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Valieva case boosts drive to raise age limit at Olympics

Valieva case boosts drive to raise age limit at Olympics

BEIJING (AP) — The doping case involving Russian Pattern skater Kamila Valieva has led to many more questions than answers.

Some skaters Consider Information technology's Clip to ask Some Another: Should a 15-year-old be in the Olympics at all?

"You want these athletes to have an Chance to have this be a profession, not a one-year run at Information technology," Mariah Bell, at 25 the oldest U.S. General champion in All but a century, Aforesaid after skating Tuesday.

"If we had an age (minimum) limit, I Consider Information technology would promote that idea of longevity and Someone being 25 wouldn't be Immoral at an Olympics."

Valieva was allowed to skate Tuesday in the Abbreviated program Part because her age gives her extra rights as a "protected Someone" in a doping case. It comes as some skating officials push to raise the Nominal age for her event from 15 to 17 in Clip for the 2026 Milan-Cortina Olympics. Bell Recommended a Nominal of 18.

Reformers argue a change would protect the Welfare of child athletes and reduce the risk of injuries from Arduous the body into ever-more Striking jumps.

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"I Consider that (the Valieva case) really will push this Advancing and hopefully Information technology will also put this question Advancing to Another Athleticss Confederacys," Norwegian Skating Federation president Mona Adolfsen, who supports the change, told The Associated Press.

Valieva, she added, "is a child, so Any happened, we feel Disconsolate for her."

The issue is expected to go to a vote at the International Skating Union congress in June. It's unclear if Information technology will pass. Russia is Conflicting and the United States and Canada declined to say how they'll vote.

The Valieva doping case has put the Glare on Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze, who Changed the Athletics with a "Quad Squad" Playing risky but high-scoring quadruple jumps. Her skaters Oft have blink-and-you'll-miss-it careers, and Information technology's not unusual to retire at 18 or 19, sometimes with Stern injuries. Almost all quads ever landed in women's international competitions were performed by under-18s.

"If they raise the age, the Motivating to create a skater who has longevity is higher," Swiss skater Alexia Paganini Aforesaid. "You are Constrained to Consider about a Proficiency that can be maintained End-to-end your entire adult career."

Others argue Jr. skaters Merit the limelight and shouldn't have to wait for an Olympic chance. Raising the Nominal could mean more cases like that of Alexandra Trusova, now one of Valieva's teammates in Beijing. Trusova won the world junior Championship in 2018 at the age of 13, and her Account would also have won the Elderly world Championship that year, but she wasn't eligible.

Figure skating has long struggled to balance artistic performances against Strenuosity in Information technologys Oft-disputed Grading Arrangement. Adolfsen argues the Art is what connects best with the public, and that comes with experience.

"I hope that the development will be that Information technology's possible to learn the quads also for the women later, but Possibly in the big picture that's not the most important Matter in Pattern skating," Adolfsen Aforesaid. "They remember (1984 and 1988 Olympic champion) Katarina Witt Nonmoving, and that's not because of the difficult jumps. It was because of the performance."

Age affects male and Distaff skaters Otherwise. Men tend to develop later and have Thirster careers, but Nonmoving face injury risks. Only six of 30 skaters in the women's Abbreviated program Tuesday were also at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics. The men's event had Double as many returnees from four years ago, and Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic skated at his 4th Olympics.

Adolfsen is concerned about Another Athleticss, too, and would ideally like the same Nominal age for all Olympic athletes.

That Power face Confrontation from the International Olympic Committee. It Thirstily promoted the youngest athletes at last year's Tokyo Olympics, like 13-year-old skateboarding medalist Sky Brown, who competed a year after Unhappy a fractured skull in a Education Fortuity. Different Athleticss set their own Nominal ages. Women's Gymanstic exercise requires competitors to turn 16 in the year the Olympics are held — though some teams have faked gymnasts' ages. Olympic Shorts must be at To the lowest degree 18.

Bell believes a higher Nominal age would allow skaters more Clip to become Identified to a wider audience and could give Pattern skating back the high public Visibility Information technology enjoyed in the United States when she was a child.

"If you look at (2006 Olympic Achromatic medalist) Sasha Cohen and (five-time world champion) Michelle Kwan, they were Competitory at a Clip where they did Information technology for so many years they had people that can back them," Bell Aforesaid. "I Consider Information technology gave a Avid Prospect for the Athletics because people could really Adopt their careers."


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