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Olympic champion Lipnitskaya’s sport school creates figure skating museum

February 10, 2014, 18:30 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG
Figure skaters Maxim Kovtun and Vera Bazarova also studied at the school
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© ITAR-TASS/Donat Sorokin

YEKATERINBURG, February 10. /ITAR-TASS/. The sport school in the Ural city of Yekaterinburg that trained Russian Olympic champion Yulia Lipnitskaya and a galaxy of other medal-winning athletes has created a museum of figure skating.

Irina Primalennaya, the school’s curriculum director, who has been in figure skating for more than 40 years, remembers would-be stars timidly stepping on ice, taking their first falls and getting helped by their coaches who actually acted as their parents.

“I remember Yulia Lipnitskaya coming here one day. All kids were sitting on the benches, but she climbed the wall bars, giving us a real fright. Just imagine a four-year-old kid all the way up under the ceiling with an unperturbed face. Yulia never knew fear. She was very serious both about her studies and training,” Primalennaya said.

“Yulia grew up very quickly. There was no one for her to compete in the Urals. Her mother did the right thing by sending her to Moscow. And Yulia did not join the CSKA sport club but instead stayed with a young coach, Eteri Tutberidze. It’s very important for an athlete and the coach to understand each other. But parents are the main driving force behind any athlete’s success. Some parents tell coaches how they should teach their kids and take them from one coach to another. This is the sure way to kill even the brightest talent. Parents should distance themselves from the training process, and then everything will work out just right,” Primalennaya said.

“Another honor of our school is Maxim Kovtun [who won Russia’s figure skating championship in 2013]. He was a real joker. Teachers from his school called us to complain about his pranks and bad behavior, but we asked them to be patient. In fact, he is just a boy, he will calm down with time,” she said.

Maxim started skating at the age of 18 months. “He was such a tot and already on the skates. His first steps made everyone smile,” the teacher recalled.

Another of her pupils, Vera Bazarova, was much calmer. She is now competing at the Sochi Olympics in the pair with Yuri Larionov.

The figure skating section at the Yekaterinburg-based Dynamo sport school was created 50 years ago. The school was built in the 1970s and was modeled on a similar school in Kiev, Ukraine.

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