MOSCOW (AP) – Olympic figure skating silver medalist Yevgenia Medvedeva has withdrawn from the world championships, ending the prospect of another showdown against friend and rival Alina Zagitova.
The Russian Figure Skating Federation said Tuesday that Medvedeva has a recurrence of the foot injury that kept her out of the Grand Prix Finals in December. The withdrawal makes Zagitova the clear favorite for gold at the March 21-25 championships in Milan.
During the Olympics in South Korea last month, Medvedeva said the injury didn’t bother her as she lost to Zagitova by 1.31 points for the gold medal, but the federation now says otherwise.
“She had to fight painful sensations while skating at the Olympics. After returning from Korea, pain in the foot increased,” the federation said in a statement.
“Following a medical examination at the end of last week, doctors concluded that in order to avoid possible surgical intervention, Medvedeva must strictly limit the high acute loads on the foot which occur when performing most jumping elements. The timeframe is four to eight weeks.”
Medvedeva fractured a metatarsal bone in her right foot early in the season and skated to two Grand Prix wins while on painkillers before being forced to take a break with her foot in a cast. She said the resulting lack of ice time was a problem when she lost the European title to Zagitova in January, but didn’t cite it as an issue at the Olympics.
Medvedeva’s withdrawal means the Russian women’s team in Milan will be Zagitova, Maria Sotskova and Stanislava Konstantinova, who was fourth at last week’s world junior championships.
There’s no spot for the 13-year-old Alexandra Trusova, who won the world junior title with two record-breaking quadruple jumps, because she isn’t old enough to compete at the senior level under International Skating Union rules.