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15 May, 2020 15:21

New programs & national team selection: Is Olympic champ Alina Zagitova set to end competitive skating exile?

Alina Zagitova’s recent inclusion in the national team and her announcement of new programs could mean the skater is getting ready to return from a half-season hiatus and resume her professional skating career.
New programs & national team selection: Is Olympic champ Alina Zagitova set to end competitive skating exile?

Despite neither Zagitova nor her coaches confirming a possible comeback, Russian figure skating fans are pretty confident that the skater has been intensively preparing for a new season.

READ MORE: 'I don’t owe anyone anything': Russian Olympic figure skating champ Zagitova on her 'haters'

Speculation over Zagitova’s return emerged following the athlete’s joint Instagram Live training session with choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz, who revealed the skater has already chosen music for future programs.

Soon you’ll learn everything about the music. We are not making any official announcements so far. Because before approving the music we should test it on the ice. Now we don’t have any opportunity to do that. Music always sounds different on the rink,” Gleikhengauz said.

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Also on Friday, the Executive Committee of the Russian Figure Skating Federation voted to include Zagitova in the national team, meaning the skater remains on the radar of sports officials despite taking a break from competition.

Last year, Zagitova put her sporting career on hold after missing out on a podium place at the ISU Grand Prix Final, where she took sixth and last place, losing to younger opponents with more difficult technical content.

The reigning world and Olympic champion dismissed rumors about retirement, promising to return to the ice if she feels she can compete at the highest level.

Russia’s famed coach Tatiana Tarasova suggested that Zagitova would not make the national team as she lacks ultra-C elements necessary for big wins.

Will she make a comeback next season? We will find out as early as this autumn, when figure skating competitions resume.