Proposed figure skating body details to raise age limit to 17 | Sports

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GENEVA (AP) — Figure skating’s governing body has detailed a proposal to raise the age limit for athletes to 17 at the Olympics and other international events.

The proposal was expected even before the age of 15 Kamila Valieva’s doping case dominated the women’s event at the Beijing Olympics in February.

The International Skating Union wants the new age limit to be phased in before the 2026 Olympics in Italy and posted a proposal to vote at its June 5-10 meetings in Thailand.

Although 15-year-old players can continue to compete next season, the limit is expected to increase to 16 for the 2023-24 season. It would be 17 the following year, the last full season before the 2026 Winter Games in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo.

The ISU medical commission raised concerns about “burnout, eating disorders and the long-term consequences of injury” in young adolescent skaters being pressured to perform more quadruple jumps.

The governing body “has a duty to protect the physical and psychological health and safety of all athletes, including elite adolescent athletes”, advise medical experts.

Valieva was under extreme stress in Beijing as a gold medal favorite whose positive doping test in Russia was revealed late during the games in China.

A decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport allowed him to compete pending the full investigation in Russia, but an error-filled free program dropped him to fourth place. She was then criticized at the edge of the rink by her famous coach, Eteri Tutberidze.

IOC President Thomas Bach later pointed to “a huge coldness” in the Russian entourage, and silver medalist Alexandra Trusova, 17, also seemed upset after the competition. Gold medalist Anna Shcherbakova was also 17.

The age limit proposal was made by the ISU Governing Council, following an earlier submission from the Norwegian Skating Federation.

“Our sport should facilitate rules and a competitive environment that supports the possibility of a sustainable career,” the Norwegians said, noting how quickly the women’s Olympic champions left figure skating.

Gold medalists from five Winter Games between 1994 and 2018 were aged 15 to 17, but none went on to compete beyond the following year’s world championships, according to Norway’s proposal .

“The ISU must also consider the image it wants to project as junior and senior champions,” said its medical advisers.

ISU member federations will vote on the proposed age limit at their congress in Phuket, where they elect a new president.

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