Figure Skating

Alina Zagitova not planning to retire

Kyodo

Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova on Sunday responded to media speculation that she is leaving the sport for good, posting on Instagram that she doesn’t intend to “stop or retire.”

The 17-year-old Olympic and world champion told a Russian TV station on Friday that she would not compete at the national championships later this month, which will make her ineligible for the European and world championships early next year.

“Following my latest TV appearance I am getting a lot of questions,” Zagitova said in a message posted in three languages — Russian, English and Japanese.

“For me, figure skating is all about what I always worked for and continue working for since I was 4 years old. Forever I will be grateful to my coaches for the tremendous job we have done and I am not planning either to stop or retire,” she said.

“I am still part of team Russia and still I can take part in international competitions for team Russia. I am continuing my figure skating way with the great support from my coaches.”

This season, Zagitova has struggled to keep up with a new generation of Russian skaters, and finished sixth at the recent Grand Prix Final. Alena Kostornaia, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, all working with Zagitova’s coach Eteri Tutberidze, swept the podium.