Sotnikova officially out due to her injuries; coach refuses to declare her retired.
We pretty much knew this was coming, but now it’s official: the Olympic season will go on without the reigning ladies champion. Her coach, Evgeny Plushenko, said today Adelina Sotnikova would not be competing; her injuries were too much. He insisted, however, that this does not mean she is done competing for good.
Her comeback was a tenuous affair from the start. After taking the post-Olympic season off, Sotnikova suffered disappointment in the 2015-2016 season, failing to qualify for the European or World Championships at Russian Nationals. in the 2017 season she once again didn’t compete, and everyone assumed she was done.
Meanwhile, her already controversial Olympic win came under scrutiny in the fallout from the great Russian doping scandal that has shaken the world of sports, when one of her urine samples from Sochi was among those found to have microscopic scratches on its lid, indicating it might have been tampered with. It’s a single scratch that could’ve been made when the bottle was sealed, and there’s no further evidence against her made public. But the case remains open, and she could well lose her title.
It was a surprise when April, right after the World Championships, it was announced she was going to try to compete this season with newly retired legend Plushenko as her new coach. But soon after that, rumors started filtering out that she might be a little too injured for that. Eventually Plushenko in interviews and she herself on Instagram admitted they were dealing with injury issues, and that it might cost them the season. Last week, she withdrew from the Russian team test skates. The only real question at this point was whether or not she would say this was it completely.
It’s just possible, perhaps, that she may try to compete again. She’s still only 21. In the crazily competitive field of Russian ladies, there’s only so much she could likely qualify for, and to make the 2022 Olympics would require a miracle. But if she’s willing to try for whatever she can manage, and she doesn’t get hit with a doping ban (which, if retroactive, would only strip her of the title and her fall 2015 results anyway!), it’s still doable.
But doing such a thing doesn’t seem likely. Message board gossip has never made that sound like what she wants. The picture of her her former coach recently painted isn’t encouraging either. More likely she’ll eventually announce herself as done.