Yevgenia Medvedeva withdrew from next week’s world figure skating championships due to a recurrence of a right foot injury that kept her out of competition in December, according to the Russian Figure Skating Federation.
The absence of the two-time world champion and Olympic silver medalist makes training partner and Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova an even bigger favorite at worlds in Milan, Italy.
Medvedeva joins the other 2017 World champions — Yuzuru Hanyu, Sui Wenjing and Han Cong and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir in missing worlds.
Hanyu and Sui and Han also cited injuries, while Virtue and Moir may be retiring. This same scenario — the previous year’s world champions in every discipline missing the post-Olympics worlds — happened in 2014.
Top skaters often skip the world championships that are held one month after the Olympics for fatigue or off-ice opportunities.
Medvedeva, 18, could have tried to become the first woman to win three straight world singles titles since Peggy Fleming 50 years ago.
Instead, she’ll have to return from four to eight weeks of recovery to offseason training at some point, then face stiff domestic competition to return to the top of her sport.
Not only has Zagitova blossomed from world junior champion to the best senior skater this season, but a host of young Russian teens are similarly on the rise. Such as 13-year-old Alexandra Trusova, who on Saturday became the first woman to land two different quads in one program in winning junior worlds.
Due to age rules, Trusova cannot compete at senior worlds until 2020.
Notable skaters missing senior worlds:
Yuzuru Hanyu (JPN) — Injured
Javier Fernandez (ESP)
Patrick Chan (CAN) — Reportedly retired
Adam Rippon (USA)
Yevgenia Medvedeva (RUS) — Injured
Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir (CAN) — Possibly retiring
Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani (USA)
Yekaterina Bobrova/Dmitry Soloviyev (RUS)
Sui Wenjing/Han Cong (CHN) — Sui’s injured
Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford (CAN) — Retired
OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!Follow @nzaccardi