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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Figure skating minimum age raised to 17 ahead of 2026 Olympics

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No 15-year-old figure skaters will be allowed to compete in the 2026 Olympics after a dispute with Russian national champion Kamila Valieva at this year’s Beijing Games.

The International Skating Union on Tuesday passed a new age range for figure skaters in senior international events by a 110-16 vote that will raise the minimum age to 17 before the next Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

“This is a very important decision,” said ISU President Jan Dijkmaa. “I would say a very historic decision.”

The limit will be phased out, with 15-year-olds allowed to compete next season, with a minimum age of 16 in the 2023–24 season, after 17 seasons, the last before the Olympics.

ISU said the new rule was “to protect the physical and mental health, and emotional well-being of the skaters.”

This should interrupt the career of top Russian junior Sofia Aktaeva, who is 14 years old. Her birthday in July comes just after the July 1 deadline to classify the age of skaters for the upcoming season, although for the 2026 Olympics she will be 18 years old and able to compete. ,

Even before figure skating at the Beijing Olympics was about to change, 15-year-old Valieva was weighed down by emotional stress. She was the favorite to take individual gold after helping the Russians win the team title, before her positive doping test was revealed from December during the Olympics.

The teenager was allowed to train under intense scrutiny as a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing was prepared that allowed her to remain in Russia pending a full investigation. It still continues.

However, her core routine was riddled with errors and she came in fourth. His coach Eteri Tutberidz then criticized the rink-side.

The ISU drafted an age-limit proposal saying that “burnout, disordered eating and the long-term consequences of injury” were a risk for young teenage skaters, who are driven to perform more quadruple jumps.

The decision was criticized in Russia, where skaters are currently banned from international competitions by the ISU due to the country’s military invasion of Ukraine.

“I think this was done more or less to exclude from the competition, so that our Russian female skaters do not have the opportunity to win world championship, European, Olympic medals,” said Dmitry Soloviev, a team event gold medalist for Russia . 2014 Sochi Olympics, broadcaster told Match TV.

“But in my opinion, Eteri Tutberidze will find a way to put our athletes in ideal condition at the age of 17 or 18, so that they can show their best results in international competitions especially at that age,” Soloviev said.

This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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