For Russian skating star Medvedeva, a huge change was necessary to keep going

For Russian skating star Medvedeva, a huge change was necessary to keep going

TORONTO – She was not supposed to be sitting here, in a coach’s office at a skating club in Canada. Yevgenia Medvedeva is Russian, just 18 years old, figure skating world champion in 2016 and 2017, and only eight months ago winner of the singles silver medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

Barely two months after the Olympics, she left her Russian coach of 10 years, Eteri Tutberidze, who had guided her to the top of the figure skating world, for reasons Medvedeva has not discussed except in general terms. The move she made was startling and utterly unexpected.

Star Russian skaters stay in Russia. Never before had one of the sport’s pre-eminent Russians left the country to train with a non-Russian coach. Not since Michelle Kwan in 2001 had a skater with a career record as brilliant on the world and Olympic level as Medvedeva’s made such a dramatic coaching change, and Kwan did it without leaving her native California.

But Medvedeva felt she had no other choice after a tumultuous 2018 season that did not end with the Olympic gold medal she had seemed a lock to win.

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Yu-Na Kim, Yuzuru Hanyu, Javi Fernandez and friends: how the Toronto Cricket Club became skating mecca

TORONTO - Put more than a dozen highly decorated figure skaters on the same practice ice at the same time, and there is bound to be some friendly in-your-face stuff.

Yuzuru Hanyu, Javier Fernández and Nam Nguyen will do quadruple jump after quadruple jump, each trying not to be the first to pop a jump or fall. Gabrielle Daleman and Sonia Lafuente will do the same with triples.

What each wants most, though, is to do well enough that Brian Orser, or one of his fellow coaches at the Toronto Cricket, Skating and Curling Club, rings the 16-inch brass bell that hangs outside the glassed-in, computerized music room on one side of the ice surface.

That sound is the reward for anyone who does a clean run-through of a competitive program in practice.

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