Prominent figure skating coach Rafael Arutyunyan, who has spoken in favour of raising the age limit in ladies single skating, has compared the success of young champions to single-use plastic cups.
The renowned coach underlined that young female skaters should only enter senior events after going through puberty, when they have “well-trained and healthy” bodies.
Current rules which allow skaters to take part in senior competitions at the age of 15 make stars’ professional careers shorter, prompting them to retire with the emergence of the new quad-jumping generation.
“The age-limit should be raised,” Arutyunyan told Bolshoy Sport. “Then figure skaters and their coaches will know that by the time of entering senior events athletes will have well-trained and healthy bodies. It’s an essential working tool in figure skating, it can’t be treated barbarically.
pierre gasly as anna shcherbakova rondo capriccioso
-Junior!annas 4lz 🤝 pierre =works best in a friendly environment
-rusnats🤝toro rosso=friendly environment
-(fuck alpha tauri who is she) pic.twitter.com/ytpA5VELE7
— ale🥀 (@liistunova) January 11, 2020
“I don’t like to drink coffee from single-use plastic bags. It tastes different when you drink it from a china cup. It’s the same with disposable champions, I don’t like it,” he added.
The 62-year-old specialist, who has been training two-time world champion Nathan Chen of the US, said he raised the issue long before “the Tutberidze era,” when he saw that young and talented girls were forced to quit sport after having their bodies transformed.
Is Alena #Kostornaia‘s triple axel the best ever in the women’s field?
The answer is yours.
In the short program of the Russian Championships she got 89.86 points out of the 93.90 available with an incredible TES of 51.55. pic.twitter.com/4jQg4wmR70
— Massimiliano Ambesi (@max_ambesi) December 27, 2019
“I raised the question more than five years ago, when nobody knew current leaders and winners of Grand Prix events. Back than nobody knew about Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova or Alena Kostornaia. The whole world was taking about Yulia Lipnitskaya, Elena Radionova and Anna Pogorilaya,” Arutyunyan said.
“When those skaters who had amazed people with their complicated programs went through puberty period they started facing difficulties on the ice. Instead of coping with those difficulties they preferred to retire having talented and slim youngsters snapping at their heels. They simply realized they had no chances to beat skaters with quad jumps.”
Yulia Lipnitskaya, mención especial a esta morra porque tiene 15 AÑOSSS, o sea wtf. Se tuvo que retirar como a los 18 pq tenía problemas de anorexia pero CHEQUEN ESTE TALENTO pic.twitter.com/nsXck8nKEU
— ver(ó)nica (@veebyblue) January 8, 2020
The change of generations in Russian figure skating has rapidly accelerated in recent years with sensational teen skaters taking the lead at international level.
After Olympic champion Yulia Lipnitskaya retired at the age of 19, Evgenia Medvedeva took up the reins of power in female skating having been unbeaten for two years in a row.
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However, Medvedeva’s dominance came to an end at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics where she was dethroned by another Russian star, Alina Zagitova.
Zagitova’s reign as a new figure skating queen was also short-lived as two years after her Olympic triumph she started losing events to a new generation of skaters, Shcherbakova, Trusova and Kostornaia.
It remains unknown how long they will stay on top given that new immensely gifted juniors have been already knocking on the national team’s door.