Russia’s ‘most beautiful figure skater’ quells retirement rumors (PHOTOS)
The prominent ice-dancer, who won the Olympic bronze in Sochi together with her former partner Nikita Katsalapov, stressed that she has no intention of quitting figure skating, despite being out of international competition for two years and rumors that she was formally calling it a day.
“I can say that I’m madly in love with figure skating, it’s impossible for me to quit this sport. I will stay in figure skating even when I’m 50,” the skater said.
“I cannot officially announce that I’m retiring, neither I can confirm that I will continue skating. There are some problems and obstacles that need to be settled before I can resume my career,” she added.
The 24-year-old - who has been dubbed ‘Russia’s most beautiful skater’ by some in her homeland - revealed that the 2013 European champion Dmitry Solovyev offered to skate together after his teammate Ekaterina Bobrova decided to mtake a break in her career.
However, Ilinykh hasn’t yet accepted the proposal, admitting it would be hard to go through fierce competition inside the team.
“Of course I’m ready to face difficulties. This is not the first time when I have to go through hardships. I haven’t simply decided whether to make a comeback or not,” the skater said.
In 2014, right after winning two Olympic medals, including individual bronze, Ilinykh and Katsalapov were widely considered to be the most promising ice-dancing duo from Russia.
After the Sochi Games, the majority of figure-skating pundits were pinning their hopes on the pair, who should have set the pace in ice-dancing after the retirement of two world-leading duets from Canada and the USA.
However, it was not meant to be. After the 2014 World Championship in Japan, where the couple unexpectedly missed the podium, Katsalapov announced a breakup with Ilinykh.
Ilinykh's infatuation with the duo’s coach, Nikolai Morozov, was rumored to be the main reason for the split. Katsalapov, who had a love affair with Ilinykh, exited the love triangle by splitting with his partner.
Following their break-up, Katsalapov teamed up with Victoria Sinitsina, leading the duo to a silver medal at the 2019 world tournament in Japan.