Russian figure skating star Evgenia Medvedeva has opened up about her relations with former coach Eteri Tutberidze, saying that she didn’t ask her to keep rival Alina Zagitova in juniors for one more year.
Two-time world champion Medvedeva had been the main frontrunner to clinch Olympic gold in PyeongChang earlier this year, but finished second after she was sensationally beaten by first year senior Zagitova.
Several months after the Olympics, the skater parted ways with long-time coach Tutberidze, sparking rumors that there had been a conflict between them.
The world-renowned coach, who appeared infuriated by Medvedeva’s step, told Russia’s Channel One in spring that the athlete had condemned her for allowing Zagitova to compete at the Olympics.
“There was a really childish phrase dropped by Zheny [Medvedeva], ‘Couldn’t you have kept Alina in the juniors for one more year?’” Tutberidze said. “I told her, ‘Zhenya what are you talking about?’ We should provide equal opportunities for everyone.”
Medvedeva, who hadn’t commented on her split with Tutberidze, has finally broken her silence, rejecting the claims that she had intended for Zagitova to be held back.
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“I didn’t say that. I don’t remember exactly, but even if I said something, I didn’t mean it like this,” Medvedeva was quoted as saying by NBC Sports. “That made me confused. I started to think, ‘When [did] I say this?’ and I don’t remember.”
“Just not to allow any discussion about my words: I just want to say the judging was really justice. The judging was correct,” Medvedeva said. “I saw how Alina worked all the time, and she worked really hard. I don’t know why a lot of people decided [that] I think the judging was incorrect,” she added.
The 18-year-old also stressed that she is thankful to Tutberidze for helping her development as a top class skater, adding that she learned a lot of lessons from her, which she will remember “with gratitude.”