Two-time Olympic silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva is leaving longtime coach Eteri Tutberidze to work with Brian Orser, the Canadian coach who has guided Yuna Kim and Yuzuru Hanyu to Olympic titles.
Medvedeva announced the change Monday in a statement from the Figure Skating Federation of Russia.
The 18-year-old Medvedeva was favored to win gold at the Pyeongchang Games earlier this year after she captured the past two world titles. But despite flawless routines in the short program and free skate, she was edged by her close friend and then-training partner Alina Zagitova.
Medvedeva plans to relocate to Toronto, but denied rumors that she might change citizenship, stating that she would continue skating for Russia and representing her club, Sambo-70.
Medvedeva had worked for 11 years with Tutberidze. The relationship seemed to sour three after Zagitova beat Medvedeva for Olympic gold.
Tutberidze told Russian TV on Sunday that Medvedeva stopped answering her calls and messages last month, and suggested the skater wanted the 15-year-old Zagitova held out of senior events, which would have meant she couldn’t compete at the Olympics.
“There was this really childish phrase: ‘Couldn’t you have kept Alina in the juniors for one more year?'” Tutberidze quoted Medvedeva, who is nicknamed Zhenya. “I said, ‘Zhenya, what?’ We have to give everyone the same chance. You have to in sport. We don’t have the right to hold a person back.”
Medvedeva thanked Tutberidze, who has a reputation as a taskmaster, in a statement, adding: “I learned many life lessons from her. I will remember it all my life.”
Of her switch to Orser, she said: “I hope that time will pass and everyone will understand that this was the only possible option.”
Since the Olympics, Medvedeva has launched a TV career as a presenter on a Russian show about child skaters, but has repeatedly said she’s targeting another Olympics in 2022.