Two-time Olympic gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko told Russian news agency TASS that he is fine with the departure of Alena Kostornaia to her previous coach Eteri Tutberidze.
On March 3, rumors of inside sources claiming that 2020 European champion Kostornaia intends to return to Tutberidze’s team arose in the Russian media. Those rumors soon became confirmed when it was revealed that there are ongoing negotiations between the skater and her former coach. General Director of Sambo-70 Renat Laishev admitted that the transfer may happen, but needs to be approved by Tutberidze herself.
The following day, Plushenko told TASS that “Alena came to our academy to work with Sergei Alexandrovich Rozanov and I consulted her as a second coach, just as I work with Alexandra Trusova, who came to me initially. I spend three hours on the ice with one group and three hours with athletes from another group, and then more physical training and warm-ups. Therefore, Alena worked with Sergei Rozanov as planned. Additionally, in the last three weeks we attracted Elena Vyacheslavovna Zhgun – her first coach; she helped, for which we thank her, as well as Elena Anatolyevna Tchaikovskaya, who, like all of us, worried about Alena.”
Plushenko noted that the work with the 17-year-old figure skater seemed positive until she caught the coronavirus and suffered from other injuries and health issues. In a separate interview with news outlet Sport Express, Plushenko’s wife Yana Rudkovskaya said “The main thing now is to restore health. In the transition to another team, I do not see any problems. Evgeni and I have a kind of relief. Since worrying about her health all the time is also not pleasant. I believe that everything fell into place because it is impossible to train and recover at the same time. Perhaps the next time we recruit athletes, I will recommend Evgeni to take health certificates, as well as documents about the duties of not only the coach but also the athlete.”
This season, Kostornaia won silver medals at the fourth stage of the Cup of Russia series in Kazan and at the Russian stage of the ISU Grand Prix series – the Rostelecom Cup. She was forced to withdraw from the subsequent fifth stage of the Cup of Russia series in Moscow, the 2021 Russian National Championships in late December 2020, and the Channel One Trophy team competition in early February 2021 due to healthy problems. At the final of this season’s Cup of Russia series this past weekend, Kostornaia finished sixth and failed to qualify to this month’s World Figure Skating Championships.