'It's a shame the career of an Olympic champion lasts just 3 seasons' – coaching legend Tarasova on Zagitova 'pause' decision
Figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova has commented on Alina Zagitova’s career break decision, regretting that her senior level performances have been limited to just three seasons, during which she has won every major title.
The renowned coach assumes that reigning world and Olympic champion Zagitova will not return to professional sport following her shock announcement on Friday that she would be taking a break.
Tarasova expressed hope, however, that the skater will open a new chapter in her life by performing in various figure skating shows.
“Will she resume career? It’s a stupid question,” Tarasova said. “Only youngsters can be fed with hopes. I hope she will find herself, as a very interesting and creative life lies ahead of her. I want to wish her the best of luck.
“She is not going to nowhere, she is joining a wonderful show created by Tatiana Navka. Alina will be travelling around the world, as all outstanding athletes did. And once a year we will have an opportunity to watch her performing in the show.”
The 72-year-old specialist expressed regret that Zagitova’s triumphant career – during which she took all possible titles, including gold medals at the Olympic Games and world championship – appeared to be short-lived.
“She should continue training to keep up spectators’ interest . But it’s a pity that the sports career of an Olympic champion accounts for just three programs,” Tarasova added, referring to the fact that Zagitova spent just three seasons at senior level.
Zagitova made her senior debut in the autumn of 2017, emerging as one of the contenders to fight for Olympic medals.
Just one month before the PyeongChang Games, the ambitious teenager sensationally beat Russia’s longtime leader Evgenia Medvedeva at the pre-Olympic European tournament and cemented her success in South Korea, leaving her well-decorated teammate with Olympic silver.
In 2018, Zagitova presented the most technically complicated program free program to the music of “Don Quixote”, placing all of her jumps in the second part of the routine – a step which substantially increased her technical score and helped her to edge out Medvedeva at the Olympic Games.
The following year, the talented skater added one more title to her name, winning the world championship in Japan by immaculately executing her dramatic Carmen-themed program.
With the emergence of the so-called quad-jumping generation, Zagitova’s dominance came to an end, as she finished just sixth at the Grand Prix final this year, losing to a young Russian trio who will be more likely represent their country during their international careers.
Zagitova’s short program choice this season turned out to prophetic, as she was saying goodbye to all her fans skating to Yasmin Levy’s ‘Me Voy’ song, which includes the words “I’m leaving to be happy.”