Adelina Sotnikova

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Adelina Sotnikova retires from figure skating competition

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Adelina Sotnikova, the Sochi Olympic figure skating champion who last competed in 2015, confirmed that she retired from competition, according to Russian media.

“Officially, I want to say one thing — I’m done with professional sport, that’s for sure, because at the moment I want to be healthy, happy,” Sotnikova said on Russian TV, according to a TASS translation. “It’s sad and hard for me to say this. I will continue to make my fans happy, but not on the professional level. I do miss it insanely, when I watch competitions, my heart breaks because I want to, but, unfortunately, my health doesn’t allow me to.”

Sotnikova, then 17, became Russia’s first Olympic women’s singles champion in 2014, upsetting defending champion Yuna Kim of South Korea. The result was close and controversial, with Sotnikova overtaking Kim in the free skate to prevail by 5.48 points.

Korea Skating Union complaints about the judging were dismissed by the International Skating Union, which found no bias from Russian judge Alla Shekhovtseva, who had married a top Russian figure skating federation official and was seen hugging Sotnikova shortly after she won gold.

Sotnikova became the first female singles skater to take Olympic gold without any prior individual Olympic or world championships medals. In 2018, countrywoman Alina Zagitova matched the feat.

After Sochi, Sotnikova skated just once on the international Grand Prix circuit. Her last competitive skate was a sixth-place finish at the December 2015 Russian Championships.

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Adelina Sotnikova, Sochi Olympic figure skating champ, to miss season

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Sochi figure skating gold medalist Adelina Sotnikova‘s competitive break will extend at least another year.

The 22-year-old Russian said she will not compete at all this season but hopes to come back next year, according to TASS.

Sotnikova said she does not want to compete until she is physically and psychologically 100 percent. To return and place sixth at the Russian Championships (as she did at her last event in December 2015) is pointless, she said, according to the report.

Sotnikova has skated just once on the international Grand Prix circuit since taking the 2014 Olympic title over Yuna Kim. Sotnikova has not announced retirement, though, unlike her Sochi teammate and fellow gold medalist Yulia Lipnitskaya.

Sotnikova hired four-time Russian Olympic medalist Yevgeny Plushenko as a coach in 2017 but has so far under his guidance strictly performed in non-competitive shows.

In 2014, Sotnikova became the first female singles skater to take Olympic gold without any prior individual Olympic or world championships medals. This year, countrywoman Alina Zagitova matched the feat.

If Sotnikova returns, even at 22, it will be difficult to keep up with Russian women’s skating. Every Russian entered at the Olympics and world championships the last five years has been a teenager.

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Ashley Wagner takes figure skating break; Gracie Gold set to return

Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold
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Ashley Wagner is taking her first competitive break after 11 seasons as a senior figure skater, sitting out the fall Grand Prix series, while Gracie Gold is scheduled to compete for the first time since January 2017.

“After the craziness of last season, I decided to take a breather and sit out of this Grand Prix season,” was posted on Wagner’s Instagram. “My passion for the sport burns very bright, but after 11 seasons on the circuit I am ready for a bit of a break! I am continuing to train and take this day by day, but I’m allowing myself the opportunity to open up the definition of what skating means to me!”

Wagner, a 2014 Olympic team event bronze medalist and 2016 World silver medalist, and 2014 Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova of Russia were the notable singles skaters missing from the Grand Prix assignments published by the International Skating Union on Thursday.

Gold, a two-time U.S. champion who was fourth at the 2014 Olympics, is the newsworthy name on the entry lists.

GRAND PRIX ENTRIES: Men | Women | Pairs | Ice Dance

She announced Sept. 1 that she was seeking professional help “after recent struggles on and off the ice,” then in October said she was in treatment for an eating disorder, depression and anxiety. Gold attended January’s U.S. Championships but had not announced anything regarding a possible return to skating.

The Grand Prix is the equivalent of figure skating’s regular season. The world’s best skaters each compete twice out of six events in October and November, with the top six per discipline qualifying for December’s Grand Prix Final, a prelude to the world championships in March.

This fall’s headliners are Olympic champions Alina Zagitova and Yuzuru Hanyu and silver medalists Yevgenia Medvedeva and Shoma Uno as well as U.S. champions Nathan Chen and Bradie Tennell.

The six Grand Prix series events are Skate America, Skate Canada, Grand Prix Finland (replacing Cup of China), NHK Trophy (Japan), Rostelecom Cup (Russia) and Internationaux de France. The Grand Prix Final is in Vancouver.

Wagner, 27, is the most accomplished U.S. woman over the last decade, taking three national titles, five Grand Prix wins and three Grand Prix Final medals. At her last competition, she placed fourth at the U.S. Championships in January, missing the three-woman Olympic team.

Wagner then withdrew from the Four Continents Championships and declined a spot at March’s world championships after PyeongChang Olympian Karen Chen gave up her spot after the Winter Games.

Sotnikova, 21, has skated just once on the Grand Prix circuit since taking the Sochi Olympic title over Yuna Kim four years ago and hasn’t competed anywhere since the start of 2017. Sotnikova has not announced retirement, though, unlike her Sochi teammate and fellow gold medalist Yulia Lipnitskaya.

Other big names missing from Grand Prix assignments already said they are taking a break from skating (Adam RipponMirai NagasuMaia Shibutani and Alex ShibutaniJavier Fernandez, Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot), retiring (Patrick ChanMeagan Duhamel and Eric Radford) or are simply not expected to compete again (Tessa Virtue and Scott MoirMeryl Davis and Charlie WhiteTatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov).

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