Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, right, said discussions on coaches' methods "should not be done so publicly" ©Getty Images

Russia's Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin has cautioned against "hasty assessments" with regards to the methods of figure skating coach Eteri Tutberidze, which sparked controversy at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Tutberidze was filmed asking a visibly upset Kamila Valieva "why did you let it go?" and "why did you stop fighting?" after she missed out on a medal in the women's singles competition.

The 15-year-old skater had travelled to Beijing 2022 as the red-hot favourite, but was at the centre of a doping controversy that broke after she helped the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to gold in the team event.

She subsequently made a series of errors during the free skating element having led after the short programme.

Tutberidze was criticised for the scenes following the competition, which even sparked a rare rebuke from International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.

In an interview with Russia's official state news agency TASS, Matytsin argued that critics should be wary of comments they make in a public forum.

"Coaches’ methods of work, of course, can be discussed by someone, but, probably, this should not be done so publicly and definitely not at a time when the athlete and her coaching staff are in such a state," he said.

"It's almost like personal life - the story of 'coach-athlete'.

"And in this case, I think you need to be more correct, respectful and not give such hasty assessments.

Eteri Tutberidze, left, coached the Russian Olympic Committee's three women's singles figure skaters at Beijing 2022 including Kamila Valieva, right ©Getty Images
Eteri Tutberidze, left, coached the Russian Olympic Committee's three women's singles figure skaters at Beijing 2022 including Kamila Valieva, right ©Getty Images

"This is a very serious topic, because athletes experience tremendous stress, especially at that age."

Matytsin referenced comments from Lillehammer 1994 ice dance silver medallist Alexander Zhulin, who criticised Bach's remarks, defended Tutberidze's coaching record and called for a revision of World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

"Alexander Zhulin wrote an open letter in which he says that the assessment of the coaching staff of Eteri Georgievna is that she has prepared several Olympic champions, I would like to draw attention to this," the Sports Minister told TASS.

Bach had commented during the Games: "When afterwards I saw how she [Valieva] was received by her closest entourage, with what appeared to be a tremendous coldness, it was chilling to see this.

"Rather than try to help her, you could feel this chilling atmosphere, this distance.

"If you interpret the body language, it got even worse.

IOC President Thomas Bach criticised the
IOC President Thomas Bach criticised the "tremendous coldness" with which the ROC's Kamila Valieva "was received by her closest entourage" ©Getty Images

"All this does not give me much confidence in the entourage of Kamila with regard to the past nor with regard to the future."

Tutberidze coached the ROC's three skaters in the women's singles final at the Games, with Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova earning gold and silver respectively.

Trusova was also in tears after the competition, and was heard telling her coaches that she would refuse to attend the medal ceremony and may never skate again.

Tutberidze has also faced criticism for the short careers of athletes she has coached at the Sambo-70 school.

She has since praised "our star" Valieva, and said she is "at a loss" with regards to Bach's comments.

Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko told insidethegames that the IOC President's remarks were "inappropriate and wrong."

Valieva was cleared to compete in the individual event by a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel, which opted against reimposing a provisional suspension for a failed drug test.

The sample in question was provided on December 25 and contained the banned substance trimetazidine, although it was only reported as positive by a World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited lab on February 8 after Valieva had helped the ROC to win the team event.