After Alexandra Trusova, it was Alena Kostornaia, the reigning European champion, who left coach Eteri Tutberidze to train with Yevgeny Plushenko. In January, in Graz, their three teenage faces gave a renewed definition of the ‘hegemony. Alena Kostornaia, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova contested their first senior European championships and finished it, in that order, in the first three places. They were the new flagships of the Eteri Tutberidze team, which had already “produced” Iloulia Lipnitskaia (2014 European champion and Olympic team champion in Sochi), Evguenia Medvedeva (2016 and 2017 world champion, vice-champion Olympic 2018), and Alina Zagitova (Olympic champion 2018) but had so far never achieved a treble in the big championship. Only a few months have passed but the photo has already turned yellow. At the beginning of May, Alexandra Trusova, fifteen, already guaranteed to go down in history for her many quads, announced her departure from Sambo-70, the Moscow club of Eteri Tutberidze, to go train with Evgueni Plushenko. Sixteen-year-old Alena Kostornaia made the same decision after three years of collaboration. The news was made public last Friday via Eteri Tutberidze’s Instagram account, the coach obviously keen to let it be known that the initiative for the separation was hers: “We received a list of skaters with whom Alena no longer wanted to s’. train and so we decided to part with her. »The refusal of competition, an argument used repeatedly by the coach to explain the departures of her students. In the case of Kostornaia, it is not very convincing since the skater finds Alexandra Trusova at the Plushenko academy. Read alsoThe portrait of Eteri Tutberidze in 2018, “ice mother” The choice of Yevgeny Plushenko can surprise, even if it’s also the one made by Veronika Zhilina, an 11-year-old Russian prodigy also from Eteri Tutberidze. If he is a legend of Russian skating (Olympic gold in 2006, three world titles, seven European crownings), the 38-year-old ex-champion still has everything to prove as a coach. For some, it would be her ability to attract investors and place her students in remunerative galas that would appeal to these young skaters, already aware of the probable brevity of their careers (it is a long time since Irina Slutskaia represented ten years during the Russia in major competitions). The transfer of the two skaters would also be linked to that of coach Sergei Rozanov, renowned for his expertise in jumps. “It was very important that Sergei came with me,” Trusova told the International Figure Skating magazine in May. We have worked a lot together and it has been very productive. “In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the two young skaters could not follow the same path as Evguenia Medvedeva, who left in 2018 to train in Canada with Brian Orser. The name of Medvedeva has been circulating since Plushenko mentioned an upcoming arrival “which would cause a sensation”. It would make the cast of the “Plushenko academy” version 2020-2021 even more sparkling. These transfers are reshuffling the cards of Russian women’s skating, the most challenging in the world, whatever happens. Eteri Tutberidze had gained the upper hand over Elena Buianova (coach in particular of Adelina Sotnikova, 2014 Olympic champion) or the eternal Alexei Mishin (79 years old, former mentor of Plushenko, coach of the 2015 world champion Elizaveta Tuktamisheva and the champion d ‘Europe 2019 Sofia Samodurova). Her dominance is now more uncertain, even with Anna Shcherbakova or Kamila Valieva, 2020 junior world champion, especially as Olympic champion Alina Zagitova has for the moment put the competition on hold. And in view of the recent statements of Plushenko, who described as “horrible” the programs devised for Kostarnaia by Daniil Gleikhengauz, appointed choreographer of all the students of Tutberidze, the atmosphere promises to be freezing when the three skaters are selected. for the European Championships and the World Championships.