Estonia’s best chance at a medal when the European Championships come to Tallinn in 2010 may be Elena Glebova, a native of the city who turns 19 in June. The talented brunette has won the senior ladies title in Estonia three times and already competed five times at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships. Her highest placement there was sixth in 2007, but she had hoped to do better in 2008.
“My goal was to be in the top five, but I injured the kneecap in my right knee in December 2007 doing the triple lutz-triple toe loop too much,” she said. “I was off the ice for six weeks and had just five weeks to train for Junior Worlds. I had surgery in the beginning of April after Worlds. It went successfully. I started training again in June and I am getting stronger day after day.”
The injury prevented her participation in the 2008 European Championships. Earlier in the season, Glebova 2007 skated at two Grand Prix events, Skate Canada, where she placed eighth, and Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire, where she finished sixth. Glebova has placed as high as 12th at the European Championships in 2007, 15th at Worlds in 2008, and 28th at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. She hopes to be able to compete in two more Olympics.
Anna Levandi, the 1984 ladies world silver medallist, has trained Glebova for the last six years. She trains most of the time in Tallinn. When her ice rink closes in the summer, Glebova trains in Saffle, Sweden and Tartu, Estonia. “The rink closes in June so I usually take a two week break. Then I start back doing off ice training, After that, I go to Sweden, then come back to Estonia in mid-July when the rink opens again. In the winter, I train for about two and a half hours on the ice, six days a week. In the summer, it’s a little bit more, three to four hours a day when I have ice.”
During July, Glebova is training in the United States. “I am in Detroit, MI with Marina Zoueva,” she said. “The reason why I am there is that I want to improve my skating skills, so that my components score will be higher.”
Levandi choreographs Glebova’s programs, both of which were new for the 2007-08 season. She used “Concerto de Aranjuez” by Joaquin Rodrigo for her short program and “Allegro Molto Moderato” by Edvard Grieg for the long. “Usually I pick the music,” Glebova said. “I only use music that I enjoy. Sometimes my coach brings me music and if I like it, I’ll use it.”
“I found the short program music on the internet,” Glebova explained. “I saw Michelle Kwan skate to it and liked it so I wanted to try it and do as well as she did. I really enjoy skating to it. I’ve wanted to skate to the long program music for many years, but I wasn’t old enough to show all the emotions. My coach said I was old enough to do it this year.”
“Next season, I’ll change both of the programs again,” she continued. “I like when I have different programs. If I change the program, my skating improves more. My short program will be ‘Songs My Mother Taught Me’ by Antonin Dvorak and my free program will be ‘Carmina Burana’ by Carl Orff.”
For exhibitions, Glebova skates to “One Day I’ll Fly Away” from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. “I saw Nicole Kidman in the movie and liked it,” Glebova said.
Off ice, Glebova said, “I like all styles of music as well – rock, pop, soundtracks from films, and classical music. My mom has a lot of classical music on CDs.” Glebova wanted to learn how to play the piano, but she wanted to skate more.”
“I started skating when I was five,” Glebova recalled. “My older brother Ilja was skating and I came to watch his practice. I fell in love with figure skating and asked my mother to skate too. I tried gymnastics for a few months, but I liked figure skating more.” Her brother, who will be 21 this summer, skates junior pairs internationally with Maria Sergejeva.
She landed her first double axel when she was ten, then learned the triple toe when she was 12, followed a few weeks later by the triple salchow. Glebova’s junior ladies short program contained a triple toe loop-triple toe loop combination, a triple loop and a double axel. Her long included double axel-triple toe-double toe, triple salchow-double toe, and double axel-triple toe. She also includes a triple salchow, triple loop, double lutz and double axel. “I’m still forbidden to work on the triple flip and the triple lutz,” she said, citing her injured knee.
For fun, Glebova likes to play tennis, swim, ski and snowboard. “Usually I go skiing or snowboarding all the time in winter because there is so much snow in Estonia,” she said, “but not this year.” She also likes to shop. “But only for fashionable clothes,” she said. “I can always find something different than in Estonia when I go to competitions.”
“I want to go to the university to study fashion design,” added Glebova, who will finish her high school exams this summer. “I design my own dresses for skating, but I can’t sew them.”