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Spinal implants & titanium screws: Sochi Olympic champion figure skater Adelina Sotnikova announces retirement following surgery

Spinal implants & titanium screws: Sochi Olympic champion figure skater Adelina Sotnikova announces retirement following surgery
Russia’s first ever ladies’ singles Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova has officially retired from professional sport after undergoing complicated surgery on her spine, involving titanium screws being inserted into the vertebrae.

Appearing on Russia’s TV show ‘The Fate of a Person’, the 23-year-old revealed she needed surgical intervention to be able to skate again.

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It all happened last summer when I had a skating tour in Turkey. I was performing as a pair skater there, learning completely new elements. Along with experiencing new feelings I started to feel pain in my spine, as it was an additional load on my body. But I thought it was ok for a professional athlete. Everybody experiences pain from time to time,” Sotnikova said.

In November I was invited to take part in a Rostelecom Cup exhibition show at Russia’s Grand Stage. When I was warming up I felt that something had been dislocated. I thought, ok, if some bone has shifted, I will need to repair it. But in December I realized that everything was much more serious, because I couldn’t sleep or sit without feeling pain,” the Olympic champion added.

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Sotnikova stressed that doctors insisted on immediate surgical intervention, but she refused to go to hospital, continuing to participate in various shows where she had contractual obligations.

I couldn’t let people down. I asked doctors to help me skate in the shows, where I reduced the jumping content,” said the skater, who took part in Evgeni Plushenko’s New Year show ‘Cinderella’.

Sotnikova was hospitalized in the end of February to have surgery on her troublesome spine.


She has two spinal implants connected by a metal sheet. And the sheet has been fixed by six titanium screws inserted into the vertebrae, making her able to skate and delight the fans,” said the skater’s agent Maria Shashina.

Sotnikova rose to fame at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi when she surprised many by winning the ladies’ singles gold, beating pre-tournament favorites Yuna Kim of South Korea and Italy’s Carolina Kostner.


Sotnikova hasn’t won any international awards since then, with injuries affecting her training process.

She hasn’t competed for more than five years, her last international appearance being the 2015 Rostelecom Cup.

On Monday Sotnikova announced her retirement, confirming that she will still take part in figure skating shows.