Aliona Kostornaya the latest Russian figure skating star to miss nationals
Aliona Kostornaya, the world's best figure skater last season, reportedly missed this week's Russian championships along with 2018 Olympic gold and silver medalists.
According to Russian media reports quoting her coach, four-time Olympic champion Yevgeny Plusschenko and the president of the Russian Skating Federation, Kostornaya did not recover from her coronavirus battle in time.
It was announced on December 4th that she had tested positive.
The withdrawal puts Kostornaya's potential place on a Russian team of three women for the World Cup in March in doubt. As part of the normal selection process, the two best participants in the national team receive world spots, provided they are of age.
Third place usually goes to the third best finisher, but there is discretion to choose a skater who did not compete with nationals.
Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva, the gold and silver medalists of the PyeongChang Olympics, previously announced that they would not compete against nationals. The short program is Friday and the free skate Saturday.
Zagitova has been on an indefinite break from competition since last December.
Medvedeva, who was also infected with the coronavirus, was hospitalized for most of November and early December with an illness.
Kostornaya, Zagitova or Medvedeva have each won the biggest international competition of the season in the last five years.
Last season, Kostornaya won all three Grand Prix starts, including the Grand Prix Final, and won the European title in her first international senior campaign. She was the favorite for the world championships before the event was canceled due to the pandemic.
The top skaters who are still registered with the national teams include the defending champion Anna Shcherbakova, the 2015 world champion Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva, and the last two junior world champions, Aleksandra Trusova and Kamila Valiyeva. Valiyeva is not old enough for the Seniors World Cup in 2021.
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The newest Russian figure skating star to go missing nationals, Aliona Kostornaya originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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