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Saturday, August 1, 2020

Heard of 'figure skating' ? - 20 year old achiever ends life !!

To many of us – the word ‘Sport’ refers to : Test Cricket; One Day International Limited Overs Cricket; T20I and some other lesser interesting sports like Hockey, Football, Tennis, Table Tennis, Badminton, Baseball, Volleyball, Athletics and .. ..

I read about this Sport only now, because of a shocking death news read just now in MailOnline.  Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, duos, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport to be included in the Olympic Games, when contested at the 1908 Olympics in London. The four Olympic disciplines are men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating, and ice dance; the non-Olympic disciplines include synchronized skating, Theater on Ice, and four skating. From intermediate through senior-level competition, skaters generally perform two programs (the short program and the free skate), which, depending on the discipline, may include spins, jumps, moves in the field, lifts, throw jumps, death spirals, and other elements or moves.

The blade of a figure skate has a groove on the bottom creating two distinct edges: inside and outside. Judges prefer that skaters glide on one edge of the blade and not on both at the same time, which is referred to as a "flat edge". Skates used in singles and pair skating have a set of large, jagged teeth called a "toe pick" on the front of each blade. The toe picks are mainly used to help launch the skater into the air for the take-off when performing jumps. Ice dance blades have smaller toe picks than blades used for the other disciplines. During a spin, skaters use the "sweet spot" of the blade, formally called a rocker, which is the roundest portion of the blade, just behind the toe pick and near the middle of the blade.

The 2018 Winter Olympics  was held between 9 and 25 February 2018 in Pyeongchang County, Gangwon Province, South Korea.  This was the second time that South Korea had hosted the Olympic Games, having previously hosted the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, but it was the first Winter Olympics to be held in the country. These were the first of three consecutive Olympic Games to be held in East Asia, the following two set to be the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo (delayed until 2021) and the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. It was the third time that an East Asian country had hosted the Winter Games, after Sapporo (1972) and Nagano (1998), both of these cities in Japan. It was also the first Winter Olympics to be held in mainland Asia.

The Games featured 102 events over 15 disciplines, a record number of events for the Winter Games. Four events made their Olympic debut in 2018: "big air" snowboarding, mass start speed skating, mixed doubles curling, and mixed team alpine skiing. A total of 2,914 athletes from 92 NOCs competed, including the national debuts of Ecuador, Eritrea, Kosovo, Malaysia, Nigeria and Singapore.

After a state-sponsored doping program was exposed following the 2014 Winter Olympics, the Russian Olympic Committee was suspended, but selected athletes were allowed to compete neutrally under the special IOC designation of "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR). North Korea agreed to participate in the Games despite tense relations with South Korea; the two nations paraded together at the opening ceremony as a unified Korea, and fielded a unified team (COR) in the women's ice hockey. Norway led the total medal tally with 39, followed by Germany's 31 and Canada's 29.  Germany and Norway were tied for the highest number of gold medals, both winning 14. Host nation South Korea won 17 medals, their highest medal haul at a Winter Olympics, five of which were gold.

Australian Olympic figure skater Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, 20, 'jumps' to her death from Moscow apartment building after retiring from competiton over 'health concerns' is the news read in MailOnline.   It is reported that Australian figure skating champion Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya has died at the age of 20 after reportedly jumping from a window. The cause of the former Olympic skater's death on Friday in Moscow has not yet been disclosed.

Reports in Russia claim the former skater may have committed suicide but 'the circumstances of the incident are being clarified', according to Izvestiu. Miss Alexandroovskaya was born in Moscow, Russia, but obtained Australian citizenship in 2016.  She competed for her adopted country at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics with skating partner Harley Windsor. The pair won the 2017 world junior title. Miss Alexandrovskaya retired from the sport in February after sustaining several injuries. Russian news agency TASS claim a note saying 'love' was found in her apartment after her death and an official source said: 'The preliminary cause of death is suicide.'

Mr Windsor, Australia's first Indigenous athlete to compete at a Winter Olympics, said he was 'devastated' by the news of her death. He wrote on Instagram: 'The amount we had achieved during our partnership is something I can never forget and will always hold close to my heart.' Ian Chesterman, chef de mission for the Australian team in Pyeongchang, said the news was a terrible blow for all those who knew the skater. Mr Chesterman said: 'It is enormously sad to lose Katia, who was a vibrant and talented person and an incredible athlete.  'Life since the Games has not been easy for her and this is another timely reminder of just how fragile life is.'

It is the second death of an Australian Winter OIympian in 10 days. Alex Pullin, a two-time world champion snowboarder and three-time Olympian, drowned while spearfishing on July 8 on the Gold Coast north of Brisbane. One may not know ‘Figure Skating’ or Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya yet to read of a death of a 20 year old, who had achieved in life makes a sad reading !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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