GENERICO.ruSportI'm tired of torturing myself. Which figure skater retired early?

I'm tired of torturing myself. Which figure skater retired early?


Former student of Eteri Tutberidze Daria Usacheva has completed her career. Sources reported this in early August, and now the information has been confirmed by the 17-year-old figure skater herself, becoming the latest Russian athlete to “retire” at a fairly young age. Read about which other figure skaters left the sport early.

Alina Zagitova
Describing the career of Alina Zagitova is a monkey’s work, so let’s just remind you, in case anyone suddenly forgot, that we are talking about the second figure skater in history to collect all the major titles known to world figure skating. Although, it is probably more correct to say fourth, because it is unlikely that Olympic champions Sonja Henie and Katharina Witt would not have won the Grand Prix Final if it had been held during their career years – and this is precisely what they lack for a full set.

However, being among such legends only emphasizes Alina’s colossal contribution to world figure skating and her kind of greatness. At the same time, there is an obviously ambiguous feature of her career in comparison with others – it ended when Alina was only 17 years old. While Henie, Katharina Witt, and Kim Yong Ah, who became the world’s first winner of the “career slam,” competed even after 20.

Zagitova's adult career spanned only two full seasons. In the first, she won everything, including the Olympics, but did not make it through the World Championships – she began to grow, and her body could no longer cope with the exorbitant loads. In the second, she lost everything except the World Championship, having completed the main task for her entire sports life, in fact, by the age of 16. Many expected her to leave even then, but Alina and her coaches decided to make one more attempt. True, that season Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova and Alena Kostornaya moved up to seniors – and Alina was simply “buried”. After the last (sixth) place in the Grand Prix Final in Turin, she went for an interview live on the news broadcast, and then everyone already knows.

Most likely , in the case of Zagitova we are talking about banal burnout. Training in an extremely harsh mode is good for achieving the shortest result, but when a medal has already been received, all the point in torturing yourself disappears. Alina got tired and left. Although formally she “didn’t go anywhere.”

Alena Kanysheva
Somehow, very quickly everyone forgot one of the most talented juniors in Russia in recent times. In the juniors, Kanysheva tried to compete almost on equal terms with Trusova, Shcherbakova and Kostornaya, even though their “share” in the sport was higher even then. She shone with excellent programs and insinuating, artistic skating, which lacked only one thing for a victorious shine – ultra-C elements.

Following this, after the 2018/19 season, she moved from her coach Svetlana Panova to Eteri Tutberidze. At Khrustalny, Alena very quickly learned the quadruple sheepskin coat, and then just as quickly disappeared from the radar due to a serious back injury. After some time, she tried to switch to ice dancing, but she failed to achieve success there either. At the age of 16, Kanysheva was already involved in coaching.

Anastasia Tarakanova
Once one of the stars of the Tutberidze group, now Anastasia is already in a well-deserved “retirement”. Her high jump, artistry and great natural talent should have brought her to the top, but led to her early retirement from the sport. In juniors, Nastya was very noticeable and even won twice at the junior stages of the Grand Prix, but then problems with health and motivation began, which led to a frantic search for suitable coaching teams and a lack of stability in the training process.

After Tutberidze, she tried to skate with Evgeni Plushenko (they parted ways with mutual reproaches), then returned to Panova, with whom she studied before Eteri Georgievna. During the pandemic season, Anastasia tried to revive Ksenia Ivanova’s career, but already in 2021 it became known that her career was over. At that time, Tarakanova, like Usacheva, was only 17 years old.

Anna Shcherbakova
The Olympic champion has repeatedly spoken about her love for sports, but she has not yet been able to find motivation after big victories. To complete her collection of titles, all she had left were the gold medals of the European Championship and the Grand Prix Final, however, in the conditions of international isolation, the likelihood of getting them became as slim as possible. Therefore, a few months after the victorious Olympics in Beijing, Anna underwent knee surgery and at the age of 18 actually ended her career.

True, this spring she thought about returning to the sport and even made active attempts to resume training at the training camp of the Tutberidze group in Novogorsk, as both sources and ice show producer Ilya Averbukh spoke about. However, almost immediately after arriving at the training base, Anna was struck down by mononucleosis, and plans to enter the season dissolved by themselves.

Sofia Samodurova
There are not many figure skating athletes who managed to defeat Alina Zagitova, but Sofya Samodurova is among them. In her debut season at the adult level, Sofia skated extremely consistently and thanks to this she was able to show good results even without super complex technical content. At the 2019 European Championships in Minsk, she put together two clean programs, while Zagitova, who was the main favorite of the tournament, failed in the free program.

So Samodurova won the main title in her career. Then the skater was hit by puberty, from which it was no longer possible to get out of it to her former heights. By the age of 19, she had already begun training in the group of her mentor Alexei Mishin and has not returned to big-time sports since then.

Evgenia Medvedeva
Like Samodurova, Medvedeva stopped competing at a fairly mature age compared to other figure skaters – at 19 years old. After the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, where Evgenia won two silver medals, she changed her coach twice – first she left Tutberidze for Brian Orser, who helped her go through a difficult period of adaptation to an adult body and gaining condition after a physically and mentally exhausting Olympic season. And after the unsuccessful autumn of 2018, a completely successful spring of 2019 followed, in which Medvedeva managed to win bronze at the World Championship – not such a seemingly significant award after two championships, but of great value in the context of overcoming oneself.

In the fall of the subsequent season, Evgenia, it would seem, was able to adapt to the new training conditions and improve her results. In this regard, even the breakdown of her skates, due to which she had to withdraw from the Russian Championship in Krasnoyarsk, did not look like a disaster. However, then came the pandemic and quarantine, during which the two-time world champion’s back problems worsened. It was they who ultimately forced Medvedeva to put an end to her career.


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