Yevgenia Medvedeva, the Olympic figure skating favorite, will miss this week’s Russian Championships due to a foot injury, according to the Russian Figure Skating Federation.
Medvedeva was advised not to accelerate her return from a broken foot and associated pain she felt earlier this fall, according to the federation.
The 18-year-old world champion can (and very likely will) still be invited to the Olympics by an International Olympic Committee panel tasked with forming the Olympic Athletes from Russia roster.
However, Medvedeva, who is undefeated the last two years, reportedly said in a speech to IOC members earlier this month that she “can not accept” competing in PyeongChang as a neutral athlete.
That comment came before the IOC announced that Russia is banned from the Winter Games, with clean Russian athletes allowed to compete as neutrals by invitation only.
Medvedeva reportedly said shortly after the announcement that it was too early to answer whether she would skate in PyeongChang as a neutral athlete.
Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russian sports officials have since given athletes their blessings to compete in PyeongChang as neutrals.
Medvedeva won both of her Grand Prix starts this fall — in Russia in October and in Japan in November — before being put in a cast, revealing the broken foot and withdrawing from the Grand Prix Final.
In her absence, the favorite at Russian Nationals is her training partner Alina Zagitova, the 15-year-old world junior champion who won the Grand Prix Final.
As many as three Russian female skaters could be invited to the Olympics by the IOC panel.
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