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Will Russian skaters sweep the podium at the Olympics?

Posted January. 18, 2022 07:54,   

Updated January. 18, 2022 07:54


Will non-Russian figure skaters be able to catch up with the Russian trio at the Olympics?

Three Russian figure skaters swept the podium in ladies singles competition at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships that ended in Tallinn, Estonia on Sunday. Russian teenage sensation Kamila Valieva won gold with a total of 259.06 points, followed by Anna Shcherbakova (237.42) and Alexandra Trusova (234.46)

The three Russian figure skaters are on fire. They have landed on the podium all along at ISU competitions this season. They have season’s best scores as well. Valieva recorded the season’s highest score, 272.71, at the Rostelecom Cup, followed by Shcherbakova (237.42) and Trusova (234.36) at the European Figure Skating Championships. From the first to sixth places were all taken by Russians and Sakamoto Kaori from Japan was placed in seventh. In particular, Valieva’s score is overwhelming that it ranks eight among male single skaters. Even if the Russian trio makes one or two mistakes in a competition, the standings may not change.

Foreign media outlets predict that the three Russian figure skaters will sweep the podium at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. “The technical elements of the three Russian figure skaters are astonishing. It’s amazing that they can perform so many quads and triple axels,” said Karen Chen, who will compete at the Olympics representing the U.S. Foreign media outlets even reporting that the only way non-Russian female single skaters can make it to the podium is if one of the Russian skaters gets injured.

All three Russian skaters are coincidentally being coached by Eteri Tutberidze, 48, at the Sambo 70 skating club in Moscow. Coach Tutberidze also trained Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, the gold and silver medalist at 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. The ABC News wrote that coach Tutberidze has the ability to bring out the best in figure skaters. It is also worth noticing that Valieva, who used to have weak jumps, was motivated by quad-jumper Trusova while training and has now become the best jumper in the world.

Of course, it is not sure who will stand on the podium at the Olympics in Beijing. Alysa Liu, figure skater representing the U.S. national team, said the Olympics have not even begun yet but she does not know what to do (to stop the Russian trio).

Dong-Wook Kim creating@donga.com