By Nancy Gillen |
The International Skating Union (ISU) is set to discuss raising the age limit of figure skaters following the death of Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya.
The minimum competition age in figure skating is 15, but may be raised to 17 to prevent the abuse of young athletes.
Pre-teen and early adolescent skaters are also required to perform complex jumps and dangerous routines in order to be ready for international competition, which could be averted by putting up the age limit.
Dutch figure skating officials had submitted an “urgent proposal” to the ISU to raise the minimum eligibility age to 17 in 2018, but it was not discussed during that year’s Congress.
But ISU President Jan Dijkema has revealed there could be a re-think, according to The Australian.
“The ISU, through the respective ISU Member Federations, is trying to obtain information that might lead to review certain ISU rules and procedures, especially related to the applicable age limits,” he said.
“Besides a possible ISU Council proposal to be put on the agenda of the 2021 Congress, some ISU Member Federations have signalled their intention to do so.
“There will most likely be a debate on the issue at the Congress.”
The next ISU Congress is due to take place on the Thai island of Phuket from June 8 to 12 2021, having been rescheduled from this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It is thought the recent age-limit discussion has been sparked by the death of Alexandrovskaya, the the Russian-born figure skater who represented Australia at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
Police ruled the cause of death in June as suicide, and reports of the 20-year-old Alexandrovskaya struggling with a demanding coach and loneliness have since emerged.
Singapore’s Jessica Shuran Yu has shared information of the abuse she suffered as a young figure skater, claiming that from the age of 11 she was hit repeatedly with a plastic skate guard and kicked with a blade of the skate until she bled for being “too lazy”.
A group of 21 coaches have recently been suspected of wrongdoing in French figure skating, ranging from physical and verbal abuse to sexual assault.
Abuse stories have also been uncovered in Britain, the United States, The Netherlands and New Zealand in gymnastics, another sport where young athletes are prominent.
insidethegames contacted the ISU for comment.
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.