Russian ‘ice princess’ delights fans with news of return
Beijing Winter Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova has shared her excitement at being back on the ice after undergoing knee surgery in Germany last month – and the figure skater’s fans were just as delighted to see her return.
Shcherbakova, 18, revealed in mid-August that she would need to go under the knife, explaining that “because of my old knee injury, I can’t train in full force.”
She subsequently said the operation had been a success, and just over one month later the Olympic gold medalist is already training again.
“Back home,” wrote Shcherbakova in a social media message to fans on Thursday, accompanied by footage of herself gliding across the ice at Moscow’s Khrustalny training center.
The skater – who is also the 2021 world champion and a three-time Russian national champion – was welcomed back by her supporters.
“Welcome back, ice princess,” read a response from one of many Shcherbakova fan accounts.
“Looking forward to seeing you continue to write your own legendary story,” wrote another fan.
“We’ve missed you on the ice!” said another, even though Shcherbakova will perhaps be relieved that she was sidelined for a relatively short period.
However, Shcherbakova’s return will not come soon enough for her to compete in the Russian national team trials in Moscow this weekend.
Among the line-up will be Olympic silver medalist Alexandra Trusova, fan favorite Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, and world record points holder Kamila Valieva.
Valieva, 16, is soon set to learn her fate regarding the doping scandal which overshadowed her appearance at the Beijing Games back in February.
Officials at the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) said last week that their investigation had been concluded, and that a hearing would be held at the end of September or in early October.
Valieva and her team have consistently denied wrongdoing after she tested positive for heart drug trimetazidine in a sample taken last December, but which was only reported once the Beijing Games had got underway.
More broadly, Russian skating stars remain banned from international competition by the International Skating Union (ISU) because of the conflict in Ukraine.
Russian officials have said they will organize alternative domestic events to compensate for the absence.
Such is their popularity abroad, Shcherbakova, Valieva and Trusova have also been offered the chance of a lucrative tour in China, where the trio have legions of fans.