Figure skating is a pretty brutal sport. At 26, it’s entirely possible to be considered a veteran here. But Elizaveta Tuktamysheva is not bothered by this status: every year, she goes to the starts and often finishes in the first three, imposing a fight on much younger skaters. Fans used to call her the Empress – and she lives up to that nickname.
Photo credit: Koki Nagahama/Gettyimages
Elizabeth was born in Udmurtia – in the city of Glazov. Already at a young age, she loved her current coach Alexei Mishin – having won the Cup named after him. But he didn’t bring her to him the first time, believing that Lisa’s technique was flawed. But he soon changed his mind. Tuktamysheva, along with her first trainer Svetlana Veretennikova, traveled twice a month from Glazov to Saint Petersburg to train with Mishin for five years. The family moved to the northern capital only in 2011, seeing the success of their daughter.
The trips to the eminent coach were not in vain. Already in 2009, at the age of 12, Tuktamysheva took part in her first adult championship of Russia, where she immediately took second place. Then she was called a child prodigy: she performed an axel in three and a half turns and a combination of “triple lutz – triple toe loop”, had the entire arsenal of triple jumps and even trained a quadruple! But according to ISU rules, she was still too young for international competitions for adults. Therefore, for some time she shone only on her native ice.
In 2010, the figure skater performed for the first time at the international junior start – and immediately won it. It was the stage of the Romanian Grand Prix. In the series finale, she became the runner-up, losing to Adelina Sotnikova (she also lost the Russian championship a year earlier). At the World Junior Championships, she also finished second – Sotnikova was again on the top step of the podium.
In the 2011/12 season, the skater made her debut in the adult Grand Prix. Tuktamysheva won the stage in Canada and then in France, but she made a lot of mistakes in the series finale and couldn’t get into the top three. But she got into the national girls’ team and accompanied her to the Youth Olympics, where she won gold medals.
Elizaveta Tuktamysheva in 2012
Photo credit: Julian Finney/Gettyimages
Tuktamysheva’s best year was 2015, when she won gold at the World and European Championships and won the Grand Prix Final. Previously, these three competitions in one season were submitted only to Irina Slutskaya. It was this year that Elizabeth earned her famous nickname.
The figure skater also began the following year successfully on the international stage, but at the national championship she showed one of the worst results – eighth place. This did not allow him to qualify for the world and European championships. The following season went the same way. The Olympic year also did not bring success to the skater – she could not qualify for the Beijing Games. It wasn’t until 2019 that Elizabeth once again went to the world championship – by team – where she helped the Russian team win bronze.
The skater missed the 2020/21 quarantine season due to illness. Tuktamysheva suffered from coronavirus, did not have time to fully recover, but went to the start of the Russian championship, made many mistakes and became only the seventh. At the Russian Cup, she became the fourth, and for the first time since 2015 she took part in the World Cup. In Stockholm, the figure skater won silver. This year, three Russians made it to the podium all at once.
Photo source: Tom Szczerbowski / Gettyimages
Another year – and a whole series of successes at the Grand Prix and national competition stages. Like never before in the 2021/2022 season, Tuktamysheva was on her way to the first Adult Olympics of her career. She was the national team’s first substitute, but returned from training camp.
In the season that ended, she did not perform very well in the show jumping tournament, but she became third in the Russian championship.
The next season will be the 16th of her career for Tuktamysheva! And this despite the fact that the age of figure skaters is considered short: few single skaters go to the second Olympic cycle. But Elizabeth continues to shine – and she won’t end. No wonder she is empress!
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