Reigning European figure skating champion Alena Kostornaia has opened up about her decision to quit Eteri Tutberize’s group, condemning the renowned coach for “inappropriate behavior.”
The 17-year-old skater openly voiced her disappointment over Tutberidze’s training methods right after the split, adding that her complaints had been constantly snubbed by coaches.
Kostornaia confirmed that she hadn’t wanted to share the ice with other skaters, stressing, however, that she didn’t mean top-class contenders, but children, who disturbed her during her training sessions.
“I think that athletes like me and Anna (Shcherbakova), and even Kamila (Valieva), shouldn’t be training with 10-year-old kids,” Kostornaia said.
“I told our coaches we already had eight skaters on the ice, the pace of the training session was insane, and they needed to be cautious about allowing more skaters to join us. And yet they told four more to come onto the ice and these kids didn’t even know what to do and simply bothered us during training. It irritated me so much,” she said.
The winner of the 2019 ISU Grand Prix final revealed that Tutberidze remained deaf to her request to change her newly staged short program, which she didn’t like. After there had been numerous such complaints and misunderstandings over a season, Kostornaia decided to leave the group, nonetheless expressing gratitude to her former coach for the goals she’d achieved with her.
Soon after their final phone conversation, Tutberidze announced Kostornaia’s departure on Instagram, stating that the skater had a list of “non-grata skaters” with whom she didn’t want to train.
“I informed Eteri of my decision and she immediately made an Instagram post!” Kostornaia said. “I just think that if a person chooses to leave, she might have serious reasons for doing that – no one leaves without a good reason. And that Instagram post was insulting. [I’d say to her] ‘If you were really that hurt, let’s meet and you can tell me straight to my face.’ I don’t think her behavior was correct, but I don’t want to judge anyone,” she concluded.
Kostornaia said her new coach Evgeni Plushenko’s training methods differed from Tutberidze’s approach, in that “no one shouts” at her if she fails to achieve perfection every time.