MOSCOW – Adelina Sotnikova, who became Russia’s first woman to win figure skating singles gold, announced Monday she is ending her career at 23 after a long break from the sport.
“I want to say one thing officially, I’ve definitely finished with professional sport,” she told Russian television, after injuries prevented her from competing since 2015.
Aged 17, she beat reigning champion Yuna Kim of South Korea to win gold at the Sochi Winter Olympics, an event now tarnished by a scandal over mass doping by Russian athletes.
Her triumph was unexpected and caused controversy over the judging as some commentators and skaters questioned whether her technical prowess trumped Kim’s error-free performance.
Born on July 1, 1996, Sotnikova began skating at the age of 4 at an ice rink near her home in Moscow.
She debuted at the senior level at the 2009 nationals and won gold at the age of 12.
She became the third Russian woman to win an Olympics singles skating medal after Irina Slutskaya won silver in 2002 and bronze in 2006, and Soviet skater Kira Ivanova took a bronze in 1984.
Dogged by injuries, her last competitive performance was in 2015 when she finished sixth at the national championship.
In 2017, she began training with skating star Evgeni Plushenko.
A year later, she opted not to defend her title at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang because of an ankle injury. Russian 15-year-old Alina Zagitova went on to win gold.
Sotnikova “constantly tried to return to sport but her injuries didn’t let her, it didn’t work out,” coach Plushenko told TASS news agency.