There’s no telling how far the ripple effects of the Beijing Olympics figure-skating mayhem will go.
An event filled with controversy continued to deliver disappointment, with silver medalist and rising star Alexandra Trusova vowing never to skate again after Tuesday’s results.
“Everyone has a gold medal, everyone, but not me,” Trusova said, according to The Guardian. “I hate skating. I hate it. I hate this sport. I will never go out on the ice again! Never! I hate! It’s impossible, it’s impossible! You can not do it this way.”
The 17-year-old Trusova may have had good reason for the outburst. She became the first athlete to land five quad jumps in a single Olympic routine — just days after her Russian Olympic Committee teammate Kamila Valieva became the first athlete ever to land a quad jump in the Winter Games, period.
But it still wasn’t enough for gold, as the judges gave Trusova a combined score of 251.73 — 4.22 below fellow Russian and now-gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova.
“I am not happy with the result,” said Trusova. “There is no happiness. Everything was enough for me. I did everything. And after, it is out of my hands.”
Shcherbakova, who’s also 17 years old, fielded questions about retirement after her Olympic triumph while remaining tepid about the result. She offered words of support for training partner Valieva, who failed to medal after a turbulent week and a well-documented doping scandal in Beijing.
“I still don’t comprehend what has happened,” said Shcherbakova. “On the one hand I feel happy, on the other I feel this emptiness inside.”
The decision to allow 15-year-old Valieva to compete, made by the International Olympic Committee and Court of Arbitration for Sport, raised myriad questions about the integrity of the Games, as well as whether there was any real concern about the athletes’ well-being — especially those as young as the trio of Russian figure skaters.
Valieva’s devastating performance in the four-minute program of the women’s figure-skating event on Tuesday showed that most of those questions were justified.
“I was watching Kamila and from her first jump I saw how difficult it was for her, what a burden it was, and I understand what an athlete feels,” Shcherbakova said. “It is more than difficult to go on after a couple of things like that and I will tell her afterwards what I think personally.”
Even more concerns were raised after Valieva’s final outing, mostly regarding her mental state and treatment by the hands of her coaching staff. The teenager’s coach, Eteri Tutberidze, made headlines for reportedly asking her a slew of critical questions, including “Why did you stop fighting? Explain it to me, why?”
IOC president Thomas Bach said he was “very disturbed” by Valieva’s demeanour and the way she was received by the grown-ups around her.
“When I saw how she was received by her closest entourage, with such, what appeared to be tremendous coldness, it was chilling to see this,” Bach said. “Rather than giving her comfort, rather than to try to help her, you could feel this chilling atmosphere, this distance.”
Despite her disappointing finish in the women’s event, Valieva helped the ROC to gold in Beijing’s team competition. She will have to wait for final conclusions on her doping case before claiming that medal.