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Olympic figure skating champion Lipnitskaya retires at 19: mother


Moscow (AFP)

Olympic figure skating team gold medallist Yulia Lipnitskaya has decided to retire after undergoing treatment for anorexia and will not defend her title at next year's Pyeongchang Games, her mother told TASS news agency on Monday.

"Yulia informed the (figure skating) federation of her decision to retire in April right after her return from Europe, where she underwent a course of treatment for anorexia," the agency quoted the 19-year-old skater's mother Daniela Lipnitskaya as saying.

The country's figure skating federation chief Alexander Gorshkov however said that he had not received any information on Lipnitskaya's retirement and that she was still in the reserves for the national team.

"I cannot work with rumours," he told TASS. "My position obliges me to proceed on the basis of facts. We need to wait for a statement from Yulia -- so far this is just talk."

Lipnitskaya won Olympic gold on home ice at the 2014 Sochi Games in the team event and claimed world silver in the singles in the same year.

But she has since failed to reach top form again, suffering a serious leg injury at last year's ISU Grand Prix in Moscow. That ruled her out of the rest of the season.

Photos taken of Lipnitskaya in June led to suggestions she might be pregnant, but she dismissed the rumours.

"Shall I stay at 37 kilograms throughout my life to make you happy?!" she wrote on her page on popular Russian social media site V Kontakte. "I've had enough of losing weight."

Another Russian figure skater, Yulia Antipova, saw her weight drop dangerously to 24kg because of anorexia. Medics at the Israeli clinic where Antipova underwent rehab in 2015 said it was a miracle the skater did not die.

Renowned Russian figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova, meanwhile, expressed doubt that Lipnitskaya would resume her career.

"She made the Sochi Olympics beautiful with her performance. People will never forget her -- the girl in a red dress," Tarasova told TASS.

"I wish her an excellent new life, she has really deserved it."

Last week Yevgeny Plushenko, the coach of Adelina Sotnikova, who won individual gold in Sochi, said the 21-year-old had also decided against defending her title in Pyeongchang because of injury.

"Adelina will not compete in the upcoming season because of an ankle injury," the R-Sport agency quoted Plushenko as saying.

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