The Congress of the International Skating Union (ISU) in 2021 will consider raising the age limit in women’s skating from 15 to 17 years. This initiative was launched by the Netherlands Figure Skating Federation last year, but then the ISU ignored it. Now the head of the union, Dutchman Jan Daikem, who was elected to his post in June 2016, said that the organization had nevertheless decided to consider the proposal. One of the reasons is the suicide of Ekaterina Aleksandrovskaya, a 20-year-old Australian figure skater of Russian origin. As a reminder, the athlete fell out of the window of her house in Moscow on the night of July 18.

The first Russian world figure skating champion Maria Butyrskaya, who won the 1999 World Cup at the age of 26, believes that if the ISU Congress decides to raise the age limit, it will lead to a revolution in women’s single skating. Also, the titled athlete noted the progress of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and expressed her point of view on personal contacts.

Increasing the age limit will change everything

I would like to know your point of view on the possible raising of the age limit in women’s single skating from 15 to 17 years old.

I played for the national team for a long time (Maria Butyrskaya ended her sports career at the age of 31. – Approx. “SE”) and during this period, girls who were 15 years old quite often won major competitions. So I’m used to it. It was even an incentive to work on oneself five times more, to be equal to the young. Because at 15 you do one volume of work, and at 26 it is much more intense training. All the elements are given to you much more difficult. At the same time, it is very cool when you in adulthood can beat young people. I remember they wrote about me – “the grandmother of figure skating.” And then I was only 24-25, I had not won the world championship yet. It was funny.

If the age limit is raised, will it change a lot?

If the ISU really does this, it will change history. Everything will change. After all, there are many cases when girls won the Olympics at the age of 15, and after that they ended their careers. Perhaps, with raising the age limit, there will be much fewer such cases. We’ll have to adjust to the new rules, rebuild. This can contribute to a longer career. Still, this question was raised for a reason. This means that the ISU leadership has certain concerns.

In general, are you “for” or “against” raising the age limit?

It is difficult to unequivocally answer this question. The only thing I want is that girls who are 23-30 years old also continue to skate and compete at the highest level. A striking example is the Italian Carolina Costner (the titled Italian won the bronze medal of the 2018 Olympic Games at the age of 31). I wish there were more such skaters. And the decision is really difficult. Thank God that I do not solve such issues ( laughs ).

Tuktamysheva is a figure skater with a capital letter

Of the current Russian athletes, the veteran status is attributed to 23-year-old Elizaveta Tuktamysheva …

She’s smart. Lisa is an example for all our juniors. At 23, she continues to master new elements, improves in everything. She is not a passing vision in figure skating, but a figure skater with a capital letter. Those who last so long and show high results are great fellows.

In a couple of years, such words can be said about Evgeny Medvedev?

A lot of good things can be said about Zhenya. She did a lot for figure skating. I hope that she will delight us with her performances for a long time to come. She has everything she needs to build a long career.

The skater gives 30 percent of his prize money to the coach anyway – this is good money

Another issue that is now causing discussion is the possible conclusion of personal contracts between an athlete and a coach. What do you think about this?

It will be difficult to do it following the example of football or hockey. We have an individual sport, not a team sport. Everything is built on personal relationships that can be broken. Still, if a good student leaves his coach, then the mentor will have huge bonuses from this athlete. Firstly, it is a reputation to get new talented children, and secondly, the skater gives 30 percent of his prize money to the coach. Believe me, this is a good income, which guarantees a decent income. The coach himself does not financially invest in his student. So to seal their relationship with a personal contract is unnecessary. Honestly, I don’t see the possibility of burdening the skater with any other forfeit.

But this will avoid the sudden transitions that occurred last summer.

A person has the right to choose. Today everything is fine with a personal trainer, tomorrow it did not work. The smallest detail can lead to conflict between coach and student. We have this kind of sport. And the athlete wants to move on, get a new challenge. Are you sealed by a contract and must pay a forfeit? Where to get that kind of money?


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