Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya has admitted to feeling incredible pressure since she starred in the Sochi Olympic team event in February.
Lipnitskaya, 16, said she has “no freedom” and that under the media microscope in an interview published on Russia’s figure skating website, translated by The Associated Press.
”Whatever you do, everything is interpreted the wrong way and then has to be justified,” Lipnitskaya said, according to the AP. ”It’s not life, it’s constant stress.
”I’m a person like everyone else. I try to work on the things people expect of me, but I can’t live up to everyone’s desires and whims.”
Lipnitskaya spoke after finishing second at her first top-level event this season, the Cup of China in Shanghai last weekend. She finished second to countrywoman Elizaveta Tuktamysheva in Shanghai, losing her short program lead after she fell on one jump and popped two others in her free skate.
“This is the worst skate in all my life,” Lipnitskaya said after the free skate.
Lipnitskaya missed the awards ceremony and was fined. She said she thought the ceremony would be at a different time and was already back at her hotel when she received a phone call asking where she was.
Lipnitskaya shot to fame in her Olympic debut in Sochi. She led all women in the team event, being chosen to represent Russia over Adelina Sotnikova. Russia won gold, leading many to tap Lipnitskaya as the biggest threat to Yuna Kim in the later women’s event. Lipnitskaya became the second-youngest Olympic figure skating gold medalist ever.
But Lipnitskaya fell in her short program and free skate in the individual event, placing fifth, breaking into tears and saying nervousness and fatigure played a role. Sotnikova became the surprise gold medalist.
Lipnitskaya rebounded to win World Championships silver in March, though she again fell on her triple Salchow in the free skate.
Lipnitskaya’s next scheduled competition is the Trophee Bompard in France next week. She is the only woman with an Olympic medal who is competing in the Grand Prix season, after Sotnikova withdrew with an ankle injury.