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From a lawyer to an actress: who became the figure skaters who won the Olympics

Anna Shcherbakova, 2022 Olympic champion in figure skating, is now far from competition, but she does not stutter about her retirement, and even she says nothing about missing the next Russian championship, mastering the profession of a TV presenter. Sport recalls how skates were hung up and in what areas the triumphant Olympics of the past found themselves.

Sarah Hughes, 2002 Olympics
The only athlete from this list who formally remains an active figure skater to this day. Sarah Hughes never announced her retirement, although 20 years have passed since her victory at the 2002 home Olympics in Salt Lake City. The circumstances of that victory are still disputed by some figure skating fans – mainly from the Russian Irina Slutskaya, who believes that the judges unfairly deprived her of a gold medal in favor of a local athlete.

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One way or another, the 16-year-old Hughes could not consolidate her victorious Olympic success. The skater entered the following season, winning silver at the US Championships and becoming sixth at the World Championships, since then she has not participated in competitions. In 2003, it became known that Hughes entered Yale University – from that moment on, her sports career, albeit unofficially, ended.

After studying at Yale, she commentated for the 2006 Turin Olympics for NBC, then received an additional degree in law from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, the Olympic champion works as a lawyer in New York.

Shizuka Arakawa, 2006 Olympics
Arakawa went to the victorious Olympics for her- 2006 in Turin for many years. She could have ended her career two years before her due to lack of motivation, chronic injuries and increased competition from the younger leaders of the Japanese national team. But the victory at the 2004 World Championship gave Shizuka hope for a brighter future.

src=”/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/2576e4bcd5459ceb2b9be298a68d0200.jpg” in vain. Before Turin, Arakawa began cooperation with Russian coach Nikolai Morozov, and this eventually helped her to take the coveted gold from Italy – she beat her closest rivals American Sasha Cohen and Russian Irina Slutskaya by 8 and 10 points, respectively. Immediately after that, the 24-year-old Arakawa retired.After the end of her career, Arakawa performed in various ice shows, and also worked on Japanese television as a competition commentator and even an actress in series. In particular, she starred in the eighth episode of the Asahi television show Shichinin no onna bengoshi as a prosecutor. In 2018, Arakawa was chosen to be included in the International Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

In 2013, it became known that the former skater got married. The name of the chosen one remained a secret.

Kim Young Ah, 2010 Olympics
By her first Olympic Games (2010), Kim Young Ah was already the most titled and popular figure skater in South Korean history. She has already won the Grand Prix Final twice and has been on the podium of the World Championship three times, winning once. Before the trip to Vancouver, it was she who was considered the favorite in the fight for Olympic gold, although it was expected that the fight with the Japanese Mao Asada would be hot.

As a result, Kim Young Ah beat her by 23 points and became the winner of the competition. Despite the fact that many athletes prefer to take a break after the Olympics, she has not missed a single full season since then, refusing only to participate in the stages of the Grand Prix series. In the summer of 2010, she scandalously left her coach Brian Orser, but this did not unsettle her and did not force her to reconsider her plans for a future career that stretched out for another Olympic cycle.

At the 2014 Games in Sochi, Kim Yong Ah was no longer the undisputed favorite, but was still among the main circle of contenders for gold. She won a minimal victory in the short program, but in the free program she could not oppose anything to Adeline Sotnikova, who gained momentum, and became the second. Shortly after the Olympics, the 24-year-old figure skater announced her retirement.

Years after retiring from the sport, Kim Yong Ah remains an ambassador for many brands, hosts his own ice show and does charity work. In South Korea, the figure skater is still one of the most popular people in the country.

And in October of this year, it became known that Kim Young Ah married the lead singer of the South Korean pop group Forestella Wurima Ko . The chosen one turned out to be five years younger than her, but this did not bother the newlyweds. Their wedding has become one of the most talked about autumn events in Asia, and photos of the happy couple have spread all over the world's fashion magazines.

Adelina Sotnikova, 2014 Olympics
Now the CSKA school is perhaps one of the most stellar and representative in Russian figure skating, but this was far from always the case. The ascent of the “soldiers” and personally their leading coach Elena Buyanova to the top began with the name of Adelina Sotnikova, the first Olympic champion in the history of Russia and the USSR in the women's singles, who took gold at the Olympics in Sochi.

Before going to the Games, Adeline was not a favorite. Thanks to her natural talent and the right training, she had great jumping technique, a signature spin position and the status of one of our youngest stars. But she did not have the main thing – stability and media support. It was assumed that with more or less equal performances, Yulia Lipnitskaya would become the champion – even younger and much more stable.As a result, at the Olympics itself, Yulia helped the Russian team win the team tournament, but she made a mistake on her own and dropped out of the fight. And Sotnikova, on the contrary, gave out two performances of life and bypassed all her rivals, creating one of the brightest Olympic sensations of our time.

The figure skater missed the post-Olympic season due to an ankle ligament injury, in the 2015/16 season she took part in four official starts (“Mordovian Patterns” – second place, “Zagreb's Golden Horse” – sixth, the Grand Prix stage in Moscow – third and the Russian Championship – sixth) and has since taken a break from her career. She changed mentor, going from Buyanova to Evgeni Plushenko, but was never able to recover from her health problems to continue competing. Instead of preparing for tournaments, she participated in various television and ice shows, but for a long time did not dare to announce her departure from the national team, for which she was criticized by fans and a number of representatives of the figure skating community.

Sotnikova did this only in 2020. Then she reported serious problems with her back and neck, because of which she had to undergo surgery. After the official end of her career, Adelina opened her own figure skating school, took part in the Ice Age show, and recently announced that she had become a mother.

Alina Zagitova, 2018 Olympics
In part, Alina's story resembles Sotnikova's situation, but with different undertones. Zagitova before her Olympics in Pyeongchang was also not a favorite and did not have media support, but stability and age were just on her side. Those who follow figure skating closely understood that if Alina rolled back to her strength, Evgenia Medvedeva could have serious problems. >And so it happened. Even with two clean skates, the two-time world, European and Grand Prix champion could not get past her young groupmate Eteri Tutberidze, whose technical complexity turned out to be insurmountable in practice. Olympic gold cast Zagitova into glory, numerous advertising contracts and invitations to ice shows, but before that she had to face an unpleasant moment. At the post-Olympic World Championships, which the main stars usually miss because of fatigue and for practical reasons (Medvedev, for example, did so), Alina made a large number of mistakes and took only fifth place.

br>This defeat was her motivation to enter the post-Olympic season against her original plans. She went through the first half of it in an outstanding way – she won tournaments, setting new world records at the same time. But by the time of the Russian Championship, where she failed the free program and sensationally took third place, it became obvious that the champion hardly finds an incentive to compete and is on the verge of emotional exhaustion.

The European Championship that followed him confirmed this. Having no equal rivals, Zagitova became the second, losing to the debutant of the adult season Sofya Samodurova, who had neither comparable championship authority among the judges, nor complex technical content. After that, she was barely able to get together for the World Championship, where she was waiting for the second meeting of the season with the Japanese Rika Kihira, at that time the strongest figure skater on the planet in terms of technique and components. For the first time, Zagitova lost to her without a chance in the Grand Prix Final, but in the second she was able to overcome herself and demonstrate two incredible performances, while Kihira could not cope with the excitement and did not end up even in the top three winners. That title of world champion Alina has repeatedly called the most valuable in her career.

The next season, Zagitova continued to compete, but no longer in the rank of one of the favorites. She competed with the already legendary at that time former juniors Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova and Alena Kostornaya, who seized upon adult competitions and took all the gold clean. After the Grand Prix Final, where Alina took the last (sixth) place, she no longer entered the competition, and in December 2019, on the air of the Channel One news release, she announced the suspension of her career.


“I even wrote myself a receipt that I promise to go to competitions, to the World Championships: I undertake to skate well and do everything in my power to perform at this competition,” said the champion. “the federation even has it. Then I wrote a receipt that I would perform at the Japan Open and two stages of the Grand Prix. I did it. Since I wrote, I fulfilled my promise. Since I did not write for the Grand Prix Final, I have “There was no such motivation. Now I am not yet ready to write the next receipt.” in ice shows. Despite the fact that she has not formally been an active athlete for the past three years, she still remains one of the most popular figure skaters on the planet.

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