Eteri Tutberidze

By Rachell Carbajal

On February 7, 2022, Kamila Valieva was the first ever woman to land a quad at just 15 years old during her free skate program. Shortly after achieving such a remarkable achievement, Kamila tested positive for three heart-related drugs, one of which is banned from the Olympics, causing a huge controversy worldwide. However, Kamila was cleared and was still able to compete in the women’s winter figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics. Still, during the whole doping scandal, many pointed fingers at Kamila. Sadly, she is only 15 years old and doesn’t know any better. Many began realizing that the one to blame is Kamila Valieva’s coach, Eteri Tutberidze. Eteri Tutberidze, a Russian figure skating coach, has been known to have coached some of the best figure skaters from Russia. Although she is known to be a great coach, there is evidence that Eteri abuses and takes advantage of these talented beings, to the point where they can no longer stand on their own two feet. Since 2014, Eteri has been seen using abusive and dangerous methods on her figure skaters: either in practice or the actual performance. These methods include repeating the skater’s whole program each time the skater misses a cue or a jump, over and over until ingrained on the ice. Not only are these methods dangerous during practice, but also during the real performance. For instance, at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, the Russian figure skaters Kamila Valieva, Anna Scherbakova, and Alexandra Trusova, were known to all be able to land quadruple with ease. Unfortunately, both Scherbakova and Trusova were unable to still compete during the Olympics because of injuries that were caused by them being overtrained and overworked. The three girls have also exclaimed that they are unable to drink water during the whole program. A couple of other skaters like Daria Usacheva, as well as other women, were unable to compete because of broken bones and a major hip fracture for Usacheva. Many other past figure skaters have claimed that Tutberidze used harsh and abusive methods that impacted and scarred their lives forever. They claimed that it led to major illnesses, like severe anorexia, bulimia, and major injuries. They stated, “Girls have described collapsing in pain after skating, being subjected to public weigh-ins, and being told not to drink water during competitions to avoid swelling and excess weight.” Another major incident, Tutberidze was exposed for salt smelling, in which skaters are forced to smell salt to keep breathing in place and prevent themselves from fainting during their performance. It is speculated that this method was even used on Kamila during her short program. It is seen in between programs that Kamila takes a whiff of salt in order to keep herself from collapsing. Even after Kamila achieved such a huge milestone during the 2022 Olympics, she is seen without a single smile on her face, instead, with a panicked, worried, and scared face. Eteri Tutberidze must be banned from coaching and held accountable for all of the damage she has caused to present, former, and future Russian figure skaters competing for any games.