‘Why did you let it go?’ Coach demands answers from distraught Valieva
Kamila Valieva’s notoriously demanding coach appeared to have little sympathy after the teenage Russian’s hopes of Beijing Olympic figure skating gold evaporated Thursday in a disastrous performance.
The 15-year-old was in the global spotlight after the Court of Arbitration for Sport controversially ruled that she could stay on at the Games despite failing a drugs test.
Her tender age also put the focus on the people around her and especially Eteri Tutberidze, who has been highly successful in developing a stable of world-class teenage Russian skaters but whose strict methods have been questioned.
The 47-year-old Tutberidze, dubbed the “Snow Queen,” was the first person to greet the visibly upset Valieva as she came off the ice, her hopes of gold or even a medal in tatters after falling several times in a calamitous free skate that saw her finish fourth.
“Why did you let it go? Why did you let it go? Tell me,” Tutberidze can be heard demanding of her young charge, as Valieva tries to compose herself.
“You let it go.”
Tutberidze later put her arm around a visibly upset Valieva as she waited for her score.
Valieva’s 17-year-old teammates Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, who are also coached by Tutberidze, won gold and silver respectively.
Shcherbakova had sympathy for Valieva, who had been the pre-Games favorite and could yet be punished for taking the banned substance trimetazidine, which boosts endurance.
“I saw Kamila’s performance and I really felt for her because from the first jump you could see that it was going badly,” said Shcherbakova.
There were high emotions in the Russian camp in the immediate aftermath, with Trusova angry and heard to say: “I hate this sport, I hate this sport, I hate all of it. I won’t go to the medal ceremony… I don’t want to go.”
Valieva could be seen being hugged by a member of the Russian coaching staff.
Trusova later composed herself, but did not rule out quitting skating.
“Of course these were only emotions and I’ll think it over and later on I’ll take a decision what I’m going to do in the future,” she told reporters.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.