Figure skating minimum age rises to 17 before 2026 Olympics

FILE - Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, falls in the women's free skate program during the figure skating competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Beijing. No 15-year-old figure skaters will be allowed to compete at the 2026 Olympics following the controversy surrounding Russian competitor Kamila Valieva at this year's Beijing Games. A new age limit for figure skaters at senior international events was passed Tuesday, June 7, 2022 by the International Skating Union in a 110-16 vote that will raise the minimum age to 17 before the next Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)

FILE – Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, falls in the women’s no cost skate method during the determine skating opposition at the 2022 Wintertime Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Beijing. No 15-yr-previous determine skaters will be authorized to compete at the 2026 Olympics adhering to the controversy bordering Russian competitor Kamila Valieva at this year’s Beijing Games. A new age limit for determine skaters at senior global occasions was passed Tuesday, June 7, 2022 by the Intercontinental Skating Union in a 110-16 vote that will raise the least age to 17 before the next Wintertime Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. (AP Picture/Bernat Armangue, File)

AP

No 15-year-old determine skaters will be allowed to contend at the 2026 Olympics next the controversy surrounding Russian nationwide winner Kamila Valieva at this year’s Beijing Game titles.

A new age restrict for figure skaters at senior global functions was handed Tuesday by the International Skating Union in a 110-16 vote that will increase the minimum age to 17 prior to the future Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

“This is a really significant decision,” ISU president Jan Dijkema explained. “I would say a pretty historic final decision.”

The limit will be phased in with 15-calendar year-olds continuing to be allowed to compete following period, a minimum amount age of 16 in the 2023-24 season, soaring to 17 the time after, which is the previous ahead of the Olympics.

The ISU mentioned the new rule was “for the sake of safeguarding the actual physical and psychological wellness, and psychological very well-currently being of the skaters.”

It ought to disrupt the job of prime Russian junior Sofia Akateva, who is 14. Her birthday in July falls times immediately after the July 1 deadline to classify skaters’ ages for the future season, although for the 2026 Olympics she will be 18 and in a position to contend.

The modify was coming even prior to figure skating at the Beijing Olympics was dominated by the emotional stress put on the 15-calendar year-aged Valieva. She was the preferred to just take specific gold, immediately after aiding the Russians win the team title, prior to her positive doping examination from December was belatedly disclosed for the duration of the Olympics.

The teenager was allowed to teach beneath intense scrutiny as a Court of Arbitration for Activity listening to was geared up that authorized her to contend pending the total investigation in Russia. That is still ongoing.

Even so, her primary regimen was stuffed with mistakes and she dropped to fourth position. She was then criticized rink-side by her coach, Eteri Tutberidze.

The ISU drafted an age-limit proposal stating “burnout, disordered feeding on, and extensive-phrase consequences of injury” ended up a danger to young teenage skaters who are pushed to complete more quadruple jumps.

The conclusion was criticized in Russia, where by skaters are at this time banned by the ISU from global competitions due to the fact of the country’s army invasion of Ukraine.

“I believe it was done to additional or fewer even out the level of competition, so that our Russian feminine skaters could not have the opportunity to gain world championship, European, Olympic medals,” Dmitri Soloviev, a crew function gold medalist for Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, instructed broadcaster Match Television set.

“But in my opinion Eteri Tutberidze will locate a way to get our athletes into suitable issue at the age of 17 or 18,” Soloviev reported, “so that they can clearly show their very best benefits at global competitions at that age in individual.”

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