ridicule begins, sometimes not very pleasant. It happens in different ways, sometimes it was addressed to me, sometimes not to me. This often happens. And naturally, when they are joking with not you, it is funny, but when they are joking with you, then you feel some kind of humiliation. And although this is not serious, it still becomes unpleasant. And at some point I got so tired of it that I decided that I had to end it.

And what did it lead to - I ran away from Novogorsk, my mother kept me at home without training, without a skating rink - nothing at all related to figure skating. She did this so that I could change my mind. And I realized that I do not want a repetition of what happened. And so we went to the federation, talked with representatives of the federation, they told me from all sides: “No, no, no!”. And at some point I just couldn’t stand it anymore, I called Eteri Georgievna myself and told her: “Eteri Georgievna, you know, I decided to try a new direction, try to work differently.” She replied: “Well, since it’s called that, okay, fine.” And that's it. This is where our dialogue ended.

But my mother was very against it. And she said the phrase: "I wash my hands, do what you want, I tried to dissuade you." And when later I had failed starts, when there were injuries, this phrase constantly sounded: “I tried to dissuade you, but you didn’t listen to me.” And so when I decided to go to Elena Germanovna, she said: “You do everything yourself, I will not put any effort into this.”


Record Breaker
Sep 23, 2020
I agree, I just want to point out that the true "realities of the system" (no matter if it's about skating or something else) are very often different from how people in the west imagine it. I myself verified that when it came to my own country. And it doesn't have to be just about "east-west" differencies, it is related even to such things as how a particular thing is refered in media and how it differs from reality even within my own country. I myself experienced a situation when four "eye-witnesses" (it wasn't a crime :) ) refered about the very same thing completely differently, which was caused by different attitude, different sympathies and different expectations. So, that's why I rarely haste with any judgement.
Are you suggesting Aliona could not cope with certain "realities of the system" and felt constatly humiliated and controlled because of "cultural differences"? I thought she was Russian just like her coaches and her mother... Note this time the criticism comes not from the "Westerners" whatever that means, but from someone who spent most of her life within the system you seem to claim to know and understand better than her...


Record Breaker
Jul 9, 2014
I really liked this lovely young skater. When she seemed to disappear, I figured she was like so many young skaters and was burnt out on skating. Eteri ran a vigorous rink and it never surprised me when her skater's decided to move on.

Alex Fedorov

Nov 12, 2021
Another part of the interview:

E: I want to go back a little, wait, I'm just very worried and excited about this topic ... I just want too, you know ... I want to reveal this moment of the first transition, from Eteri Georgievna to Plushenko. For me, it's a little bit… You know, I respect all specialists, I respect your mother's opinion, I respect your opinion. But I’m just very offended that adults sometimes, it’s not often, but, unfortunately, this happens - for some reason they don’t put young girls who are 15, 16 or 17 years old on the same level as 25-year-olds, in while female athletes are already very mature internally by this age, and it is possible to conduct a dialogue with them. And here's what it says now...

Z: Well, wait, well, you were 17 years old, well, let it be 16, but almost 17 ...

E: What Alyona is telling now is very insulting. There was no such dialogue as “Guys, listen to me!”

A: They listened to me, yes ...

E: Listen, not that everything, I'm sorry, is bad, and I want to leave because I'm tired, but listen, that, as it were ...

Z: Wait, but how was it perceived? Here is the European champion, the first number. Did you become the first number of the group?

A: Well, no, I have never been the first number of the group.

Z: So you didn't become number one even after the European Championship?

A: Well, I have never been the first number of the group. At first there were some girls, then there were other girls, younger, but I was never the leader of the group. I had... Little kids were always pushed away from me. They were simply pushed aside. Because I just don't know why, but there was an opinion that I was discouraging the group and I was corrupting the whole group. I have been told this many times. Allegedly, I spoiled [other skaters] with some of my actions. Maybe it is so. But this is not because I'm somehow bad, it's just that people did not have the character to think with their own heads. They just looked at me: “She does it, and I will do the same! And I want so!". There was no such thing that I incited someone: “Come on, do this.” No, these people themselves were going in the wrong direction. And this wrong direction did not affect me much. That is, I could do something here, or I could play in the opposite direction.

I don't have any hard limits. It's like going to bed at 11 pm - I can go to bed at 1 am and nothing bad will happen to me. But for some it's bad. And, in general, in such situations, they told me that I was corrupting the whole group.

E: Well, actually you are right that each person should ideally be responsible for himself...

A: A person should think with his own head. And if someone is driven, amenable to influence, then this is not my problem.

Z: But you understand - on the other hand, the coach is responsible for the whole group, he needs to build the weather, the climate in the whole group.

A: Well, probably, it was necessary to hire someone ... There is practical experience with specialists, there are psychologists who work with athletes, I even know [some]

Z: Have you ever interacted with a psychologist yourself?

A: Yes, I worked with a psychologist.

Z: So you don't think it's something shameful?

A: I will say more - I am still working with a psychologist. And this is the minimum, because I am also studying the profession of a psychologist. I study at two institutes.

Z: Yes! In what, except sports?

A: I study at the Moscow Institute of Psychoanalysis.

Z: Yes, I know such an institute. That is, do you think that it is necessary for an athlete to work with a psychologist?

A: It should be mandatory.

E: Thank you! Yes.

A: Yes, it is necessary, it must be mandatory. Because there is a specialist - and he will communicate with each athlete, and this athlete will be clearly aware of what he needs. Because it's not a coach's job to run after an athlete at every competition and make sure he goes to bed on time so he doesn't eat too much at lunch. At least, so that this does not happen before the start of the tournament, well, after the end - it is already possible (laughs), you can celebrate the results. At a minimum, it is necessary that the athlete be held before the start of the competition.

Z: Wait, I can't understand something - it seems to me that you are contradicting yourself now. On the one hand, you say that it was not your motivation, but the motivation of the coach, the motivation of your mother. That is, I somehow don’t see your motivation here for several seasons, including during the winning seasons in junior and senior competitions. On the other hand, now you say that an athlete should have his own motivation, he should have his own head on his shoulders.

A: Of course, I always adhered to this point of view, they just never listened to me, they just forced me. That is, here I am doing something, I have some kind of my own training plan - to do a little of this here, and there - something else, and do it in such a way that, at a minimum, I don’t get injured and don’t overwork . And instead, there is some kind of discontent towards me - “you didn’t do it, you did it wrong! You don't do cascades! Why don't you have an axel?"

Z: Alena, but you had a result!

A: But at what cost?

Z: At what cost?

A: At such a cost that we have to be treated, that I had 16 weeks without training. And this is just now, only now I put it on public display. You never know what was going on inside.

Z: No, we don't.

A: That's right! And nobody knows. And there was a lot of things, when I didn’t train, I couldn’t train. And they immediately asked me: “Why are you removing loads? Everyone does, but you don't - why? We will not adapt to you. Either you do [what we need], or you stay at home. And here you are all crippled, you go out on the ice on all the painkillers that you can use - and you go to jump, because you know that if you don’t go out now and don't skate, then another girl will go out who will skate - and she will take your place.

Z: Well, right, well, you yourself, as I remember, said somewhere, in some interview, I don’t remember exactly where it sounded, it’s not so important. But you said that you had a lot of competitions, when you were also told: “Wait…”

A: It was already at an older age, when I was at the Plushenko Academy, when we underwent a medical examination and I was not even given a conditional admission to training. The doctor called the coach and said: “Have you seen her? How do I give her clearance when it's my responsibility - what happens if she gets injured in the competition, what will we do? Do you want a scandal? And we answer the doctor: "Let's think of something, let's do something." And they really told me: “Come on, finish the treatment completely, recover normally, because you will restore your form, it’s not so difficult.” And I: “No, I have to perform, I have to!”

E: It's already a psychological moment, because you've already had a different experience before...

A: Because earlier I would have been “killed” for this!

E: Of course, there is already a psychological barrier here, because she thinks: “Now I will stop, I will finish the treatment, and suddenly five other girls will come instead of me during this time.” This already from childhood psychological barrier remains.

A: So I was talking about a psychologist - that his work is necessary, because later, when you finish your sports career, and you leave the sport as a person who has not seen real life. It's like a decorative rabbit that lives in a cage, which has been released into the wild, he does not know what to do, and in three days he will be eaten. Because he is not used to it, he is not adapted to life.

Z: When did you realize that?

A: I realized this when I was collecting documents now.

Z: What documents?

E: Probably for a transfer?

A: Well, the documents needed to get a job. Because... Well, it's not so difficult - a certificate from a multifunctional center, a work book, all this, a badge of a master of sports, something else - a list of these documents takes up a whole paper sheet. I reacted to this: “What is it?”.

E: "Do I have that"?

A: Yes, and at some point I called my mother and asked her: “What is this? What is this name? She answered me: “This is what it means, this is what it means, in order to receive this document you will have to go to this place, get a certificate there, then go to three other offices with this certificate.” And I react: “And you can write it down and send it to me as a text, otherwise I can’t remember” (laughs).

Then Elena Germanovna asked me when I came to her a day later: “Have you collected the documents?” And she is surprised that I have not collected it yet, he says: “There is nothing complicated here” - and he starts telling me what to do, and I clutch my head - “I have a passport, I have an insurance certificate - that's all! What else do you need?" Well, really - here you come out [from sports school] and you don’t know anything, you’re used to someone doing everything instead of you, and you don’t know anything.

E: First your mom is responsible for you, then the coach - and so on until the end, and then at a certain moment - bang!

A: Yes, you go out and think: “What next? But how?"

Z: Okay, let's do this: we have described the situation. To prevent this from happening, is it necessary to build the life of young athletes in some other way?

A: Naturally. First, they need to be taught to be independent. I don't mean something like "I'll go to the competition myself", no. Independence is when you are responsible for your own actions. You are responsible for your words, for your promises, fulfilled and unfulfilled. This is basic. Responsibility for ensuring that, at a minimum, your mother does not run after you. Because there were such cases: “Mom, go to Sochi, sharpen my skates. Today you need to fly to Sochi and sharpen my skates.” I think…

E: Why in Sochi?

A: Because... It's a funny story. Because there was some very cool sharpening, I don’t know for sure, this story is not about me, it’s rumored.

Z: Ah, so it's not about you...

A: This is ... My mother herself would have sent me right away ...

Z: In Sochi! Go yourself to Sochi!

*Note: This is a hint to swear word similar to go to hell.

A: Yes, it's like going out after the first practice and saying - "Mom, take my skates, fly to Sochi and you must deliver them to me tomorrow already sharpened." Well, I don't imagine it.

Z: It doesn't fit in my head.

A: I would never risk saying something like that, even in jest. Well, that is, you need to be responsible for your inventory, for your dresses, for all this. And yes, if you are asked to collect some documents, then you need to be able to do this. That is, if you skate at an adult level, win some tournaments, you must at least correspond to your age. Because when you seem to be skating yourself, and your parents do everything for you, it’s still not the same.

E: Well, I agree. In fact, there is something in this, especially since women's figure skating has become so younger in our country. I'm not talking about girls at the age of 14-15, although even then they need to be prepared for something, because a sports career ends very early.

Z: Well, you know why I remembered this example with Khudaiberdiyeva - because in that case everything came from the parents. That is, it was her parents who told her at the age of 13 that she was responsible for herself.

A: Right. Maybe this should not have been done at the age of 13 ...

Z: Your decision… No, but in that case it happened that…

A: Well, everyone has it already ...

Z: Everyone has their respective age...

A: Yes! But at least at the age of 15-16 it is already necessary to carry out some kind of social adaptation, otherwise it’s already just ...

Z: Well, do you understand yourself? .. (laughs) Brilliant phrase ... Brilliant phrase - social adaptation ... Well, you think about it and understand that it's right - the social adaptation of a young athlete.

A: Yes! Who is working with this? Psychologists work with this.

E: Yes, they work with that as well.

(Z shakes his head dejectedly)

E: Okay. I'm interested in what's next, your second transfer. Here you were skating, you took responsibility contrary to what you were told. And how did the transfer happen in the opposite direction?

A: I... Because I... It's such an interesting situation... Now I'll try to give an analogy. Who were my coaches: Marina Evgenievna Cherkasova is a woman, Elena Vyacheslavovna is a woman, Eteri Georgievna is also a woman. I have ... I do not perceive a man as an authority. For me it is not an authority. That is, I rely mainly on life experience, on some kind of knowledge, and not on the fact that there is some kind of patriarchy - that's all.

Z: Well, what's the difference - a man or a woman? A coach is always a coach anyway.

A: No!

Z: Why?

A: No, that's all. I don't know how it works. For me, the opinion of a man is not an authoritative opinion. I don't know why, it's just the way it is.

E: Maybe it's another habit from childhood - always a woman coaches.

A: Yes, I am trained by strong and independent women who are responsible for themselves, make their own decisions. They made themselves. And they always taught me not to depend on anyone. And here it is ... I don’t even know how to say this template “a strong and independent woman”, it somehow settled in my mind so well that women have always been authority for me. It’s not like I didn’t respect male coaches…

Z: Don't you think you should consult a psychologist about this?

A: This is already a stable stereotype, which is easier for me to adapt to. This is already in the format of coaches.

Z: You're sorry, of course. “In the format of coaches”, but you have a life ahead of you and, as it were ...

E: Here I agree with Andrey - if I were you, Alena, I would work with a psychologist. Because I know how they work and maybe this template of yours also came from the past. And you need to work on this problem not so that men become authoritative for you, but to find out the reason why only women are authority for you.

A: Yes, that's all there was at that time. And here I also take into account past merits, past winnings and think: “What if? What if it works?

Z: You mean if they take you back?

A: Yes. If they return me to this team, from which I jumped out partly of my own free will, partly not of my own free will. And I think: “I’ll take a risk, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll put up with it, if it works out, it’s great.” Well, somehow they took me back.

E: Do you think that this period of throwing, which was so brightly covered in the media and in any case will leave its mark on your sports career (and, perhaps, it will be a bad mark) was to some extent the result of your transitional age , your puberty? These vivid emotions, your opinion comes first, “why don’t they listen to me?” etc. This more or less coincides with the “adult child” template - when, on the one hand, you want to become strong and independent already at this age, on the other hand, you already stop obeying your elders, following the principle “I myself know everything better” and so Further. Maybe this is what happened? Or do you have no regrets and think that ...

A: I do not regret it, of course, because now I have visited the three main headquarters of figure skating. I have tried every method of work that exists. And, of course, I found for myself the technique that suits me.

E: Well, God give you actually…

Z: Well, I wouldn't say that you've been to all the strongest headquarters...

A: I meant within Moscow.

Z: If within Moscow - yes.

A: I'm not talking about ... (shows with his hands) - this is already different.

E: Okay, wait - I have a question - you say you don't take a man as an authority. But just for example (it’s clear that this will not happen, but let’s say) - suddenly Brian Orser calls you on the phone and says: “Alena, ...” ...

Z: No, let's not talk about Brian Orser, let it be Stéphane Lambiel.

E: No! Well, then let it be Arutyunyan. Let's argue (laughs). Harutyunyan is better - you like to cite Nathan Chen as an example. So let's say - Arutyunyan calls you and says: "Alena, I see exactly what you need, how I can fix you, come to me." At least just for a two-three week internship. And you already understand that men are not authority for you, but my God - this is Arutyunyan, I myself would agree to train with him.

A: Yes, of course, I will go, I will listen to his opinion, especially since I say experience. Let's be frank - Sergei Alexandrovich [Rozanov] or ...

Z: Or Rafael Vladimirovich, if I'm not mistaken...

A: Yes! Well, how comparable they are is not even discussed. Naturally, here you can learn a lot, here a person, as it were ...

Z: So what? What's the difference if you do not perceive men as an authority?

A: Yes, but that doesn't mean I won't listen. That is, I can highlight for myself some moments and nuances.

Z: So you understand... You are now learning to be a coach and a psychologist - then the question of trust arises. Indeed, in fact, the most important thing, probably, in the training process is trust.

E: Yes, I think so too.

Z: So it turns out ... Let me put it differently - a man is not an authority for you, or do you trust male coaches?

A: No, that's exactly what I don't trust men. They are not able to understand some points that women are able to understand. Well, that's just the way it is.

E: Well, explain it. So I worked with a male trainer and I was very comfortable ...

Z: You also worked with a female coach.

E: Yes. And I was comfortable. But now we are not talking about me, but about Alena. I started talking about this because you know... I'm not trying to convince you, I just want to say that Sergei Rozanov (about whom, however, I'm not trying to say anything bad) has a different level of skill and such monsters of figure skating as Arutyunyan, Alexander Zhulin and so on. They have much, much more experience. But even so, they always worked not only with men, but also with women. I'm talking about the fact that you can have a dialogue with them - both on women's affairs and not on women's affairs. It's just like a person with a person, like an athlete to a coach, like with a friend, like with a partner. And if there are any inconveniences, this dialogue needs to be conducted, and a man can also understand this.

A: Well, there was no dialogue with me. They told me: “I know how to do it right, but you still don’t have enough experience, so do as I say.” And when I expressed my opinion, it was regarded as follows: “why did you allow yourself to open your mouth?!”. That's how it was. And when with women, it is much more convenient for me to find some line, to enter into a dialogue.

E: I understand you well, but it was the other way around for me - I left a female coach because they didn’t take me seriously, they didn’t let me sew costumes on my own, they didn’t let me contribute to the choreography. And when I moved to Alexander Zhulin, my wings literally grew. A dialogue immediately began, they asked me what hurts me, whether I need to rest, I got the opportunity to participate in the creation of the costume - and I know my figure, I know how good it is for me, how to make me feel beautiful. This is where the dialogue began, and earlier the female coach told me: “I know everything better than you.” And you see - everything happened differently for you, it is very interesting and it is surprising for me to listen to all this.

Z: Well, I can say, as a person who also worked with a psychologist, since we are discussing such serious things that are important for life ... Here is the story “I am independent, I decide everything myself, I know everything better than anyone” - for life, such views and behavior are not useful, this is 100%.

A: Well, I'm not saying that I know everything better than anyone. Here is an important point.

Z: Well, I don't know - you didn't listen to your mother.

A: Well, we have a conflict of interest, so... I'd rather tell the truth, although I know that this truth will be unpleasant, for someone this truth will be very uncomfortable, for which I will get very big trouble later. But it will be the truth, and no one else will tell the truth. Because everyone else will say, “I'm glad. I am satisfied. All people are wonderful. Yes."

E: Personally, I tell everyone about it. I respect you very much for this peculiarity of yours, because it is responsibility for your words, for your actions. And you perfectly understand that you live your own life with these actions and decisions - not someone else's life, not instead of someone else, not because you want to be comfortable for everyone. And you have to be really brave to do that. And frankly, I can't. I should have learned this from you. It is very cool.

Z: 95% of people are not capable of doing that.

E: Keep doing it, Alyona! I will always support you in this.

Z: It seems to me that as experience grows and matures, this will somehow change. Or is it a fixed position?

A: The attitude to tell the truth?

Z: Yes.

A: Well...

Z: You understand, no one forces you to lie, but you can remain silent at some point.

A: At some moments I am already silent.

E: Well, we ask her, so she is not silent!

A: Yes, when they ask me, I naturally say. And no questions asked, just like that, I don’t distribute my opinion to everyone.

(everyone laughs)

Alex Fedorov

Nov 12, 2021
and next part:

Z: Tell me, the change of programs, when you were at the Plushenko Academy - one program was staged, and then another one was made ...

E: There was another one...

Z: No, it was staged by Tutberidze and Gleikhengauz...

A: So I actually did it.

Z: What exactly?

A: These two programs, I performed them this season.

Z: No, I'm talking about something else. I want to go back to the 2021 Russian Cup final. That's why those two programs were needed before this competition?

A: These programs were aimed at… Well, I didn’t have a clear plan for the second transfer, and these programs were aimed at trying to fulfill them now, but actually they were programs for the next season.

Z: And what was wrong with the first two programs made at the Plushenko Academy?

A (uncertainly): Well, there was one competition left, and we wanted to test the reaction of the audience to it ...

Z: Wait, but it was a competition that everything depended on (that is, participation in the World Figure Skating Championships).

A: And what depended on this tournament? Before my free program in training ... Well, for me it was simply unbearable there. What could depend on this tournament? Moreover, I already failed the short program, I was already far from the prizes.

Z: Were you upset by the result of the short program?

A: Yes, because I rarely had breakdowns, I am a “plus start” athlete ...

Z: Wait, you went to the Russian Cup final without...

A: I went there not ready. I went completely unprepared.

Z: And you yourself understood this?

A: I knew about it.

Z: And everyone around said: “Kostornaya is striving to get to the World Figure Skating Championships,” and Kostornaya? ..

A: And Kostornaya was just silent and knew that there was no chance (laughs).

E: Interesting. And you still went for it?

Z: Here is an interesting moment: I watched a replay of your free skate and I got the impression ... Perhaps this is due to the fact that I already knew the result and came up with something for myself - so it seemed to me that you were skating and as if the train is leaving you, you are trying to catch up with it, there is practically no chance, and you are trying to accelerate faster, and the train is further and further away - that was the feeling. Is this correct or not? Or did I come up with this myself?

A: When I entered the free program, I did not know what to expect from myself. Then Yana Rudkovskaya wrote me this treatise (shows a thick volume with her hands), in which it was written: “Alena, you are a fighter, you are beautiful, you have done a heroic deed, we are all rooting for you.” I didn’t know what to expect from myself, I got into the initial position and thought: “Let it be, what will be.” And so I was skating and thinking: “well, this is the last element, if it is very difficult, then I will stop.” And then - well, it seems to be good, it seems to have done it, you need to try one more. With these thoughts, I got to the end of the program, and in the sequence of steps, I just ...

Z: Dying?

A: It’s not that I was dying, I stopped at this sequence of steps, let’s be honest - this element simply didn’t exist ...

E: The judges set the second level of difficulty, as I remember?

Z: That wasn't the problem. There is literally not her legs, not her strong point.

A: I really was...

Z: There, like this, she skate, staggers, some steps are incomprehensible ...

A: Yes, I was just on the verge of this - everything!

Z: "Turn off the music"

A: Yes. Well, I think: "Well, I'm done with the jumps, I need to endure a little." So it was some kind of test of myself - whether I can or not. Because it was so bad that I already ... And just then, after training before the competition, there were three or four hours left, a question arose. Every forty minutes they called me and asked: “Maybe it’s better not to participate in the tournament?”. More precisely, this question was rather formulated like this: “Can we now declare that you are withdrawing from the competition?”. But I answered: “No, I will perform, I will skate, I will complete the entire program to the end.”

Well, I finished this program, what can I say. After that moment, I realized that I can do anything.

Z: For example, you can call Tutberidze and say "take me back"

A: This was the third performance of this program. This is the third time I have completed this program in its entirety. You try…

Z: Only the third...

A: Yes! Well, there, after the coronavirus, it was the third time that I completed the program in full. Usually I skipped some elements because it was really hard for me. In addition, it is unrealistic to quickly get in shape. For show you can, for competitions no.

E: It was last season, am I right?

A: Yes, and I can say that if you look at how some athlete performs a new program for the third time, everything may well turn out to be even worse than mine. So overall...

Z: Well, you see - after that you still made the decision to go back?

A: Yes.

Z: Do you dont regret this decision too?

A: No. What should I regret?

Z: Is that an honest answer?

A: Well, actually, what to regret?

Z: Well, perhaps it was necessary to make a transfer, but not to Tutberidze?

A: No, apparently, I was not ready for such a decision then. I needed a man who, as was the case in the old days...

E: Give you a kick.

A: Yes, it is. That was exactly what was needed. Not that directly through fear, but a kick was needed.

E: Tell me, please, is your period with Eteri Georgievna, which was before moving to the Plushenko Academy, different from the period when you returned to Tutberidze and trained during the last season?

A: Yes.

Z: But now you are different from yourself at past too.

A: Well, of course. That's when the moment came when they began to conduct a dialogue with me. That is, there was no longer a senseless exchange of shouts, as before, when they told me: “You are bad!”, And I answered: “Oh, so! I won't do anything at all." We calmly talked, discussed some points, came to an agreement on some issues and often talked. Because there were certain internal conditions, and sometimes I ... Well, as if I was squirming, tryed to evade. Because I have such a nature - where it is easier, there I feel better. But still I tried to find an easier option.

And sometimes these attempts of mine to make life easier for myself, both here and there, led to questions: “Alena, what is this?”. And so we sat down, talked, and I said: “Well, that’s it, I won’t evade.” But then time passes and again I think: “What if ...” - and again they say to me: “Alena! ..”. Well, here we already sat down, discussed, talked - that's how it was.

Z: I'm sorry to interrupt you: that's what then leaked to the media - the words that you don't work enough in training, that you're lazy - does this just refer to that period?

A: It’s… I don’t even know what happened to Daniil Markovich and me that day… There was some kind of conflict… Although no, I can tell you – my triple axel didn’t work out. Well, it didn’t work out - I’m trying ... And I’m to some extent a maximalist, in some narrow range of issues, and for some reason this also applies to the triple axel. I then started to execute the program, landed the first triple axel - perhaps there was a small flaw in something, but such an element can be counted. I got ready to perform the next triple axel, the jump did not work out, and I continued the program further - and something else happened there, some kind of wrong exit from the jump - and the music was turned off for me.

It was a free program, the end of the second half of the rental, there was only a sequence of steps and rotation, and my music was turned off. And this means that you can no longer continue the program - you need to start all over again. And until you complete all the elements to the end, you cannot leave the ice. And I said: “I landed the jump, and he turned off the music for me.” I was so upset that I...

Then I started to perform the triple axel again, but it didn’t work out. I am already in tears, I can no longer concentrate, gather myself - it is clear that the jump will not work. Other triple jumps can still be performed, but I no longer need these elements - I need an Axel! They tell me - just finish skating, and I: "no, I will not leave without an axel." And so I was exhausted there, I could not turn half a turn, I fell, and I could not complete the program to the end. And they tell me: “Go on the ice for the younger group!”.

And there are already puddles on the ice for the younger group, the water has not dried up, I need to warm up again, but I froze, small children around. Very young children, because this is their time, not mine. As a result, I was never able to complete the free program, everyone complained about me. Everyone was nervous, everyone was on emotions, and now ... This is what happened. Because the next day, when I had already calmed down and went to training, everything worked out the first time, everything was fine. So then there were denials, something else. Well, Eteri Georgievna also cursed very strongly - she said that it was unprofessional to bring conflicts to the public.

Z: Wait, I'm sorry, Alena, I interrupted you, you said that you were cheating somewhere, then a dialogue followed, cheated again, then worked, then again some things - and again a dialogue ...

A: Well, it may be some aspects related to the need to maintain discipline.

E: Do you agree that you have such a trait in your character... Of course, we are all different, someone plows like a tractor in training...

A: It's not me!

E: Here! What do you think, does it bother you? That is, if you were different, then everything would be different? Or “I am who I am, and don’t touch me”?

A: If it had been otherwise, then my figure skating would have ended before it even started. And now I mean it seriously. Because it is impossible to do many years, many, many years, work from the beginning to the very end. All the same, we need to slow down somewhere, there will still be some kind of decline, it is impossible to remain within this framework, say, for eight years, two Olympic cycles. It's impossible!

You can limit yourself, keep yourself for one year or two. Two years of hard work. But eight years - never. Therefore, it seems to me that my tricks, my attempts to evade the load somehow helped me.

E: I wanted to add something else: you, Alena, also say that the coach needs to draw a line between juniors and adult athletes. I will explain why - because if at 14, 15, or even at 16 there is an opportunity to work like a robot. That is, you obey the coach, you are sure that he knows everything better than you - and you work, work, work - and then all the same [another period begins]. This is physiology, this is puberty, girls begin to grow. And already, starting from the age of 14, some titles are obtained, experience appears, and here comes the time when you want to be listened to. That's why, it seems to me (of course, I can't say for sure about this), that this was the difference between the period before Plushenko's academy and after the academy, when you returned, having matured. Therefore, the dialogue began.

A: There was a dialogue, but nothing changed. So yes, they talked to me. But no more than that. And they immediately made it clear to me: “We will not change to please you or other athletes. As we worked according to a certain methodology, we will continue to do so, and nothing will change.” Older or younger, no change. But in fact, at some point you realize that you know your body better than a another person.

And you can express some opinion so that it is heard and accepted. And not that they heard you, nodded and said: "Go."

Z: How did you watch the Olympics? Did you watch this competition at all?

A: No. I looked at the boys' competitions, looked at the performance of Mark Kondratyuk, of course. I was rooting for ours, I was rooting for Anya, of course, but that was already after. Because when the girls were skating, I was on a quest, and I had a quest between quests. That is, I went to one quest, then there was a break of 15 minutes, and there I had to find another quest. I ran with skates on my back. Of course, we did not have time, and so far all this ...

Z: Did you do it on purpose to avoid watching the competition?

A: No, I just organized my leisure time.

E: Well, it seems to me too... Moreover, there was a broadcast at such a time, which is not always possible to watch...

Z: Well, I don't know...

A: And now I'm leaving just after the first quest, there are already photos on the Internet, but there are no videos yet. I think: "100% that Kamila won." I'm rooting for Anya, I love Anya, but it's like ... no. Unlikely. And after the second quest, I seriously went to Instagram ...

Z: This is the name of a social network that is banned in Russia...

A: So I go in and see Sasha’s emotions there, I also see Camila’s performance, and I think: “Really?! Can it be that those years of this…”… Well, I don’t know, she probably had the hardest time of all compared to all of us…

Z: Shcherbakova [was the hardest]?

A: Yes! That is, if something was allowed to me because I did not let someone put pressure on me every time, then Anya endured everything. She endured to the last, she endured everything, and I thought: “This is the moment when a person receives a reward.”

E: According to merit.

A: Yes!

Z: And you wrote a very touching post...

A: Yes, because we always...

Z: It was obvious that you were for her.

A: Because we became so good friends with her, we are constantly in the same boat, and therefore ...

Z: Ah… (Ekaterina wants to interrupt him, but stops)

E: No, let's keep going!

Z: Tell me, it was always unclear to me - why TSCHK? Did you agree with this or not?

Alex Fedorov

Nov 12, 2021
There are still 28 minutes of the interview, but tomorrow I will not be able to publish. Perhaps the phrases may seem torn, but I tried to be as close to the source as possible. Unfortunately, the words of Alena's interlocutors ran a whole mile ahead of their thoughts, and she herself did not really strive to follow all the rules of oral speech.

In addition, if you rearrange the words in a sentence in Russian, this will make the phrase ugly, but still understandable. In English, changing word order will distort the meaning. This also had to be taken into account. I hope that the meaning of the conversation is preserved in any case.


Mar 7, 2006
I would add that Aliona's words about the team and her mother are not very different. It's what Alex mentioned above, one has to consider the way something is said and context. Like two years ago Aliona complained that she was put into a group with little kids, now she says they did not allow little kids to be in her close distance. it has to be taken with a pinch of salt.

I would also like to remind that two girls who always trusted TT's methods the most are the olympic champions. Some people may have different opinion, but I would trust the ability of such coaches when it comes to getting the best of the athlete.
I took it to mean that Aliona is very social and outgoing, (chatty) and team Eteri wants the younger girls to focus more, and giggle, cut up/chat/socialize less. Also, I have a great deal of sympathy for her mother, although she details the conflicts. Being a skating parent means being involved every day, all day in your kids career. It is a 100% sacrifice. And Aliona came so damn close to going to the Olympics. It has to be crushing for her mother to see what was an Olympic team projectory -not happen.
I do not think we will see Aliona in competition again, but she had her time in the spotlight, she had her peaks, international stardom, and a nice fan base still to build upon.


Record Breaker
Nov 11, 2013
Very interesting interview! It seems she had more troubles with Daniil rather than with Eteri.

Well with her comments about basically not respecting a man's authority I can see where that's probably caused problems with the male coaches...And not talking about their egos but when she talks like that it makes you wonder what that training situation was like.


Record Breaker
Nov 12, 2011
I took it to mean that Aliona is very social and outgoing, (chatty) and team Eteri wants the younger girls to focus more, and giggle, cut up/chat/socialize less. Also, I have a great deal of sympathy for her mother, although she details the conflicts. Being a skating parent means being involved every day, all day in your kids career. It is a 100% sacrifice. And Aliona came so damn close to going to the Olympics. It has to be crushing for her mother to see what was an Olympic team projectory -not happen.
I do not think we will see Aliona in competition again, but she had her time in the spotlight, she had her peaks, international stardom, and a nice fan base still to build upon.
why do you say this? she's back in training and stated (i believe in this interview) she wants to continue for another olympic quad and has set a goal for herself by test skates.

Alex Fedorov

Nov 12, 2021
why do you say this? she's back in training and stated (i believe in this interview) she wants to continue for another olympic quad and has set a goal for herself by test skates.
Buyanova is known as a strict and tough coach, maybe in some aspects even more strict and tough than Tutberidze (it's just that Eteri has been on public display all the last years). So far, she has taken Alena conditionally, and what will come of this is still unknown. By the way, if Buyanova saw this interview, it hardly inspired her.

I have my own opinion about what Alyona said, but first I will try to complete the translation.


Jan 12, 2018
why do you say this? she's back in training and stated (i believe in this interview) she wants to continue for another olympic quad and has set a goal for herself by test skates.
I hope so, I hope so... hopefully she's focusing on training at least as much as on PR.. ;)

Alex Fedorov

Nov 12, 2021
final part of the interview:

Z: Tell me, it was always unclear to me - why ТЩК? Did you agree with this or not?

A: I hated that acronym.

E: It seems to me that all three girls did not really like this abbreviation.

Z: Why? Is it because the K is the last letter in this abbreviation?

A: No, the problem is not at all in the order in which the letters are arranged. We are just very, very different people. We are so different that in no case should we be lumped together. Well, we just don't have anything common. We have different interests, different hobbies, a different way of building a dialogue - and so on up to thinking. We are just completely different. And how it was possible for us to stick together into something united just because we started performing at the same time in the same season - I don’t understand. This was done by such a narrow-minded person ...

Z: Not smart person...

A: It's just like VUKh - when I'm talking to these three girls...

E: VUKh is...

Z: Valieva, Usacheva, Khromykh.

A: When I talk to these three girls, they are as different from each other as we are. And therefore, an attempt to blind them into one lump just because there was already a ТЩК before is just ... this is insanity.

E: May I ask a question now? I don’t know if you still have questions about figure skating, but I want to talk about Alena. Alena, what do you like to do? We already know that you love quests. Tell us about these quests - they were scary or not scary. Tell us about what movies you like to watch, what movie you watched recently, if you like to read, about books, tell me which ones you like…

Z: About the music...

E: Yes, about music. Come on, tell me all about it.

A: Oh good. Everyone knows about my equestrian sport. I love show jumping. There is no dressage, but I love show jumping. I love jumping over obstacles, it's very interesting, but due to injuries and other circumstances, I have put it on pause for now. Next - about the quests. I was on a quest of horrors once - so I went with friends, with my company - and it was a nightmare. I got adrenaline, a charge of vivacity and energy for two nights in advance, and this was at 9 pm. I was afraid to go to the toilet at night. I have a studio apartment, and I was afraid to go to the toilet.

Z: Yes, you grabbed horror ...

A: We were three girls...

E: I haven't been to such quests and I don't want to.

A: Dasha Usacheva and Anya Frolova, Mark Kondratyuk and Artur Danielyan were with me. In general ... There was a horror quest, someone had to be saved, and we chose the easiest mode. This means that we cannot be touched.

It was scary. Already at the first moment a man with a chainsaw chased us. It was a nightmare. And here we are standing in the corner - Anya and Dasha are at the edges, I am in the center, and we are closed by the boys (laughs). And the boys stand like that and… Well, they have already been there, they have visited such quests many times, they knew what it was. And I went to this quest for the first time. And now I have a panic, I have a hysteria, my hands are shaking like this, I am pounding all over. Well, it was horror, but it was also interesting. It was really interesting, there was a cool actor, which we then found in all social networks (laughs). Moreover, Dasha was looking for this - and she found all the actors - and this despite the fact that we saw the face of only one of them. But she found everyone, she talked to everyone - in a word, the girl did not waste time in vain.

But in general, I prefer logical quests, that is, some ...

E: Some puzzles...

A: Yes. This is what I'm interested in. That is, in fact, there is a theme there ... I went through many quests, but one of those that I could not finish - it seems that it was about ancient Egypt. Yes, it is about Egypt. But it was a very difficult quest - the most difficult tasks had to be solved in the shortest possible time. And I didn't have five minutes. And if there wasn’t another group behind us, then we would still pass this quest. But it was difficult. The theme is Egypt. Well, of course, I passed the quest on the topic of Harry Potter - I passed without any problems at all. In my opinion, I did it then in half an hour, although I was given a whole hour.

The quest about knights also passed. Although it was also a difficult quest on the topic of the Middle Ages. And we passed it just a second before the end of the allotted time, at 59:59.

Z: So you are a gambler, very gambler, aren't you?

A: Yes. I love to play. I get excited during every workout. We often argue with each other during these training sessions. For example, I approach someone and say: “Look, if I don’t complete this element now, then I will owe you something.” I... Every day I lose something. No, then I try to recoup, of course.

E: So you can't visit Las Vegas?

A: Yes, that's right.

Z: Don't let Alyona [in the casino]!

E: Don't let her in!

Z: Can you forbid yourself?

A: Yes, of course.

E: So it's still controlled excitement?

A: Well, yes, it does not turn into fanaticism.

E: It's just that you haven't played for big money yet... So, now about movies.

Z (to Ekaterina): Well, you didn't play for big money either.

A: And I played for a lot of money!

E: Wow!

Z: But you won?

A: I will say this: in order not to lose, I tried so hard that I broke my arm!

E: Horror! That's it... What an interesting life you have. Let's talk about movies now.

A: About movies... It's difficult...

E: What do you like more - series, cartoons or ...

A: Fantasy, constant fantasy. And absolutely different, ranging from (pause) "Game of Thrones" and ending with the animated series "Adventure Time" and "Rick and Morty". I have a kind of love for Rick and Morty and Adventure Time. These are such cartoons, well ... peculiar.

E: So you prefer cartoons, if I understand correctly?

A: No, I love different things, but my father inherited my love for cartoons - he himself loved to draw comics. Therefore, I really like cartoons shot in this style.

E: Do you watch Miyazaki cartoons?

A: This is the one who...

E: Yes, Japanese cartoons, the most famous ones are Howl's Moving Castle for example.

Z: "Totoro"...

E: Yes, Totoro.

A: Yes, I watched several of these cartoons, I probably liked two of them, but not all of them.

Z: Not everything suits you?

A: Well, there was something wrong with that…

Z: What did you like about Miyazaki?

A: As for Harry Potter...

Z: "Totoro"?

A: Of course.

Z: Why "of course"? I liked this cartoon, I watched with my mouth open and said: "this is brilliant." I showed this cartoon to my friends, and they said: "Ugh, this is so primitive." I tell them: “Yes, you don’t understand, there ...”

E: I really like that Miyazaki makes cartoons that are suitable for both adults and children.

Z: It's... Because it's not really cartoons. This is an anime, that is, "Totoro" is ... That is, "Totoro" you liked, but some of his other films - not?

A: Well, for example, I started watching Naruto. It was interesting for the first two seasons (it's kind of an unrealistically long show). And I didn't watch until the end, because it's impossible. It's just impossible! But I watched the series “The Magnificent Century”, probably twice each episode, because at first my mother watched, and I listened, and then I watched it all myself.

Z: Excuse me, but when do you manage to do all this? You have training, study ...

E: Also quests!

A: It was a moment ... Now I will say ...

Z: Maybe it was during quarantine?

A: I think it was before the quarantine. But during the quarantine, I also watched a lot of things. About Harry Potter - this is my mother who loves films about Harry Potter and Twilight ...

E: I just wanted to ask if you love it all, or your mom...

A: These were my favorite films, they taught me from childhood, from about the age of seven. From the age of seven, if a Harry Potter movie was shown on TV channels, my mother and I immediately sat down on the sofa in front of the TV.

Z: Did you enjoy it? And what about "Twilight"?

A: Twilight too, all the time. By the way, I think it was in December, on some channel showed "Twilight". I can even name the exact date - it was from December 24 to 26.

E: Yes, I remember. Tell me, please, but what is more interesting for you ...

Z: Can we move on to the question about the program?

E: Now, wait a second, I just want to continue the topic for now. Did you watch the movie first, or did you read the book, or did it happen at the same time?

A: First I watched "Twilight", and then I got a series of books "Twilight" in English, I read them in order to improve my level of this language. These books were given to me, for which I am very grateful. And the same can be said about Harry Potter. At first I watched films about him, and then Olga Yermolina gave me books, also in English. I don't know where she found these books, but I was very happy. And then I also bought the missing books from this series myself and read them.

E: Was it more interesting for you to read these books in English or in Russian?

A: It's hard to read in the original. Because there I was more focused not on learning the story (which I already knew) and not on fantasizing, but on replenishing my vocabulary. I learned how this or that word is translated, why it was used, and not an approximate synonym. In general, I studied English rather than read.

Z: Do you have a good level of English now?

A: Well, to some extent yes, but to some extent no.

Z: Okay, now about the Twilight program - whose idea was it?

A: One thing is the junior competition. I then went out on the ice with my eyes lined with black mascara and in very thin pantyhose - 5 den. That is, I forgot the usual tights, there were only such, and under them - very white legs. It was winter, it was cold outside, there was no tan on the skin. At the same time, I performed with the Angel program - a white dress, white ice, white legs, black eyes. Daniil Markovich saw me and said: “You look like a vampire.” And I thought: “Exactly!”.

I also remembered that moment from Twilight with baseball - and I have always been delighted with this episode. Well, I said: "Let's...". And so we started staging a demonstration performance - it turned out to be so cool that we decided to make a full-fledged program.

Z: And you shined with this program!

A: I will say more - I still perform this program!

Z: Tell me when the 2020 World Figure Skating Championships were canceled [how did you react]

A: There was such a joke - “I'm at the peak of my decline” (laughs). That is, someone goes to the peak of form, and I was at the peak of my decline. I had an injury, I had an injury before the European Championships. And I had already begun to treat this injury, I was in this incomprehensible floating position. I forced myself as best I could, tried to bring this all to the end. And when the World Figure Skating Championship was cancelled, I didn't suffer from it. I then thought: “Great! Now I will continue to heal."

E: And everyone says: “Alena should have gone there and won gold!”

Z: I don't understand... Yes, everyone was sure that this was your season.

A: I was silent again, I sat and thought: “I am at the peak of my decline”

E: Can you imagine how things are going...

Z: How did you win the European Championship, I can't understand.

A: Everyone is surprised by this. I had a whole week before that… well, maybe not the whole week, I didn’t skate – at a crucial stage of preparation for the European Championships, because I had a problem with my back. I was doing the spins and at one moment I realized that I can’t sit, I can’t walk and I can’t do anything at all, I’m just a lying vegetable. I did not feel pain only when I lay down.

And so I didn’t train for several days, and my mother took me for several days in this lying position for physiological procedures, then the РФК began (Developing Physical Culture - a method for correcting minor curvatures of the spine). At some point, representatives of the federation came - and I walk something near the edge, trying to remember something. And so they come up to me and ask: “Why don’t you do anything?”. I think: “Well, you talked to the coaches, didn’t they really tell you that I had problems with my back.” They say: “Why didn’t you tell us about this? We would have cured you faster, we would have taken you for a special examination.” And I didn't know what to answer.

And at the European Championships, I skated just by some miracle, using my previous experience. Well, I told you that I am a plus start athlete. Here I have it. Adrenaline, drive + old luggage - and go.

Z: Well, you there, like in general in that season, triple axels did just one after the other.

E: Yes, it was very beautiful.

A: In fact, the triple axel is a very comfortable jump for me. I can’t always be sure of it, there may be some doubts, but if you get where you need to, this jump is very comfortable. That is, I can do a triple Axel even if I can't land 3+3 combinations. I'm underrotate these combinations, or fall during their performance, but I calmly do a triple axel.

Z: Maybe it was a result of how carefully you were trained to do the double axel?

A: It's just that I'm very comfortable doing this jump.

E: Well, you know how... Forgive me for the comparison, but now Trusova can't do a triple axel, she just falls, but she does quadruple jumps without any problems.

Z: The triple Axel is a special jump.

E: Yes, and that's why this detail is especially interesting... Look, I have such an important question for you. We talked with you, you opened up to me from a completely different side. It's one thing to listen to your interviews, read Wikipedia, follow the competitions, and another thing is live communication, looking into each other's eyes. You are a very extraordinary person, really very interesting and cool. And now I see: you are a European champion, you already have a name in sports. It is clear that you now have an excellent baggage of experience, it is clear that you can gain more, it is clear that there is still room for development.

But, as you say now, you still have some problems. Maybe it's health issues and so on. You perfectly understand that there are young girls who will now take the lead with quadruple jumps, you are changing coaches. At the same time, you are very smart, you want to study, you are already getting two higher educations, you want to study as a surgeon ...

A: As a neurosurgeon.

E: Yes, neurosurgeon, thanks.

Z: High medicine...

E: So you...

A: I am also studying in two directions at one of the institutes ...

E: So, that is, you already have grandiose plans, you are interested in being a coach, and students will run to your name, believe me - I know what I'm talking about. So what motivates you to keep going?

A: And I love…

E: What do you expect from yourself? What are you waiting for from yourself?

A: I love this sport. I once had an interview during which I said something like: “I will skate for another four years, and then stop.” But now I realized that I was not just wrong then - I'm bored of living without this adrenaline, without this excitement. I need that excitement of ice. That is, I like to go out in public, I like this kind of work. I just enjoy it. It doesn't matter if I succeed or not - I fall, roll on the ice, cry - I still like it.

E: When… Again, I'm not calling for anything, I'm just very interested, because I have already talked with athletes and I have my own experience. When this moment of the end of her career comes up ... Here is the amazing Alena Leonova, who was also at her peak, then her career began to decline a little, she continued to skate, but at some point she decided to stop. How do you imagine - when such a moment can come for you? Or do you not want to think about it at all yet, and will you skate until you break completely?

A: Probably, at some point I will feel one way or another - that's all. And this will not be due to the fact that I can’t get some element, or I don’t have enough strength to complete the program. The reason should be the disappearance of interest in figure skating. Perhaps this is how it should be.

Z: Well, well, now you have this interest. What does it mean - you are interested in making a new program, performing with it ...

E: Or are you interested in returning to the old skating, learning quadruple jumps?

A: It would be interesting for me to enter competitions, major competitions, I am interested in these ice performances that I can convey to the audience. Of course, I'm interested in new programs, working with new people. Well… No, not that the first place was the main motive, but it is still much more pleasant when you work hard and then take one of the places on the podium. At the same time, you understand: here I worked and received just such an award, here I also worked and also received, but here I could not work - and, accordingly, nothing will happen. Here is an interesting thing for me.

Z: You have already worked with different choreographers. Are there other people you would like to work with? Or is it pointless to think about it now?

A: Yes, it is useless to think about it now.

Z: Could you create a program for yourself?

A: Well, to some extent, maybe I did the Harley Quinn program for myself. That is, of course, coaches helped me, but, let's say, the main idea was completely mine. I made several mistakes there - for example, the musical fragments were not mounted correctly. But the main ideas are “here I will do this, and here I will do that, but for this moment such music will do.” They say to me: “but there are indecent expressions here,” and I: “this is muted.” The costume was also my responsibility, I did everything myself. More precisely, I brought a version of this costume, and they helped me develop this version.

I think it was a good experience, but I don't want to create programs for myself.

E: How did you work with Lena Radionova?

A: Oh, very interesting. At some point, the coaches were joking with us, because ... At some point, we are skating together, and if I get into music (and Lena always gets into music), then it seems that we are with her is two clones. At some point, Elena Germanovna came up to us and said: “Lena, do you see her? It's you". I said: “Of course, because I learned from her example when I was young.”

Z: And who else was an example for you?

A: Adeline.

Z: Yes, Sotnikova.

E: Would you like her to put on a program for you? Well, to work together...

Z: Is she doing this?

E: Adelina does it, she creates programs for her students, she already has some experience, and then she is an Olympic champion.

Z (to Ekaterina): You know, we seem to be forcing Alena to give some definite answer ...

E: No, I'm just asking if it's interesting or not.

A: It will be interesting for me to work with everyone…

E: With everyone?

A: Yes. Plus, now, when we were doing a common performance, Adelina noticed that we were somehow ugly standing, and began to tell us how to stand up and what to do. She corrected what had previously been unsuccessfully invented. In general, it was interesting, we all liked it.

I stopped there, because the song performed by Alena was further discussed, as well as the prospects for her training as a neurosurgeon. Nothing was said about figure skating.


Final Flight
Oct 6, 2016
The level of parental involvement in daily training says to me that skating is a sport for the privileged in Russia. In the US, few parents can afford to not work during the day. I also don't think mothers shouting from the boards is healthy... we had one do it at our rink and she was banned pretty quickly. I cannot imagine the cliques and cattyness--just ugh. Poor Alena--sleep was her only escape from the insanity.

Alex Fedorov

Nov 12, 2021
Well, now my own attempt to analyze what Alena said. I do not doubt her sincerity, but at the same time I doubt that this information is 100% reliable. First of all, this is a pronounced subjective point of view of Alena Kostornaya. In addition, in some cases there is something like "protective illusions" - I don't know what psychologists call it.

Here, for example, Alena's statement that she cannot perceive the opinion of any man (or male coach) as authoritative. I got the feeling that this was just her fantasy, born directly during the interview. Well, it was necessary to somehow explain the return to Tutberidze, she did not know what to say, put forward this version, and then she herself got a little confused in all this. Because there is no logic in this - to deliberately move away from a "strong, independent woman" to two male coaches, neither of whom is not Аrutyunyan or Orser.

It is not clear why Alyona says that she moved from her parents before the New Year - after all, even from her own videos it follows that this happened at the end of January. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have a suspicion that for her time away from her parents' house has "stretched out", that it is rather difficult for her to live separately.

Another detail - Harley Quinn, as everyone knows, was the Joker's girlfriend. And the Joker each time told a new version of why he got scars on his face. So Alena at the beginning of the interview hints that she broke her arm due to increased training, and at the end she says that she broke her arm trying to win a bet with one of the other skaters.

The easiest way, of course, is to simply unconditionally side with Alena and say a few more bad words about the merciless Eteri. But after all, "violence against a person" began long before Kostornaya came to Khrustalny. Already her first coach pushed Alyona onto the ice by force, and she ran away to the locker room at the first opportunity. If "violence against the person" had been stopped then, today we would have nothing to discuss.

In general, Alena makes, as always, a very good impression - she is cheerful, obviously kind and open. She's just not adult. She is still a mischievous child who may love the word "responsibility", but does not fully understand its meaning. In particular, when she talks about her possible bad influence on the younger ones and says that "everyone should have their own head on their shoulders" - this is pure irresponsibility.

And she has strange ideas about what a psychologist should do. It is unlikely, for example, that this specialist will replace Eteri and pull cutlets out of the skater's plate.

It is not entirely clear who made fun of her in the Tutberidze group. Gleichengauz is too refined for this, and I can’t even imagine Dudakov humiliating little girls. Only Zheleznikov remains (but he works somewhere in the background) and Eteri herself. But if it was Eteri - why didn't Alena tell her about it when she had the opportunity? Unfortunately, this whole story with Trusova and Kostornaya traveling to Plushenko and back remains muddy and strange. Almost like the Kennedy assassination.


Record Breaker
Apr 26, 2018
And she has strange ideas about what a psychologist should do. It is unlikely, for example, that this specialist will replace Eteri and pull cutlets out of the skater's plate.

Eteri shouldn't "pull cutlets out of the skater's plate" either…. No one should. It's just insane for a coach to do that to little kids and a sure way to mess with their body image growing up. I'm sure any psychologist would shudder at the very idea.

It is not entirely clear who made fun of her in the Tutberidze group. Gleichengauz is too refined for this, and I can’t even imagine Dudakov humiliating little girls. Only Zheleznikov remains (but he works somewhere in the background) and Eteri herself. But if it was Eteri - why didn't Alena tell her about it when she had the opportunity?

An interview by Panenkova I found with about ~2 minutes of search. She describes a very similar situation — jokes being made (and, from the way she framed it, it sounds like jokes about her weight…)

"I told my mother: “I’m scared to go on the ice.” And I skated near the boards so that she would not see me and would not tease me. In the group, everyone was thin, flat – I was the only girl who formed quite early. I tried to hide my body so that nothing could be seen. And once, after some sharp joke, I broke and started to cry. Daniil Gleikhengauz even reassured me – Eteri Georgievna just wants you to be better."

I don't want to imagine what "jokes" were made about these girls because it makes my blood boil, so I'll just leave this here.

Anyway, it's pretty similar to what Alena described. Some shut down, take the humiliation and internalise it, like Zhenya, Alina and Anna seem to have done. Others, like Panenkova, cry. And then others, like Alena, will stand up for themselves and talk back. No response is "wrong" per se. The only thing wrong is adults creating such a toxic environment in the first place. :(

As for Alena, she did tell the coaches about the things that bothered her, in fact, she explicitly describes it.

"There was a dialogue, but nothing changed. So yes, they talked to me. But no more than that. And they immediately made it clear to me: “We will not change to please you or other athletes. As we worked according to a certain methodology, we will continue to do so, and nothing will change.” Older or younger, no change. But in fact, at some point you realize that you know your body better than a another person."

I believe this was about injury management but the coaches' words are very clear here "nothing will change". They've said this before. In fact, everything regarding the coaches' methods Alena said has been confirmed by other athletes or Tutberidze/Gleikhengauz themselves. There's literally countless of interviews out there with similar content. Students talking about coaches yelling, shouting, about having to perform on injuries, about coaches making them skate even with broken bones. Tutberidze herself said that Alena "could have skated at RusNats" with her arm in a cast. Daily weigh ins, Tutberidze being the "nutritionist", powdered diets, kids ordered to lose weight in a specific timeframe without caring for how they do it. Alena's accounts of the coaching methods are internally consistent and, more importantly, they're consistent with what other students have said before her. There's just so much stuff right out there in the open, it's been going on for years.

Thus, what Alena said in her interview didn't come as a revelation, but merely as confirmation.