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Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan competes in the free skate on Friday. © ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images
Kazakhstan’s Liza feeling ‘great’ in Olympic spotlight

24 Feb 2018
Gangneung, Korea, February 23, 2018: When your coach is clapping and celebrating on the sidelines, you know you have done well. And when that coach is figure skating legend Brian Orser – the Toronto-based trainer of Japan’s double Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu and retired Korean skating “queen” Kim Yu-na - then you know you are on the right track to success.

This was the scenario at Gangneung Ice Arena on Friday morning when Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva completed her free skate in the ladies’ single figure skating competition and recorded 118.30 points for a total of 177.12 and a finishing place of 12th. The Olympic preparations of the 18-year-old Sapporo Asian Winter Games bronze medallist were upset by a right hip injury that required her to leave full-time training with Orser in Canada and go back to Kazakhstan for treatment.

After completing her Olympics on Friday, Liza said: “I am happy that I was able to fight in my programme. Maybe I was a little nervous, but I still could skate and land my jumps.” On the reaction of her coach throughout her free skate, Liza added: “He knows how I was practising, how all the things were going before, and it wasn’t that great. I guess he was happy because I think that was my best programme in the past weeks.”

Tursynbaeva said she did not feel more nervous than usual competing in her first Winter Olympics. “I felt great skating on the ice. Maybe I feel even more nervous in the other competitions, but here I felt great,” she added. She will return to training in Toronto the day after the closing ceremony but has not yet decided if she will enter the World Championships in Milan next month. 

Her long-term goal is to compete in her second Olympic Games at Beijing in 2022. Looking back on her Winter Olympics debut, she summed up: “I was not preparing the way I wanted and when I will be healthy I will work harder because I kind of missed that. I missed jumping a lot.”
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