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HomeOlympicsIce-skating age limit increased for Olympics post Kamila Valieva controversy

Ice-skating age limit increased for Olympics post Kamila Valieva controversy

The decision by the International Skating Union congress in Phuket, Thailand, came months after a Beijing Winter Olympics drugs scandal involving then-15-year-old Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.

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No 15-year-old figure skaters will be allowed to compete at the 2026 Olympics following the controversy surrounding Russian national champion Kamila Valieva at this year’s Beijing Games.

Skating age limit increased after Kamila Valieva controversy

Kamila Valieva
Mandatory Credit: Photo by HOW HWEE YOUNG/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (12806945lo)
Kamila Valieva of Russia reacts before the Women’s Short Program of the Figure Skating events at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, Beijing, China, 15 February 2022.
Figure Skating – Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, China – 15 Feb 2022

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

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“This is a very important decision…I would say a very historic decision,” ISU president Jan Dijkema said.

The age limit will be phased in, starting with 16-year-olds in the 2023-24 season and rising to 17 the following season, which is the last before the Olympics.

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Even before Kamila Valieva’s 15-year-old figure skating performance at the Beijing Olympics was overshadowed by the emotional strain she was under, the transformation was on the way. Before her positive drug test from December was finally revealed during the Olympics, she was the favourite to capture individual gold after helping the Russians win the team title.

The girl was allowed to practise under under supervision as a Court of Arbitration for Sport hearing was being planned, allowing her to compete while the whole investigation in Russia was being completed. This is still going on.

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Kamila Valieva’s main routine, however, was riddled with faults, and she finished fourth. Eteri Tutberidze, her coach, then chastised her on the ice. Burnout, improper diet, and long-term effects of injury are all risks for young adolescent skaters who are encouraged to perform more quadruple jumps, according to the ISU.

“All athletes, particularly elite youth athlete(s), have a responsibility of care to preserve their physical and psychological health and safety,” the governing body said.

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