Jun 7, 2022 - Sports

Figure skating minimum age raised ahead of 2026 Olympics

Kamila Valieva performing during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Kamila Valieva in the Beijing 2022 Games. Photo: Nikolay Muratkin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Figure skating's governing body voted on Tuesday to raise the minimum age for top competitions from 15 to 17 years old.

Why it matters: The doping scandal surrounding Kamila Valieva at the 2022 Beijing Games put a spotlight on the treatment of young figure skaters at the sport's highest level.

  • The 15-year-old Russian was allowed to compete despite testing positive for a banned substance, but she failed to finish on the podium for the women's individual event.

Details: The International Skating Union voted 110-16 to raise the minimum age gradually before the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, AP reports.

  • 16-year-olds will be allowed to compete during the 2023-24 season. Then the minimum age will rise to 17 a year later, right before the Olympics.
  • The change was in the works before the 2022 Games, but the Valieva scandal put fresh pressure on the governing body to act.

What they're saying: "This is a very important decision. I would say a very historic decision," International Skating Union president Jan Dijkema said.

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