Alena Kostornaia accepted to Eteri Tutberidze’s team

Alena Kostornaia with her coaches Daniil Gleikhengauz, Eteri Tutberidze, and Sergei Dudakov (L-R) at the 2020 Russian Figure Skating Championships (Photo by Sergei Bobylev/TASS via Getty Images)

It’s finally official – 2020 European champion and 2019-2020 ISU Grand Prix series winner Alena Kostornaia has been accepted to return to Khrustalny by coach Eteri Tutberidze.

This was reported on the Russian news show Vremya (English: Time) on Channel One.

Kostornaia stated that the training process with Evgeni Plushenko simply did not work out. She said, “When I trained at another school this season, I realized that I could not bring myself to do anything to the end. I understood that if Eteri Georgievna were next to me, I would be able to do as much as necessary, and even more.”

In the news broadcast, Tutberidze said that Kostornaia will be under a probationary period for two months before the return becomes permanent – the 17-year-old figure skater must meet several requirements, including: she must be at practice every day without any unexcused absences, she must not request to have the ice to herself, and she must restore her signature triple axel jump. Tutberidze said: “She must fully enter into our process, without additional days off, without complaints that someone else is on the ice at the same time – we still have to determine this. And jump the triple axel.”

Tutberidze also noted that her daughter, junior ice dancer Diana Davis, helped convince her to accept Kostornaia back into her group. The coach said, “I don’t want to keep the thought in my head that I could have given an opportunity – when the person is left with an unfulfilled hope for the rest of their life.”

Kostornaia originally joined Tutberidze, Sergei Dudakov, and Daniil Gleikhengauz in 2017 and quickly became the silver medalist at the World Junior Championships in 2018. In her first senior level season, last season, Kostornaia won gold medals in all of her international competitions – including the 2020 European Championships and the 2019-2020 ISU Grand Prix series Final.

In July of 2020, she unexpectedly decided to join Plushenko and former Khrustalny coach Sergei Rozanov at Angels of Plushenko. In her first two competitions, the teenager won a silver medal at the fourth stage of the Cup of Russia series, behind Alexandra Trusova, and another silver medal at the Russian stage of this season’s ISU Grand Prix series, behind Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

Throughout the season, she was forced to withdraw from multiple competitions due to injuries and later missed the Russian National Championships due to COVID-19. After recovering, she placed only sixth at the Cup of Russia Final last month and did not qualify to perform at the World Figure Skating Championships in Sweden.

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