'Why did you let it go?' Coach demands answers from distraught Valieva | Inquirer Sports

‘Why did you let it go?’ Coach demands answers from distraught Valieva

/ 03:52 PM February 18, 2022
amila Valieva falls as she competes in the women's single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 17, 2022.

Russia’s Kamila Valieva falls as she competes in the women’s single skating free skating of the figure skating event during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at the Capital Indoor Stadium in Beijing on February 17, 2022. (Photo by Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP)

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.

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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.

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“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.”

eijing, China - February 17, 2022. Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee reacts with coaches Daniil Gleikhengauz and Eteri Tutberidze after her performance.

2022 Beijing Olympics – Figure Skating – Women Single Skating – Free Skating – Capital Indoor Stadium, Beijing, China – February 17, 2022. Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee reacts with coaches Daniil Gleikhengauz and Eteri Tutberidze after her performance. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

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.”

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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.

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TAGS: Beijing 2022, Kamila Valieva, Russia, Winter Olympics
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