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ST. PETERSBURG, January 14. /TASS/. The Russian Sports Ministry had to react quickly and decisively, when a shadow hung over the future of Russia’s figure skating Olympic champion Yulia Lipnitskaya, Yury Nagornykh, a deputy sports minister, said on Wednesday.
An undisclosed source told TASS on Monday that Russia’s figure skating teen prodigy Lipnitskaya, 16, parted with her coach Eteri Tutberidze and planned to return to CSKA skating school. On Tuesday, however, Lipnitskaya denied the news saying that she never planned to seek different ways with her coach, but added that she withdrew from all of this season’s competitions.
“As the news broke out about Lipnitskaya’s departure from Tutberidze’s group we had to react quickly and decisively,” Nagornykh said. “Athletes often make emotional decisions, which not always yield expected results. As of now we dotted all I’s and crossed all t’s in this story and the Olympic champion in team competition will remain practicing with Tutberidze’s group.”
Nagornykh also said that Lipnitskaya’s age played an important part behind her recent actions.
“The figure skater is currently experiencing an uneasy period of her career,” he said. “We believe in her and the coach and hope there are more new and bright victories ahead of Yulia.”
Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said earlier on Wednesday that Lipnitskaya needed to take some rest and start preparing for the next season.
“We already gave her all the advice she needed and it was unnecessary to do it publicly,” Mutko said commenting on the ministry’s stance towards the unfolding situation with Lipnitskaya. “She is one of the brightest athletes of our country and she works with the outstanding coach.”
“I believe that together they will be able to resolve all issues. We count on her. As for the moment, she simply needs some rest and then start preparations for the next season. I am sure that everything will be okay,” Mutko added.
Lipnitskaya, who comes from the Russian Urals city of Yekaterinburg, hit the international media headlines at the age of 15 in January of 2014, when she skated to gold in the Figure Skating European Championships.
With less than a month after her European victory, the teen figure skater grabbed the Olympic gold at the 2014 Winter Games in Russia’s Sochi and later in the year she skated to silver at the World Championship in Japan.
This season, however, has been a series of misfortunes for Lipnitskaya, who was subjected to enormous psychological pressure after her sports career skyrocketed last year. In the most recent set of misfortunes Lipnitskaya put up a poor performance at the Russian Championship and failed to qualify for the national team for the European Championships.