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Lipnitskaia enjoys freedom after golden season

World junior champ looking forward to spending time at the seaside and in hometown of Ekaterinburg

Julia Lipnitskaia and her coach, Eteri Tutberidze, have proven to be a formidable duo.
Julia Lipnitskaia and her coach, Eteri Tutberidze, have proven to be a formidable duo. (Klaus Reinhold-Kany)

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By Vladislav Luchianov, special to icenetwork.com
(03/08/2012) - This season was an especially golden one for Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia. In her first year on the international junior stage, she won everything possible, with little challenge from her competitors. Throughout the season, she impressed fans with her supreme confidence, otherworldly flexibility, superior jumping technique, high-level spins and innate musicality.

Lipnitskaia started skating in Ekaterinburg at the age of 4, but in 2009 she and her parents decided to move to Moscow. There she joined the team of the young, talented Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze. She debuted on the Junior Grand Prix circuit at the 2011 Baltic Cup in Poland, winning both segments of the competition to take the gold medal. After that she won her second Grand Prix event in Milan, which qualified her for the Junior Grand Prix Final. There, she took the gold and was given a standing ovation by the audience for her impressive programs. She also won the 2012 Russian Junior Championships and finished second at the 2012 Russian Championships.

The highlight of the season for her came at the 2012 World Junior Championships in Minsk, Belarus, where she not only won by a healthy margin (15 points) with perfectly executed performances but also posted a personal-best score of 187.05 points, a new world junior record.

Icenetwork.com talked with Lipnitskaia about junior worlds, the importance of having the right attitude and her skating history.

Icenetwork.com: In your debut at the world junior championships, you won easily. What does winning this championship mean to you?

Lipnitskaia: Your energy starts to run out at the end of the season. Can you imagine, every day you do the same things and finally -- the last event of the season! You have to maintain your focus just a little longer, and then you have your freedom. I can't say I felt a lot of pressure, especially since I didn't go into it thinking I had to win. I just didn't want to end such a good season badly.

Icenetwork.com: Your coach, Eteri Tutberidze, said that you are good at getting into the right frame of mind and maintaining your confidence for important competitions. How are you able to do this?

Lipnitskaia: I try not to see and not to hear anybody and think about something good, about my programs or the fans. I don't think about my rivals. I try not to feel nerves. That's why I'm able to execute the elements in my programs to the best of my ability. Everything is done the same way as in training, where we work a lot on stability. I can do any of the triple-triple combinations, even a Rittberger (European name of the loop), but I do feel nerves when I do these. If during training the more difficult combinations become unstable, we go back to the basic elements of my program. You can't run from your nerves. My coach always supports me. I feel very comfortable around her.

Icenetwork.com: What can you say about your fellow competitors in Minsk?

Lipnitskaia: I try not to think about them. The ice is slippery, and you never know who will be lucky. I always have only one goal: make the most of everything that I can control.

Icenetwork.com: You won all the junior events you entered this season and finished second at Russian nationals. Was it your goal to win these competitions or did it just happen?

Lipnitskaia: I never think about the result at all! I just do what I can, and I'm happy if everything turns out well. Another thing is that I have a very good team of specialists, which helps and supports me, so I want to make them proud.

Icenetwork.com: Are you going to relax after such a successful season or are you starting to work on your new programs for next season?

Lipnitskaia: Yes, we are going to go somewhere on the seaside. I haven't been to the seaside for about three years; I just didn't have a time for it. Also, I want to visit my hometown, Ekaterinburg. After that, I'll have training until the end of May and school classes. At the beginning of June, I'm going to the Novogorsk training base.

Icenetwork.com: Many experts believe that the level of junior ladies singles skating in Russia is much stronger than senior. What do you think the reasons for this are?

Lipnitskaia: I think it's because there are so many talented girls. The coaches are competing with each other, too. It's also, in my opinion, because of having the Olympics in Sochi [in 2014]. It's a big honor to win the Olympics, but to win the Olympics at home would be a double honor ... or to take part in it, at least.

Icenetwork.com: Looking at you, it's difficult to image that Julia Lipnitskaia can be tired. How do you cope with such things as fatigue after competitions, grueling training sessions, skating under pressure, etc.?

Lipnitskaia: Certainly, I get tired, but I also have lots of opportunities to relax and rest. I like to lie down with headphones and listen to music or spend some time in VKontakte (a Russian social network like Facebook). And, of course, I need to get enough sleep. At the end of the week, I have a massage -- after that, I feel like a new person.

Icenetwork.com: You began to figure skate in Ekaterinburg. When did you realize that you wanted to dedicate yourself to figure skating, and that to achieve great things in the sport it was necessary to relocate to Moscow?

Lipnitskaia: My mom and I came up with two options: to continue skating and relocate or to be done with it. My mother asked me if I want to continue. I answered yes, I do, let's go ahead! But we didn't know where to go or to whom. We decided to call Eteri Tutberidze. We had seen her at some competitions before, so we found her number on the Internet, called and went to her. At that time, we didn't think at all about future results or big goals.

Icenetwork.com: In your opinion, how should modern ladies singles skating look, taking into account technical and artistic issues?

Lipnitskaia: You must be able to do absolutely everything and do it intricately. You must not have any weak points in your skating, if it's possible, of course. This is what I will strive to do. As for 'trixels' (she means triple Axels), I have big doubts about it as well as about the possibility of quads in the future of ladies skating. It takes so much energy and strength. Also, there is a huge strain on the knees and spine during the execution of such elements. Although I would like to try it.