Ilia Averbukh: For girls the age-eligibility to compete in seniors should be changed to 16

Posted on 2018-03-06 • 1 comment


It’s been a while since we heard something from Ilia Averbukh. Turned out he was busy preparing the ice show. But finally he had time to share with us is valuable opinion)

You said that for Olympics you would give a team of skaters “B”.

– The guys showed a good result, but to get “A” you need to do a little more, do everything on maximum. Having such two outstanding figure skaters as Zagitova and Medvedeva we could have counted on gold in the team event. Could have counted on pair skating, let not gold, but a medal. Unfortunately, the guys went all-in and left only the fourth. Perhaps we could have counted on a medal in ice dance.

Now the main pride of Russia is women’s skating. What is the reason for such a high level?

– Outstanding school of Eteri Tutberidze. Circumstances were such, it’s hard to describe. We had a galaxy of talented men and in competition they motivated each other. Now the same with women’s skating. In part, it is a certain luck that such talents are born in the Russian land. And, of course, there is a huge role of the school of Eteri Tutberidze and the school of Elena Vodorezova, who became the locomotive of women’s single skating. They are have a tough fight and thereby move all the world figure skating forward.

Zagitova is only 15 years old and there are many girls even younger who are ready to step on Zagitova and Medvedeva’s toes. What do you think about the fact that women’s skating is very young and there is a fight between very young jumping skaters and athletes who after puberty can not jump like that?

– I believe that this is an unfair story, I have said this many times. It seems to me that for girls the age of eligibility to compete in seniors should be changed to 16 years. Because the fight is really not equal. I know that there will be a correction of the rules, we know exactly what the changes will be, but for sure the rules wil change, because it does not work for the development of women’s single skating. The legend just does not have time to grow up, one knocks out another and this is not right. This rules are not invented by Russia, we play by the rules of the world. At one time they were very beneficial to the Americans, it was they who lobbied such an early history and due to this Sarah Hughes, Tara Lipinski became Olympic champions. Now we beat them with their own weapons.

Now many people are discussing whether Zagitova and Medvedeva will be able to pass successfully the next Olympic cycle and claim for medals in 2022, given that so many girls are growing up.

– It is very difficult to guess, because the heights, the complexity of the programs are super high. Everything can happen: injuries, episodes of growing up, when the girls will lose time, so it’s very difficult to make forecasts. First let’s wish Alina to make a long way, so it was just the beginning of her journey, because for her this Olympic medal was the starting point, when for many this is the peak of their careers. It will not be easy to do, because the competition is really colossal, the same Eteri Tutberidze has already two talented girls on the way, who are already doing  more difficult elements than even Alina Zagitova. But let’s see, they also have to grow up. So it turns out that it is almost impossible to make forecasts because of this early eligibility to compete in seniors. When a person is more mature, it is easier to make predictions. But I think Zhenya Medvedeva will continue her career, she is a real fighter. And if the rules are changed, I think that Zhenya can come for another Olympics and have a chance there.

The Olympics were particularly politicized. Don’t you have a feeling that this spoils the original idea of the Games?

– The Olympic Games have been a political story for a long time, there is nothing new about it. We can recall two boycotts of Soviet times, when neither we went to them, nor they to us. Therefore, it has long been politics, a notorious medal count, when countries measure, who have more medals …  Of course, we have problems that need to be solved. The great happiness that we were returned to the Olympic family, it’s very cool. I consider that there is no alternative to the Olympic Games, there is no alternative to the Olympic movement and, no matter what kind of consolation tournaments we invent, they will never replace the Olympic Games. We must fight for our rights and at the same time play by the rules, without violating them.

World Championships is just right after the Olympics. Do you think that the scenario will be approximately the same?

– In fact, a lot can change. It seems to me that Zagitova is still the favorite, I do not know whether Zhenya Medvedeva will go, I heard that her leg still hurts. In ice dancing, I think that Canadians are unlikely to go, and the favorites will definitely be the French. In pair skating, I think that Tarasova and Morozova can, I do not know, whether the Germans will go, but I do not think so, and of course the Chinese duo, which is very upset by the Olympic results, are also among the top favorites.

by Indira Shestakova for


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One response to “Ilia Averbukh: For girls the age-eligibility to compete in seniors should be changed to 16”

  1. Felicity says:

    Hurrah! He’s finally put away his macho-man talk and spoken tolerably. I agree with him 100%, for once. Minimum age for women should be 16 (not that 16-year-olds are women…).

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