Russia names figure skating worlds team; Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva oldest in 14 years
Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva finished last in Russia's three-woman team for the World Figure Skating Championship and is expected to be the first non-teen to compete in women's singles on Worlds for the nation since 2013.
Russia named its list for worlds - in three weeks in Stockholm - after a national competition last weekend.
It is headed by three-time reigning national champion Anna Shcherbakova, a 16-year-old who was used for her debut in the senior world. Another 16-year-old, Aleksandra Trusova, finished second by finishing third on national teams in December (and second among skaters old enough for senior worlds).
Tuktamysheva, 24 and the gold medalist in Her Last Worlds in 2015, was seventh among Citizens in December. But she was fourth among the skaters rated for Worlds (and just 0.38 points behind the third age-rated female skater).
At the Russian Cup final last weekend, Tuktamysheva took fourth place. But the three best drivers are all 14 years old and therefore too young for the senior world.
For last place on the world team, Tuktamysheva essentially overtook Aliona Kostornaya, the world's best female skater last season, who missed competitions this season, including nationals, after testing positive for the coronavirus. Kostornaya finished sixth in the Russian Cup final.
Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova last competed in December 2019 and has been competing for an indefinite period. The Olympic silver medalist Yevgenia Medvedeva has not competed since a national preseason event in early September. She has dealt with a back injury and will be hospitalized after being diagnosed with the coronavirus.
Aleksey Mishin, the venerable coach, who will be 80 next week, described the student Tuktamysheva as a statue of liberty for female singles from 20 years of age, according to Russian media.
Tuktamysheva will be the first Russian non-teen single skater to compete on worlds since Alena Leonova, who did so in 2013 at the age of 22. In the same year, Tuktamysheva made her world champion debut at the age of 16.
Tuktamysheva will be the oldest Russian single skater to compete in worlds since the 27-year-old Yelena Sokolova in 2007. Tuktamysheva doesn't have an Olympic team yet, but should she be the oldest Russian Olympic individual skater next year 2006, when Sokolova was 26 years old and Irina Slutskaya was 27 years old.
Russia could sweep the medals on worlds. This was expected last year before the worlds were canceled. Kostornaya, Shcherbakova and Trusova had won the titles of the Grand Prix series and the European championship in their first debut season.
Japanese rika Kihira, who finished fourth on the last worlds in 2019, could be the greatest threat.
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Russia appoints the team of figure skating worlds; Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva, the oldest in 14 years, originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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