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Satoko Miyahara
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2020 Youth Olympic Games: Figure Skating

On January 9, the opening ceremony of the III Winter Youth Olympic Games took place. Following Austria and Norway, Switzerland takes over the competition for talented athletes. Representatives of 79 countries will compete in sixteen disciplines: biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, skiing, Nordic combined, short track, speed skating, ski jumping, bobsled, skeleton, sledding, curling, freestyle skiing, sno mountain climbing and, of course, in figure skating.

The composition of the Russian figure skating team YOI-2020:

Girls: Ksenia Sinitsyna, Anna Frolova
Boys: Andrey Mozalev, Daniil Samsonov
Couples: Diana Mukhametzyanova – Ilya Mironov, Apollinaria Panfilova – Dmitry Rylov
Dances: Irina Khavronina – Dario Chirizano, Sofia Tyutyunina – Alexander Shustitsky.

Skaters begin the fight for medals on Friday, January 10th. On this day, couples and young men will go out on the ice with their short programs. On Saturday, January 11, dance couples and girls will start. Even a cursory glance at the composition of the Russian national team is enough for the fans of figure skating, who watch only for adult athletes, to have questions.

Why is the group of Eteri Tutberidze represented by only one athlete – Daniil Samsonov? Where is Anna Shcherbakova, Alexander Trusov, Alena Kostornaya?

Where is the winner of the Junior Grand Prix 2019/20 Final Kamila Valieva?

Where did Victoria Vasilyeva, who was originally supposed to go to Switzerland, go to?

What an unusual discipline – mixed teams without taking into account nationality?

Will there be any of the top skaters?

Alena Kostornaya, Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova

First things first. Despite the loud signboard of the competition, this is not the case when athletes dream of getting into the Youth Olympic Games at all costs. Previously, they were not called so pathetic at all – they were just the World Youth Games. The problem of the IOI, held every four years, is how the age limits of the participants are outlined. In order to get to Switzerland 2020, one had to be born from January 1, 2003 to December 31, 2005 (talking about singles and girls in pair skating and ice dancing) or from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2004 (talking about young men in pair skating and ice dancing).

It turns out that not all athletes are destined to speak at the Olympic Games. The four-year cycle includes only three years of birth. For this reason, one of the strongest Russian juniors at the moment, Kamila Valieva and Daria Usacheva, fly past previous, current and future JOIs. 13-year-old Valieva and Usacheva were born on April 26 and May 22, 2006, respectively. Camila is the winner of the final of the Grand Prix 2019/20, Dasha became the third there.

But American Alice Liu and Korean Lee Hae In, the only foreigners in the UGP finals, could go to the YOI. But 14-year-old Liu decided to concentrate on the US Championship, which starts on January 20. She is the current champion of the country, so she really wants to keep this title. Lee Hae In did not attend the Games due to South Korea’s limited quota. They have only one place in men’s and women’s single skating, so it was decided to send to Switzerland a stronger skater – three-time champion of the country Yu Yong. This season, the owner of the triple axel had third and fourth places at the stages of the adult Grand Prix. It is not surprising that Yu Yong is the main favorite of the YOI.

As you may have already guessed, the absence in the Russian national team of two-time national champion Anna Shcherbakova, two-time world champion among juniors Alexandra Trusova and the winner of the 2019/20 Grand Prix finals among adults Alena Kostornaya can be explained by the same reasons as Liu. By age, all three students of Eteri Tutberidze pass. But the coaching staff decided to concentrate on preparing for a more significant event – the European Championship, which starts on January 20 in Austria.

It is the national federations that determine who goes to the YOI. After the refusal, the sports principle worked: the vouchers were received by athletes who made it to the final of the junior Grand Prix. Valieva and Usacheva did not pass by age, so two places went to Ksenia Sinitsyna, who became fourth there, and Victoria Vasilyeva, who took sixth place. However, in mid-December, it became clear that Vasilyeva had problems with her joints, because of which she had to withdraw from the Russian championship, and then with the UOI. The skater’s coach Sergei Davydov notes that his ward will have time to recover by February 18, to speak in the final of the Cup of Russia.

The place of Vasilyeva in the team at the YOI was taken by Anna Frolova, the best of the others at the last championship of Russia. There, another ward of Davydov, who unexpectedly went to him from Svetlana Panova during the season, became the sixth, losing only to the TSCH to Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Sinitsyna. The figures of Victoria and Anna at the Russian Championship – 202.96 and 199.29 respectively – allow us to count on a medal in Switzerland. By the way, Sinitsyna is a student of Panova. So it’s a big mistake to think that in Russia there is only Eteri Georgievna.

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