The wife of a retired men’s figure skating legend publicly criticized the appearance of a women’s figure skating Winter Olympics champion. The Russian ice world was stunned.
In an interview published by Russian daily Sport Express on September 19, Yana Lukovskaya, 48, said, “Kamila Valyeva, 17, the gold medalist in the team figure skating event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games, has clearly gained weight. I need to lose weight. I want to see the old her.”
Rukhkovskaya is the wife of 2006-2014 Olympic men’s figure skating singles champion Yevgeny Plushchenko, 41. Sport Express is Russia’s most authoritative sports newspaper.
“I know girls don’t like to talk about their weight,” Rukhkovskaya said, adding, “It’s not easy to maintain it, but if you’re a figure skater, you have to. The reason for Valeryeva’s poor performance in the 2022-23 season was weight gain.”
Plushchenko is a living men’s figure skating legend who has won 16 major gold medals, including two Olympics, three World Championships, seven European Championships and four Grand Prix Finals. During his career, he was the face of Russian winter sports.
Rukhkovskaya is a former pop record producer. After her marriage, she became co-owner of the academy with Plushchenko and produces music for her students, but she is not a figure skating expert.
The Russian ice skating community took offense to Rukhkovskaya’s comment that “Valeryeva has become very sexy, but sometimes in sports you have to separate beauty (from a general point of view) from the ideal body type (for performance)”.
This is an unprofessional commentary on the appearance of an Olympic champion. Furthermore, the use of the word “sexy” has led to a backlash of “Lukovskaya sexually harassed Valeryeva”.
Valyeva has been a dominant force in women’s figure skating in 2022, winning gold at the European Championships, breaking the world record in the short program, and winning the team event at the Beijing Olympics (Feb. 4-7).
However, a positive test for a banned substance at the Russian Championships in December 2021 was revealed on February 11, 2022. She escaped immediate punishment thanks to a WADA rule that “acknowledges the possibility that an athlete under the age of 16 may not understand what drugs they are not allowed to take,” but finished fourth in the figure skating singles at the Beijing Olympics (Feb. 15-17).
After the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Russian figure skating was kicked out of the world championships. Valyeva won events 1-3 in the Grand Prix series, which Russia organized to replace the International Ice Skating Union’s (ISU) first division.
Since then, she’s won a silver medal at the Russian Championships and a runner-up finish at the Russian Grand Prix Final, but there’s been some sympathy for Valyeva’s dip in form, with some even suggesting that she’s gained weight.
Valyeva’s highest score in Russian domestic competition in 2022-23 was 244.67, down from 272.71 in 2021-22. Compare that to her 269.10 in the team event at the Beijing Olympics and the difference is clear.
However, Tatyana Tarasova, 76, said: “You shouldn’t criticize natural body shape changes. Rukhkovskaya’s age from mid to late teens has nothing to do with it. She still skates well (technically) and has a great program,” she said.스포츠토토
Tarasova is a world-class coach whose pupils have won eight gold medals in all three Olympic figure skating disciplines. Expanding the scope to European and World Championships, she has produced 41 winners.
According to Sport24, Russia’s largest online sports outlet, “Valeryeva may refuse to eat or, conversely, eat too much to relieve stress. Rukhkovskaya made dangerous statements that could lead to the development of depression and other mental disorders,” the psychologist’s rebuttal was highlighted.
Despite failing to win a double figure skating title at the Beijing Olympics, Valeryeva remains one of the most popular female athletes in the country, being voted “Best Athlete of 2022” by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center.