Polina Shelepen Interview | Golden Skate

Polina Shelepen Interview


Record Breaker
Mar 18, 2015
Polina Shelepen "There is no tragedy in my departure from sport"

Polina on coaching, life, Eteri, japanese fans and other stuff

Interview: https://matchtv.ru/figure-skating/m...ervju_pervoj_uchenicy_Tutberidze_dla_Match_TV
Translated by me

Q: Polina, as far as I know, as a coach, you started working at CSKA school. It's true?

A: I just came back from America after I decided to end my career, when Svetlana Vladimirovna Sokolovskaya called me to find out if I really quit skating. She asked me to come and talk. She offered me to skate with her - in case I change my mind. But, by then, I already decided everything. She asked: “What will you do? Here, I have small children, try to choach, if you like it - you will continue. " And it was the right push for me. I didn’t plan to be a coach, because I didn’t plan to quit so early, at the age of 19, but I immediately fell in love with it.

Then we stopped cooperation, because I went to another city to try my hand.

Q: If I am not mistaken, was it Angarsk?

A: Yes, Angarsk. I did not work there for long. Angarsk is far from Moscow, and since I’m close with my family, it was hard for me when I couldn’t come tomorrow and help if there were any problems. This was the main reason why I left it.

Q: Your day now starts early, at 7 am its the first session already. Is it easy for you?

A: Getting up early is not easy, but such a schedule is chosen so that the children have time to somehow study in school.

To me, getting up early is always different. It happens that after the afternoon workout I still have additional classes, and they end late - at 9-10 pm, so I do not get enough sleep. But the main thing is to force yourself to get up in the morning and get to the rink. When I go out on the ice, both the vigor and the mood are good right away.

Q: You have the experience of being on both sides of the borders of a skating rink. It is easier to jump yourself or explain how to?

A: All children are different: someone quickly grasps, and you think - oh, and it took me long to get this. And sometimes the process is so hard that I am ready to go and jump myself.

But often it still seems to me that it is easier to do it myself. With performances as well. I was once asked what is easier - to lead an athlete or to perform myself. When a student performs in competitions, the coach turns into a helpless person who just stands and watches. You are already powerless, but you hope that you have prepared him correctly, got him ready correctly, so the athlete will manage it.

Q: Is there some kind of general algorithm, how to get an athlete ready, or is it all individual?

A: Individually. One needs to be prepared seriously so that he gets it all together. The other, on the other hand, is very self absorbed and we talk about abstract topics - “what is your brother doing?”, “Where do we go after the competition?” - this is relaxing. Sometimes it happens that the athlete is scared. And although I'm scared too, I need to show: “I am not worried. I believe in you".

Q: For you, is there a difference in how to find the approach to a boy or girl?

A: In three years of coaching, it was easier to get along with the boys. If the boy falls, he gets up, calmly skates to you and listens. Girls are more emotional. After a fall, they may cry, get upset, and before criticizing, the girl needs to be reassured. There is more subtle psychological work with them, while the boys take longer to "get it", let's say: they need time to understand the technique.

I love working with everyone, you just need to remember that children are different. In girls, I like their lines and accuracy. There are exceptional boys, but on average it is easier for girls to achieve visual purity and beauty of movements - they are by nature softer, more flexible and attentive to details.

Q: How can you teach a child to do what you have never done? Quad jumps, for example. Or how is the situation generally resolved if the coach was an ice dancer in the past and trains singles?

A: There are athletes who jumped perfectly in the past, but this does not automatically make them good coaches. There are reverse examples. If you understand the jump, see the mistakes and can explain them to the student, it is not that important if you could jump yourself.

For example, I have already faced with training of quads. Then I reviewed a lot of videos, figured out how different athletes jumped, paid attention to some details, and recorded the athlete in training. He and I went through the whole process together. Thank God, everything went well, and we did it. I was so happy, as if we won the Olympics, no less. And everyone around also congratulated us. This is a big step forward, and a motivation. You coach triples constantly, but you need to reach the quads.

Q: How did you understand that the boy is ready for the quad Salchow?

A: It was his desire initially. I delayed this moment as best I could. He is not from Moscow, he is from a region, and in principle he was not in a hurry for this quad. But my colleagues already started telling me that I am not letting the boy develop. Once, in training, he came to me and said, let's try. I was standing with my eyes closed because of fear. The quad is a big responsibility. With it, you can have a huge fall, you can break. Purely physically and technically he could do this, but for a long time I wasn’t psychologically ready. I was lucky to have an athlete who was not afraid himself and was really ready.

You cannot force a quadruple jump on someone who is not ready yet, who is afraid. It must be a mutual desire.

Q: Is the athlete's strong desire and fearlessness the key factors for a successful quadruple jump?

A: Of course. That is why it is very important to talk with athletes. Suppose a coachwants all his students to become Olympic champions. But we understand that this does not happen. A teenager, in his head, already has his own goals, he understands approximately what he needs. You ask: "What do you want?" And he says, for example, to complete the master of sports and go to study, into business. Why does he need a quad? It is necessary to coordinate your goals with the goals of the students when they are already grown ups.

Q: You studied to be a technical specialist Did you work in this area?

A: No, I did not work in judging, it is not my thing. But every coach must understand the rules, so I’ve learned. I must know how my athlete will be punished for this or that technical error, how he will be rewarded for a good original performance.

Q: Don't you think that the current system of judging is too cruel to athletes? An athlete is punished three times for a fall in a jump with an underrotation - the base value is reduced,, and GOE, and a penalty point is applied.

A: When the new rules first came out, I was terrified. I thought, how could it be - you lose so many points for a fall. But half a year has passed, almost a season, I traveled to competitions with athletes and got more into these amendments. We began to see more clean skates. Easier content, but cleaner skates, which is good.

For a landing into turns, they now give not -3, as before, but -2-3 on a five-point scale - this is not so scary. If you fall from an underrotated jump, of course, you will get low points. But it motivates athletes to learn to jump cleanly.

Q: How can one solve the underrotations problem?

A: We must look at the situation. One does not have enough strength, and then you need to work on legs strength, increase the height of the jump. Someone has a wrong technique, and you need to work on it.

Q: You ar studying coaching in university. Does it help in your work?

A: I learned about the physiology of children, how it changes as they grow up; about psychology, which plays a huge role in our sport. The university does not help much with understanding the technique of elements; personal experience is more important here.

Q: You do seasonal camps for figure skaters, not only for your own athletes. Why do we need such events?

A: These camps are primarily important to regional athletes. In the regions, coaches sometimes lack knowledge, and then they come to the training camp with their children, to learn. And there is a reverse situation - you correct the child's jump, teach the right technique, and he returns home and continues to jump with the coach in the old way. So its work into nothing.

Camps are also useful when parents think about moving Moscow and doubt whether it is worth it. At the training camp, they can try their hand. If the child progresses, it makes sense to continue to talk about moving.

For "ours", the camps are useful because you have a change, get out of the routine. In addition, our athletes usually come without parents, and this is a big plus to independence.

And, of course, there is always more ice at the training camp. There is time to work on gliding, jumping, spinning.

Q: On ask.fm you were asked what kind of charitable foundation you would like to create. You answered - “a fund to save talented athletes who do not have the money to practice this wonderful sport.” Is figure skating a really expensive sport?

A: Yes. It is not good to compare children with business, but for every parent, when he puts a child into the sport and wants to get a result, this is essentially a business project. First, you only invest, getting losses, and then, if the athlete achieves results, there is a chance to recover everything invested. Then, later, you have the opportunity to stop paying for coaching, costumes and trips to competitions, but first you really have to spend your money. It always has been like this.

But you need to think on your investments. Some parents think that huge investments are a guarantee of results, and they do it fanatically. And the child, as a result, is too loaded up, gets tired and loses all motivation, because he has 7 hours of training a day, and also additional classes for off ice training, stretching and gliding.

Q: Do you, as a coach, interfere with the communication within your group? Make sure there are no conflicts, or leave it for students to solve?

A: If it does not interfere with the training process, I would not get involved. Because it is their life, and it should not concern me. But if they decide to let me know about the problem themselves, or conflicts occur during the training, of course, my task is to intervene.

Q: Is it possible to do sports seriously and not have eating disorders?

A: Yet. But you need two factors to come together: an attentive coach and sensitive parents. Of course, it is necessary and important to watch the weight, but never go over the edge of health. A child, due to age and lack of understanding, can take a wrong path, and this should be controlled. It is very important to have trust between all parties that are close to the child.

People sometimes made remarks that I have friendly relations with athletes. But this, firstly, is logical because of our small age difference. And secondly, if I feel an athlete, I can immediately understand that something is wrong with him.

If I do not know anything about the child, how will I coach him? One needs to be scolded, another must be left alone. Someone else also has personal problems, and if you scold him, he will just get more and more into himself, then I will lose him altogether.

Q: Does a coach adopt the work style of those who coached him during his sports career?

A: I think yes. There were moments already when they said that I was very similar to Eteri Georgievna, always referring to this as a compliment.

Q: You also look similar.

A: Yes, that too. I have naturally curly hair, like Eteri Georgievna, and we were compared even when I was a child. But the main thing that was passed on to me from her was love for our work. I think this is one of the reasons why I am good at coaching. I love children very much, I love ice very much, and my work in this sense is a dream work.

As far as I remember Eteri Georgievna - no matter how tired she was, what problems she had and how she felt when she came to the rink, she was always fine on the ice. It was giving me a charge. I want my athletes at work to see me the same - full of strength and desire to coach.

Q: What is the cutest gift the pupils gave you?

A: They give so much, it is difficult to pick one thing. At home, I got a whole stand with their drawings, sculptures and other gifts. But I remember, especially: on the last birthday, and it always happens during the camps, one mother drew a blade, and the children added small leaves with wishes — a lot of pleasant words. When I was leaving Angarsk, the children gave me a rabbit doll in a copy of my dress. I love things that remind me of my programs.

Q: Speaking of programs. What is your favorite?

A: “Swan Lake” and “Korobushka”, probably. It was not always possible to skate them as intended, but they are still the most heartwarming
for me.

Q: Did you feel the psychological pressure on yourself when the first serious sports results appeared?

A: The first season, no, because there was not much competition. And then - yes, it was hard, especially at domestic Russian competitions. For me, the most difficult competitions have always been the championship of Russia and the championship of Russia among juniors. High competition, a chance to be selected for Europe or for the junior worlds, participation in the national team - that's all.

The last championship of Russia was hard. I failed the short there and more or less coped with the free. After a short time, there was the junior championship, where I put out two clean skates. Everyone could not understand how, in a month, you can improve the form so much. And I simply let go the fact that I was again not selected for Europe.

I also told my mother before the championship that I didn’t want to go, there would be so many jumping girls, again I would be fifth - sixth. Mom said to try to skate clean, and there - come what may. I became the second in the end, and we went to the World Junior Championships with Yulia Lipnitskaya. It was funny, I did not expect this at all.

Q: When you ended your career, was it a weighted or a spontaneous decision?

A: It was a spontaneous decision. The last two years after leaving Tutberidze were very difficult for me psychologically. The very peak of puberty, injury, moving to another country, where I did not have a single friend, not speaking of close people. At some point, I realized that I would no longer compete, because I was really scared. Perhaps, there was not enough support. Someone to tell me: “It’s just necessary to endure it now, and then everything will be fine.” And in response to my words about me wanting to quit, I heard: “Well then, go home.”

And I said: “Hooray, thank God, home!”, and when I got on the plane, I realized what I had done. But I was more worried not about how to return, but about what to do next. Because I devoted all my life to figure skating and knew nothing else. Going to shows with an injury was not an option, coaching - and how to start? Where to begin? And here goes a big "thank you" to Svetlana Vladimirovna [Sokolovskaya], because she gave me a shoulder in a difficult moment.

Q: What was your injury?

A: I got injured in an absolutely stupid way, and it makes the hate towards Sokolovskaya especially funny, that supposedly she was the one to blame for it. I just fell on a crossover after a jump, and then I was wrongly diagnosed. I was told something about distention, then strain, but with all these diagnoses, in principle, you can skate. And I skated for half a year, without competing. Then I went to skate for Israel, when Iwas out of the Russian national team.

Already from Israel, I was offered a trip to do a check up. It turned out that all this time we had been treating the wrong thing, and since I had been skating for half a year, complications began: the ligament was thorn, the bones got apart and a cartilage grew. It was necessary to do a surgery. I reacted calmly to this, because surgeries in sport are not rare, and sometimes, a month after the surgery, athletes already skate. I went to the surgery in a positive spirit.

As a result, I recovered for four months just to start walking. And only six months later I went out on the ice. Naturally, I have never had such a long break in training. A year after the surgery, I restored all the triples. At the age of 18-19 years, losing a year of training is a lot.

Can you imagine how important is the correct diagnosis? Israeli doctors said that with correct diagnosis and treatment I would have missed just two weeks on the ice. And it happened that I only aggravated the situation. It felt tolerable. And the MRI showed later that I couldn’t skate in principle - the ligament was torn.

Q: What were you doing int the time when you could not skate?

A: I missed the ice. When you spend all your life in sports, you lead an active lifestyle. And here you just lie, sit and ... nothing more. I remember the first day especially well, because I didn’t know where to put myself.

After surgery, we faced another problem. Due to my limited mobility, all the muscles in my legs lost strengthp - to the extent that I couldn’t even jump on one foot. I had to re-train them.

Q: How did you switch from Russia to Israel?

A: For the first time, I was offered to compete for Israel at the age of fourteen. Negotiations went through my parents, and I did not know in principle that I had Israeli roots - a great-great-grandfather, it seems.

It was not very difficult for me to obtain citizenship precisely because there are real relatives. But then, we refused, because I was just going through the first international junior season for Russia and I performed well.

I remember, many said - why do you need this Israel? And I now understand that if I had not moved, I would have finished skating immediately after the injury. Because we did not solve the problem with the leg. The Israeli Federation took me, paid for my surgery and rehabilitation, for which I am very grateful. I just came, did not have time to win anything for them, but they showed great care. Of course, I had the citizenship of Israel, I did not just come from Russia - but despite this, no one was obliged to solve my problems.

This experience helped me understand that something good can be learned from each situation.

Q: How does the change of federations take place technically? You go to Russian Federation, write a statement ... and then?

A: That's right, but first the Israeli Federation and the Russian entered into negotiations on this matter. First of all, there must be an agreement at the highest level. It was not very easy, because then I was a member of the national team. But they managed to come to an agreement peacefully.

Q: Looking back, would you change something in your sports career?

A: Globally, I would not change anything. Any change in the past would lead to change in the future, and I am now more than happy with my life. I have a favorite job and close people nearby. Only one moment is to correct, perhaps: it would be worth it to immediately treat my injury. But in general, there is no tragedy in my departure from sport.

And I am glad that I had a difficult period in America. People live in a completely different way there, they have a different approach to coaching. This is an invaluable experience.

Q: Who coached you in America?

A: Roman Serov, he works with the Israeli team of singles. He, of course, got a complicated athlete - an adult, after an injury, who first came to the USA. He took it well and even managed to restore all the triples, supported me as best as he could.

Q: You had strong power jumps during your career. Is it a feature of nature or a trained quality?

A: I really never had any particular problems with jumping, so I dare to assume that this is natural. But as a child I was engaged in gymnastics and came to figure skating stretched and strong, already prepared for the sport.

Q: Eteri Georgievna is a strict coach. How did this affect the motivation of skaters to train?

A: For some reason, when people say that Eteri Georgievna is a strict coach, they picture her as a monster. I still hear it from those parents of my students, who know that I trained with Tutberidze. They look at me like I’ve been to hell and come back alive. But any coach at high level will not always stroke the athlete's head and ask him not to get upset. There are no such coaches in Russia.

This did not discourage us, because we all understood perfectly - the coach wants us to be better. Nobody shouted at us simply because of bad mood. If we scolded, there was a reason.

When you love your coach, there is no thought that you can get angry or upset at him because of criticism and rigor. He scolded - you went and corrected, did well, and now you have already been praised.

The athlete wins the competition, they hang a medal around his neck, and then no one remembers the moments when the coach was strict, shouted and swore. Everyone just remembers the amount of work behind this medal.

Q: How did you leave Eteri Georgievna?

A: The difficulty was that we worked together for a very long time. But the last season was difficult in terms of relationship. I now explain all this with my age. When you are 16-17 years old, it seems to you, event at home, that everybody is unjustly picking on you. You think: “You are all wrong, and I am a good fellow. Just leave me alone. ”

We had conflict situations and I, as a hot-tempered person, could sometimes walk out of the training session. I never allowed myself such a thing before, but in the last season it was even visible in my competitions: if Polina failed the competitions, it means that she left the training just the day before.

Then we went to the camp in Novogorsk, where all this continued. At some point I thought that I don't want to fight anymore. There is no progress anyway. The main problem was that I loved my coach very much and could not imagine how I would go to her and say goodbye. It would be painfully hard. I decided that the patch method would be suitable here - just rip it, that's all.

I returned to the room from a workout and wrote to my mother asking her to take me home from the camp. I took a couple of things with me, waited for my mother, and in Novogorsk I said that I needed to take a walk. We left. When they noticed I was missing, they started calling and searching, and then I had to admit that I had left completely.

I was then scolded by many for leaving like this, without saying goodbye to the coach. But understand - I couldn't do it in any other way at that age, and with our complicated relationship, despite all my love and affection.

I came later in Novogorsk with a bouquet. Since this is a guarded area, and I no longer lived there, they simply did not let me in — I had to send flowers for Eteri Georgievna with a note through the guards.

The transition was difficult for me, my next coach Svetlana Vladimirovna understood this and never raised this topic with me. Now I understand, being a coach, what it is like to lose my students. The departure is not easy for the athlete nor for the coach. Even if the coach himself lets the student go, realizing that he cannot offer him anything more, it is the same as giving his child to another family.

Therefore, it is unpleasant for me when journalists call and ask to comment on the departure of one of the students from Tutberidze. I do not give such comments, it is incorrect and wrong.

Q: Why did you choose precisely Sokolovskaya and CSKA?

A: In Moscow, there are not so many places where an adult athlete can go. Then, in fact, there were only 2 options - Khrustalny and CSKA. Initially, I came to Elena Germanovna [Buyanova], I trained for a week with her. But she said that she would not be able to give me the proper amount of time - right then Adelina Sotnikova was being coached into the Olympics [Sochi 2014]. Buyanova suggested me to go to Svetlana Vladimirovna - she liked me, and she was ready to take me. I didn’t want to waste time, and the national team skates were very near. In addition, the CSKA skating rink was close to my home, and I stayed.

Q: Are there any major differences in the training process at Khrustalny and at CSKA?

A: Of course, all the coaches are different, but I can not say that it was somewhere easier in terms of workload. At CSKA it was easier in terms of the schedule - the training started later, the break between them was longer, getting there took less time. I had 2 half-days and 1 day off, and in Khrustalny there was only one day off. But in terms of workload and frequency of skates, about the same amount as it was done at Sambo.

Q: Did the audience give you strength during the performances?

A: I have always loved to perform in front of the public. I especially felt it at the Japanese final of the junior grand prix. I could not imagine before the trip that there are such fans in Japan.

I got out on the ice, prepared to skate and I see that it is all all full. They supported not only when you jump or spin, but even applauded during the step sequence.

Then I performed so well, that I didn’t pay much attention to the toys thrown on the ice. When the competition ended, I walked down the hall and saw a bag of toys with my last name. It was such an euphoria! I quickly ran to my grandmother, she was traveling with me, and to Eteri Georgievna - to share my joy.

When I talk with athletes now about my personal experience, I tell everyone - I wish you to reach such a level enough to be able to perform in front of the Japanese audience. These impressions need to be felt and understood. There will be even higher results - great, but at least one such portion of love should be in the life of every athlete.

Q: What medal is the most precious to you?

A: Probably, my answer will be surprising, but this is the gold of my last students' Olympics. I went to three such tournaments and was the second three times. And at the fourth time I finally won.

And it was right after the junior worlds, i went there almost right from the plane. Then even the federation of Moscow came to me - finally a victory!

Of course, I also remember my two silvers in the grand prix finals. Those medals are even visually the most beautiful.

Q: What is the wisest thing you heard from Eteri Georgievna?

A: Oh, it is difficult (laughs). Here you can write a whole book. I will not bring literal quotes right now, just the most important things that I learned. She taught me to be a maximalist, critical of myself. In my head I hear her saying: "You can always be better." Now I am already broadcasting this to my athletes. And I still treat myself this way.

Q: Do you follow the competitions? What programs you like the most this season?

A: I watched Russian Championship, had no time for Europeans. I was checking just the scores.

This season, I am most touched by three programs - Jason Brown's short, “Angel” by Alena Kostornaya and “The Girl on the Ball” by Kamila Valieva.

Q: Do you think that Alena Kostornaya has a chance to win the championship? [the interview was done a few days before the russian junior championship]

A: There is a chance, but only if the competitors make mistakes, as it happened in the grand prix final. Without a quad, she can only win with a flawless skate and the mistakes of others. It's a shame, really. But I would not want her to take the path of triple axels and quadruple jumps - less injuries for her. I want to look at her longer, she looks great with the skills she has now. Such a Russian Carolina Kostner.

Q: You train trampoline jumping. Why this particular sport, what does it give you physically and emotionally?

A: Now I do it less, because work takes almost all the time. A friend brought me to the trampolines when I left the sport, but I wanted some new sensations, new exercises.

The coaches liked me, they immediately understood my sporting past - in rotation. I worked on it for two years, was doing some fairly difficult things already. But I understood that if I got injured, I would not be able to go on the ice. Now I rarely go.

Q: Movies, books, music. What do you like? Where do you draw strength and inspiration from?

A: In music mainly, I don’t spend a day without it. And the music can be any. Cinema is rare, I watch it little, because it takes long, I don't want to waste time. I like to read, I usually read on the road, I always take a book with me to competitions.

Q: I saw that you pointed out a book you liked, “Flowers for Algernon”.

A: It was suggested to me. I took the book on vacation and thought I would read it in a week. As a result, I swallowed it in three days, was very fascinated. Now I am reading the “Triumphal Arch”.

In general, I always was reading a lot. Eteri Georgievna got me used to it. It is important that you are always busy with something. You can not come home and laze around - this is what makes you relax. You need to be in good shape. The head should work even when the muscles are relaxed.

There was a story, I am a bit ashamed to even remember it now. We went to compete, got stuck in traffic. And Eteri Georgievna asked me to tell a certain poem. I did not know it, excused myself somehow, but Eteri Georgievna told me so many verses from memory! I thought - wow, how she even manages to have time for everything.

Q: Tutberidze makes an impression of a person with perfect self-organization, tough self-discipline and strong character.

A: When I started to skate with her, it was on a regular hockey rink. We looked for a lot of places, and trained in many different conditions... Eteri Georgievna fought to give us ice. And we already had some good results then.

And when they first came to Khrustalny, it was a real shock. We even got our own dressing room - usually we changed clothes in the corner after the hockey players. Eteri Georgievna really invested a lot of effort and work to make the school what it is. She gathered her team bit by bit. To survive all this and not break, you need to have a strong character.

So strange: for some reason, many people think that I hate her, that our relation is bad, but this is not true. Yes, we broke up not as vanilla as in the movies. But this is life.

In the spring of 2018, I came to Sambo-70 for work, not to specifically talk with Eteri Georgievna. But I realized that it was time to do it, it is impossible to postpone it any longer.

Of course, I was scared, I didn’t know how she would react to me - We hadn’t seen each other for so many years. I set myself on the worst case scenario but everything went well. Eteri Georgievna listened to me.

Q: What did Polina Shelepen dream about 5 years ago?

A: I was 18 ... it was right then that i had the injury and then a surgery. I wanted to walk normally and go back to the ice. Such uncomplicated dreams, I would say.

But I realized then how much I love figure skating. Without it, I could not.

Q: What are you dreaming now?

A: To become a good coach and grow champions. To help others to do in sport what I myself couldn't do. Do you know that feeling when you are already old for an athlete, but still young for a coach? Now, I seem to finally get out of this state.


Check out my YT channel, Bare Ice!
Record Breaker
May 19, 2011
Really wonderful interview. I enjoyed Shelepen in her junior days and was sad to see that she didn't make it far as senior. It's good to know that she has found something she's passionate about and, based off of her responses, she seems like she's a very good coach. I like that she focuses not only on the coaching aspect of coaching but on the human connection/understanding part with the kids she coaches. That all-around approach to an athlete seems like the best way to make sure you're not only nurturing and developing an athlete but a person as well.

Best of luck to her!


Final Flight
Jun 25, 2010
Great interview, I always wondered what happened to Polina, around 2011 she was touted as the next Russian superstar, and then she wasn't. Thanks for posting.


“I solemnly swear I’m up to no good”
Record Breaker
Dec 29, 2013
Really wonderful interview. I enjoyed Shelepen in her junior days and was sad to see that she didn't make it far as senior. It's good to know that she has found something she's passionate about and, based off of her responses, she seems like she's a very good coach. I like that she focuses not only on the coaching aspect of coaching but on the human connection/understanding part with the kids she coaches. That all-around approach to an athlete seems like the best way to make sure you're not only nurturing and developing an athlete but a person as well.

Best of luck to her!

I’ve been following her on Instagram for a very long time. She’s an adventous person. I loved the extreme mountain biking phase when she would post daily videos (most have been deleted) of her hitting dirt jumps on her bike. The whole #crazysheli era of her posting :laugh: Like this.


Now if she’s not coaching she’s doing trampoline park tricks. She’s certainly a thrill seeker but I also think she has a strong passion as a coach. I’ve always got a sense that she has a strong relationship with her students too. I love the videos she edits of her students and I’ve been spamming the Russian Ladies thread with her content for years. I’m so happy that she came out and declared that she’s doing alright and that her career ending wasn’t a tragedy. When you are a passionate person you tend to find things that you are passionate about.

I hope she gets a student on the JGP soon. Vika is really good and hopefully those 3z-3lo combos she’s been posting take them both to exciting places :pray:


Record Breaker
Jun 21, 2003
Thanks so much for the wonderful contribution, Moriel!!! :clapper:


“I solemnly swear I’m up to no good”
Record Breaker
Dec 29, 2013
Thanks so much for the wonderful contribution, Moriel!!! :clapper:

:agree: Yes Thank You Moriel :agree:

It’s a great read and very insightful interview.


Record Breaker
Mar 18, 2015
Just thought it was quite nice and refreshing, lots of information, lots of awesome insights and stuff


Mar 7, 2006
Thank you so much for the wonderful translation! Fascinating and honest. I wish her the best of luck.


Jan 18, 2017
Polina Shelepen "There is no tragedy in my departure from sport"

Polina on coaching, life, Eteri, japanese fans and other stuff

Interview: https://matchtv.ru/figure-skating/m...ervju_pervoj_uchenicy_Tutberidze_dla_Match_TV
Translated by me

There was a story, I am a bit ashamed to even remember it now. We went to compete, got stuck in traffic. And Eteri Georgievna asked me to tell a certain poem. I did not know it, excused myself somehow, but Eteri Georgievna told me so many verses from memory! I thought - wow, how she even manages to have time for everything.

I almost picture this moment. Eteri reciting dozens of stanzas from Lermontov and Pushkin poems, demonstrating her Soviet era education :biggrin:


Mar 29, 2016
Polina's student had landed a quad recently? Wow. I would love to see Polina-vs-Eteri coaching rivalry at some point soon. :popcorn:
FS forums and social media will go nuts! :handw:


Jun 28, 2014
Polina's student had landed a quad recently? Wow. I would love to see Polina-vs-Eteri coaching rivalry at some point soon. :popcorn:
FS forums and social media will go nuts! :handw:

Maybe even a Polina vs Yulia vs Eteri...


Gazing at a Glorious Great Lakes sunset
Record Breaker
Aug 12, 2014
The last championship of Russia was hard. I failed the short there and more or less coped with the free. After a short time, there was the junior championship, where I put out two clean skates. Everyone could not understand how, in a month, you can improve the form so much. And I simply let go the fact that I was again not selected for Europe.

This is the most interesting part of a totally fascinating interview. She let go of a perceived failure, and immediately she put out two clean skates. Like something inside her was freed, so that allowed her to live up to her true capability.



Final Flight
Feb 11, 2007
I didn't throw anything in at the GPF/JGPF in Yoyogi back in 2009 but I'm glad I found out that my applauds were appreciated by her.
I remember in the junior ladies freeskate Ashley and Grant were in the audience cheering too.
It's really a pity the doctor that Polina consulted first gave a wrong diagnosis and partially ruined her career. Interesting to hear that Roman Serov helped her regain all her triples. I didn't have a good impression of him from his coaching Elene G after she left Zmievskaya.


Record Breaker
Mar 7, 2014
Thanks for that long translation!

How did I not realize Polina was only 23 years old?! :eeking: I was thinking she was around Alena Leonova’s age; who was born in 1990, Polina in 1995. It’s crazy how different a five year age gap pans out in figure skating, it’s almost like they’re in completely different “generations.” I must’ve had her confused with someone else. Anyway. She sounds like a smart woman who’s content with the direction her skating career and now coaching career have gone. I’m wishing her all the best with her coaching career and hope to see her with her students on the world stage soon. :)

This is slightly off topic, but on the subject of “different generations” - I just went and looked up the Wikipedia article listing all the medalists at Russian nationals over the years. It seems like between 1999 and 2009, there was an age shift in the ladies field. We went from skaters who were born in the 1970s, like Irina Slutskaya, Maria Butyrskaya, and I see Elena Sokolova in there too, who was born in 1980. These ladies then retired and passed the torch along to the 1990s babies: Adelina S, Liza T, Alena Leonova, Ksenia Makarova, Ksenia Doronina, etc. I guess my point by bringing it up here, is that I just thought it was an interesting “age shift” worth pointing out. I just never noticed it before. That and I’m a 1983 baby, so it was odd to not see many close to my age on the list.