Skater Lipnitskaya retires at 19 after battling anorexia
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian figure skater Yulia Lipnitskaya has retired at the age of 19 following a battle with anorexia.
Lipnitskaya’s mother, Daniela, told Russia’s Tass news agency on Monday that her daughter informed Russian skating officials of her retirement in April following three months of treatment for anorexia.
Lipnitskaya won gold in the team event at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi when she was 15, becoming the youngest Olympic skating champion since 1936.
However, she missed the medals in the individual competition, where she had been considered a potential champion.
Lipnitskaya bounced back with silver at the world championships in April 2014, which was her last major event.
She became a symbol of the Sochi Olympics for many Russians, especially after President Vladimir Putin praised her performances.
But she struggled to cope with fame.
She complained in November 2014 that she had lost her freedom and felt “constant stress” when trying to live up to her fans’ expectations.
Lipnitskaya struggled to accept anything other than victory, once leaving the arena rather than attending a medal ceremony when she came second at a Grand Prix competition.
She sometimes seemed on track to recovery with solid Grand Prix results, but poor performances at Russian nationals meant she wasn’t selected for major championships.
Her last season was hampered by injuries, including a fall on an icy street which caused her to miss the nationals.
On Sunday, Evgeny Plushenko, coach of Russia’s Olympic individual champion Adelina Sotnikova, said she will not defend her title next year due to injury.