Figure skating age debate also exposes body image challenges

Josefin Taljegard
Posted at 7:42 PM, Feb 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-19 22:42:30-05

BEIJING (AP) — Some figure skaters are hoping an Olympic doping scandal that is fueling a push to raise the minimum age of competitors will also focus attention on what they see as the sport’s most pressing issue: body image, body shaming, and disordered eating.

The sport is under scrutiny after 15-year-old Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee tested positive for a banned heart medication.

Valieva’s ordeal has led some skating officials to propose raising the minimum age for elite figure skating competition.

Experts say the age question is inseparable from the sport’s struggles with eating disorders and body image because younger, less developed skaters are doing things on the ice that more mature women’s bodies can’t.