Success of Russia’s Female Figure Skaters Takes a Toll in Injuries and Stress
Jumps of four revolutions, long performed by men but seldom by women, would be “the next step”
in the evolution of the sport, she predicted, adding, “In a few years, it will be normal.”
Johnny Weir, a retired, two-time Olympian from the United States who trained with Russians during his career, said
that while there was always danger in overtraining or attempting jumps a skater was not ready for, Russian coaches and officials were systematic and careful in their approach.
Her fragile foot has raised continued questions about whether Russia’s reliance on tiny young female skaters — who best succeed with the difficult jumps required in today’s scoring system — has put some elite performers at risk of getting hurt
and having their careers derailed while they are still teenagers.
In Russia’s centralized training system, where a number of top skaters practice together
and push each other daily, girls as young as 10, 11 or 12 are performing a number of challenging jumps requiring three revolutions.
Medvedeva and her training partner, Alina Zagitova, 15, are widely expected to win two of the three available medals in women’s singles skating at the Winter Games
and are expected to make Russia a gold medal favorite in the team competition.
She argued forcefully — and successfully — at a December meeting of the International Olympic Committee
that all Russian athletes should not be barred from the 2018 Games because of a state-sponsored system of doping at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.