Adelina Sotnikova

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Report: Russia’s Yulia Lipnitskaya retires from figure skating at 19

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Russian sports media reported Monday that 19-year-old Olympic champion figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya has decided to retire.

According to Lipnitskaya’s mother, the skater had informed the Russian Figure Skating Federation of her decision in April.

Lipnitskaya’s mother, Daniela, was interviewed by Russia’s TASS news agency saying her daughter made the decision when she returned home from Europe after a three-month treatment for anorexia.

The news of Lipnitskaya’s apparent retirement was deemed “gossip” by the President of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, Alexander Gorshkov. According to Gorshkov, the federation has yet to receive official documents to confirm her decision to step away.

“I cannot make statement based on gossips since my post obliges me to be guided by facts only,” Gorshkov said when contacted by TASS for comment. “We have to wait for an official statement for Yulia as now we are in the middle of gossips.”

Lipnitskaya was 15 years old at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, where she awed figure skating fans while winning her first Olympic gold medal in the team event. She was selected to skate for the Russian team instead of the eventual ladies singles gold medalist, Adelina Sotnikova. Lipnitskaya would finish fifth in the ladies singles competition in Sochi.

Less than a year after the end of the Sochi Olympics, Lipnitskaya expressed frustration with her new-found fame. In an Associated Press translation of a Russian figure skating website, Lipnitskaya said, “Whatever you do, everything is interpreted the wrong way and then has to be justified. It’s not life, it’s constant stress.”

Her apparent retirement comes after news broke that Sotnikova would not be defending her Olympic gold medal singles title in PyeongChang. Sotnikova’s coach, and two-time Olympic gold medalist, Evgeny Plushenko said an injury would keep her out of competition for the upcoming season. However, he did not mention the type of injury ailing Sotnikova.

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MORE: Coach says Adelina Sotnikova, Sochi figure skating champion, won’t defend title

Coach says Adelina Sotnikova, Sochi figure skating champion, won’t defend title

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MOSCOW (AP) The coach of Adelina Sotnikova says the Olympic figure skating champion will not defend her title at next year’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang because of injury.

“Adelina Sotnikova will not compete this season because of injury,” her coach Evgeny Plushenko, himself a two-time Olympic gold medalist, said in comments reported by Russian agency R-Sport.

“We all hoped we’d get this injury cured, but unfortunately it hasn’t happened. The injury is still causing problems, (Sotnikova) can’t manage full training sessions and it’s not right to go to competitions in this state.”

Plushenko didn’t specify what injury was troubling Sotnikova, though the Russian has been struggling with ankle problems. He added that the announcement shouldn’t be seen as Sotnikova’s retirement from skating.

Sotnikova was a surprise gold medalist in 2014, beating South Korea’s Yuna Kim amid intense debate over the judging.

Sotnikova hasn’t competed at a major championships since then because of injuries and a heavy schedule of commercial performances and TV work, including the Russian version of “Dancing with the Stars.”

In April, she split with her longtime coach Elena Buyanova to join Plushenko, who had himself only recently retired.

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Grand Prix figure skating assignments announced; Olympic champions absent

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Nathan ChenAshley WagnerKaren Chen and Maia and Alex Shibutani headline Skate America in November, highlighting this fall’s Grand Prix assignments announced Friday.

Gracie Gold is at Cup of China and Internationaux de France, also in November.

U.S. champion Nathan Chen and Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu will both debut at Rostelecom Cup, the first of six Grand Prix events, in late October.

That will mark an early season test for Chen, an 18-year-old who beat Hanyu at the Four Continents Championships at the PyeongChang Olympic venue last February but fell to sixth at worlds won by Hanyu in April.

Chen’s top challengers at Skate America in Lake Placid, N.Y., are world bronze medalist Jin Boyang of China and training partner and 2016 U.S. champion Adam Rippon.

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Wagner, a three-time U.S. champion coming off her least successful season in six years, and the surprise U.S. champion Karen Chen are both entered in Skate Canada in October and Skate America.

Russian Yevgenia Medvedeva, the two-time reigning world champion, is entered in Rostelecom Cup and NHK Trophy in Japan. She’ll face Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy in both events, as well as Mariah Bell and Mirai Nagasu, who finished three-four at the U.S. Championships in January.

The two-time U.S. champion Gold, who changed coaches after a disastrous season, will get an up-close look at Russian world junior champion Alina Zagitova at her two events in China and France.

Polina Edmunds, the youngest U.S. competitor across all sports at the Sochi Olympics at age 15, is entered in France as well. Edmunds hasn’t competed since the January 2016 U.S. Championships due to a bone bruise in her right foot.

Sochi Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova is not entered in any Grand Prix events.

She has not competed since placing sixth at the December 2015 Russian Championships but recently hired four-time Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko as a new coach.

Also absent from the Grand Prix lists are Olympic pairs champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov after Volosozhar gave birth to their daughter Feb. 16.

The Russian pair hasn’t competed since finishing sixth at the 2016 World Championships, their first time outside the top two in 19 top-level international competitions together.

Sotnikova and Volosozhar and Trankov could still be added to Rostelecom Cup as there are open spots for Russians in each discipline at that event.

Skate America, the biggest annual international event in the U.S., is one month later in this season’s calendar, taking place Thanksgiving weekend.

Here’s the full Grand Prix schedule:

Rostelecom Cup (Moscow) — Oct. 20-22
Skate Canada (Regina) — Oct. 27-29
Cup of China (Beijing) — Nov. 3-5
NHK Trophy (Osaka) — Nov. 10-12
Internationaux de France (Grenoble) — Nov. 17-19
Skate America (Lake Placid) — Nov. 24-26
Grand Prix Final (Nagoya, Japan) — Dec. 7-10

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