Figure Skating

Evgenia Medvedeva rejoins Eteri Tutberidze camp ahead of new season

The Olympic silver medallist has decided to return to Tutberidze's Sambo-70 school, confirming that she's split with Brian Orser, whom she had worked with since 2018.

By ZK Goh and Nick McCarvel ·

Olympic figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva has re-joined Eteri Tutberidze's training group in Moscow.

The PyeongChang 2018 silver medallist was previously coached by Tutberidze until the 2018 Games, after which she left Russia to train under Brian Orser in Toronto.

Now, she has re-joined Tutberidze and will train with the Sambo-70 club in preparation for the new season.

Medvedeva's agent confirmed the move to the Olympic Channel.

"I am very grateful to Brian for his understanding and the work done. We start training with Eteri Georgievna today. We will work and try to show the maximum possible result," Medvedeva said, according to a statement issued by the Russian Figure Skating Federation.

Expressing excitement about re-joining Tutberidze, Medvedeva confirmed that she and Orser had finished their working relationship amicably.

"I’m very grateful to Brian for the work we have done," Medvedeva told Channel 1 Russia. "And I’m enormously grateful for his understanding and approval of my decision (to end partnership).”

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Travel issues

Due to international global health travel restrictions, Medvedeva is currently in Russia and has not able to return to Canada to train.

In an interview with NBC Olympics, Orser said the move was a necessity caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“She (Medvedeva) and I agree if there was no pandemic, we would not be having this discussion right now,” said Orser. “I told her, I can’t do anything for you if we can’t be together. The pandemic is bigger than both of us. Our hands are tied.”

At the weekend's Russian national test skate, in which she made her comeback after ending last season early in December, the 20-year-old communicated with Orser via video call.

In the last few months, Tutberidze has lost both Alexandra Trusova and Alena Kostornaia, two of her young starlets, to Evgeni Pluschenko's new academy.

Those coaching changes led to rumours that Medvedeva herself might try to split from Orser and join Pluschenko, which she denied last month.

The 20-year-old was asked in an Instagram comment whether there was any truth to the rumours, to which she gave a definitive response.

"Stop this (nonsense)," she wrote back. "I have found my people and my place in life, I don't need to change anything.

"And mind your own business, to everyone who hints at sensational news."

On Wednesday (16 Sept.), Tutberidze posted to Instagram, writing in Russian: "No big promises. We just work."

Previous comments

Medvedeva's return to Tutberidze is somewhat surprising given her comments in May about why she left in the first place.

"I left to work together with a coach like friends," she told fellow skater Florent Amodio during an Instagram Live interview. Speaking about her relationship with Orser and Tracy Wilson, she explained they were equals when it came to her skating.

"I really feel that we understand each other, we feel each other, and the main thing is that we hear each other. I left for this; to hear, and to be heard."

Endless aspirations

Medvedeva, who was world champion in 2016 and 2017 as a teenager, finished as runner-up to training partner Alina Zagitova at the 2018 Games. "I did everything I could," Medvedeva said of the silver-medal finish. "I regret nothing."

While some thought she may transition to skating shows and a post-competition life, Medvedeva instead made the switch to Orser and re-dedicated herself to the sport, working on both her technical and artistic skills.

Her results were mixed: She's finished off the podium at two Grand Prix events, but was resurgent at the 2019 world championships, where she captured bronze. At the Russian test skate last weekend, she revealed complex and modern choreography. While her eyes remain fixed on Beijing 2022, a host of up-and-coming Russian skaters, including Kostornaia, Trusova, Shcherbakova and junior Kamila Valieva continue to make their marks, too.

The move back to Tutberidze makes it clear once again: Medvedeva is still setting her sights very high.

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