Lausanne, Switzerland
Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) FCFSC 2019©International Skating Union (ISU) 1128430832
Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2019©International Skating Union (ISU)

Elizabet Tursynbaeva just skated into history at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2019 in Anaheim (USA) earlier this year, becoming the first female figure skater from Kazakhstan to step on an ISU Championship podium when she won the silver medal. Sitting in sixth following the Short Program, Elizabet went for a quadruple Salchow in the Free Skating. She fell, but then completed all other elements including seven triple jumps to move up to second place.

“I feel very happy and it [the result] was unexpected because I was sixth after the short program. I didn’t think that I could be on the podium,” the skater, who turned 19 on Valentine’s Day, said. “I tried the quad Salchow for the first time in competition. Before I was going here, I was not sure if I will do it, because I just started to working on this jump in the program two weeks ago. I fell on the jump but I’ll keep trying and hope to do it better in the next competition. That’s the goal,” she added.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) GPFS RUS 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 1062859482

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Championships (RUS) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 

Tursynbaeva had been practicing the quadruple Salchow for a while, but had to stop when she had a hip injury and then she didn’t feel ready for it. “Now I’m a bit stronger and can train it not only a few times a week but every day,” she noted. She resumed training the jump a few weeks ago and then started to include it in her program just before the Four Continents Championships. “I went for it thanks to my coaches who believed in me that I can perform difficult jumps and that pushed me to try it in competition,” Elizabet pointed out. “Before I didn’t go for it, I thought the jump is probably not good enough. Now I know it will be easier for me.”

 
 
 
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Step by step😌 #4S

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The newly minted Four Continents silver medalist plans to include the quadruple Salchow that she landed in practice and even in the six minutes warm up in Anaheim again at the Universiade in Krasnioarsk (RUS) in March.

Elizabet has not only been training the quad Salchow. “Actually I’ve tried already the [quad] toe, about one and a half years ago. I landed it without the harness with a little under rotation. Basically, the jump is similar to the Salchow. I also trained the triple Axel in the summer and it went quite well. But then I had to stop then because of an injury,” she shared. She plans to return to these elements after the season has ended. “What else to do after the competitions than trying to learn something new?”, she said with a smile.

 
 
 
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👯🙆💃

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Tursynbaeva, who followed her older brother Timur into skating, was born and raised in Moscow (RUS) where she started her career, but she and her family decided to represent Kazakhstan, her father’s home country, in competition. She trained in Eteri Tutberidze’s group alongside up and coming Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS), but with the Sochi Olympic Winter Games 2014 approaching, Russian sports authorities didn’t appreciate it when Russian coaches worked with foreigners. In 2013 Elizabet had to go elsewhere. The skater and her parents decided to turn to Brian Orser in Canada. However, obtaining the Canadian visa turned out to be very complicated and took a long time. As a result, Tursynbaeva trained mostly by herself in Moscow during the 2013/14 and 2014/15 seasons. “There were difficult times when I had to train myself with my mom, when we didn’t have the visa [for Canada]. It was hard, I had to train in Russia in shopping centers and on public skating sessions for about half a year. In this time, my mom helped me a lot,” the skater recalled.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) with coach Brian Orser and Mom FCFSC 2017©International Skating Union (ISU) 635624882

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) with coach Brian Orser and her mother at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships 2017©International Skating Union (ISU)

Eventually she moved to Toronto full-time and worked with Brian Orser, who guided her to a top-ten finish at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships 2017 and to 12th place at the Olympic Winter Games 2018 in PyeongChang. Following the Olympic season, Tursynbaeva decided to return to Moscow and to coach Tutberidze.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) GPFS CAN 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 1054056740

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (CAN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

“It’s about what you’re looking for. Everywhere there are plusses and minuses. For some the training in Canada is more suitable and for others the training in Russia is more suitable. I like training in Russia. Everything is focused on the result,” Elizabet explained. “Some prefer to train in a more calm way, some prefer to train in how they train in Russia. I think I found my place,” she continued.

Elizabet doesn’t regret to have trained in Toronto for a few years: “When I lived in Canada, I learned English, that is a big plus. We travelled to competitions together and when Brian was unable to come to a competition as he has many students, my mom also went with me. We did quite well. You can say I learned in Canada to work by myself.” Eventually Tursynbaeva prefers the more group-oriented training in Russia over the more individual approach in Canada. “In Russia the coaches are working with all of us at the same time. There are many coaches and they all manage to help everyone and to watch everyone,” she shared.

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) GPFS CAN 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 1054468462

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (CAN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Another important reason for Elizabet to return to Moscow was that she missed her family. “It is hard to train so far away from my family all the time. I hardly saw them, like once in half a year. At home it is now a lot easier. Eteri Tutberidze took me back and I am very happy about that,” she said.

Now she is training under Tutberizde, Sergei Dudakov and Daniil Gleikhengauz. The latter also choreographed her programs for this season, “Moonlight Sonata” by Ludwig van Beethoven in the Short Program and the Tango piece “Otono Porteno” by Astor Piazzolla for the Free Skating. “The coaches are always picking music that is suitable for you. But I can suggest something myself.

Alina Zagitova (RUS) Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) with their coaches Eteri Tutberidze, Sergei Dudakov (L)Choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz(R)2018©GettyImages  923226462

Alina Zagitova (RUS) Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS) with their coaches Eteri Tutberidze, Sergei Dudakov (L)Choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz(R) at the Winter Olympic Games 2018©Getty Images

They gave me the music to listen to and I liked it. Then we mounted the programs,” Elizabet said. “It is always hard to find music. I probably like classical music like in my short program.”

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) GPFS CAN 2018©International Skating Union (ISU) 1054056724 (1)

Elizabet Tursynbaeva (KAZ) at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating (CAN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

On the ice it is hard to tell the delicate Kazakh apart from the flower girls, but in fact she is already studying in her last year in a sports college in Astana (KAZ) and plans to graduate later this year. Elizabet graduated from music school and plays the violin and piano, but she has not so much time for that now. “Now I don’t have much time to play, because of the training. We leave [home] in the morning and come back only in the evening. I miss playing, of course,” she shared. But maybe one day she’ll skate to a recording of music that she performed herself.

 
 
 
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Last one. I promise😅

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