Figure skating’s world governing physique voted Tuesday to step by step improve the minimal age restrict for elite opponents to 17 over the subsequent three years. It characterised the transfer as an effort to safeguard “the bodily and psychological well being, and emotional well-being” of skaters, however made its choice solely after going through worldwide criticism for a doping scandal involving a 15-year-old Russian champion that marred the ladies’s singles occasion at this yr’s Beijing Winter Olympics.
The rule change elevating the age restrict was approved on the annual assembly of the physique, the International Skating Union, in Phuket, Thailand. The change shall be gradual, the skating union mentioned: There shall be no change for the 2022-23 competitors season. But so-called senior skaters will want to be 16 years outdated in 2023-24, and 17 within the 2024-25 marketing campaign.
The phase-in means the brand new, increased age restrict shall be in place in time for the subsequent Winter Olympics, at Milan and Cortina, Italy, in 2026.
The choice comes solely months after a serious doping scandal on the Winter Olympics in Beijing involving Kamila (*17*), a Russian skater who was simply 15 on the time. (*17*), one of many high skaters on the planet and the favourite to win the gold medal, was discovered to have examined optimistic for a banned substance within the run-up to Olympic competitors. The scandal raised questions concerning the bodily and psychological security of younger skaters, and whether or not sufficient was being carried out to shield them from the adults guiding their careers.
The proposal had appeared to have broad help within the worldwide determine skating group, the place the difficulty of implementing some type of minimal age had been mentioned and debated for years.
It was handed on the assembly Tuesday by a vote of 100 to 16, with two abstentions.