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Yes, Anna Shcherbakova Deserves To Be On Russian Olympic Team

Anna Shcherbakova Grand Prix Italy 2022 Free Program Master and Margarita NBC
Screenshot NBC / YouTube

Yes, I am back, and nothing could stir me from a writing break more than defending Russian figure skater Anna Shcherbakova. As this goes to print, Shcherbakova has rallied for the free program at the 2022 European Championships for the silver medal. Nevertheless, intrigue has been swirling around the selection for the Russian women’s Olympic figure skating team. There should be no doubt. Shcherbakova deserves to go to Beijing, and this is why.

For one, Anna Shcherbakova just quieted all of the naysayers, storming back to take second place at the 2022 European Championship. What makes her accomplishment so mind-blowing is that she did it after an agonizing commentary, ensconced the online world of figure skating with a torrent of online vitriol. If there is justice, she hushed them all with this performance that was delivered under immense pressure.

Anna Shcherbakova is the reigning World Champion and three-time Russian National Champion (a world championship in and of itself). Furthermore, Shcherbakova won both of her Grand Prix assignments, easily qualifying for the cancelled Grand Prix finals. Oh, and Anna Shcherbakova is ranked #1 in the world (see ISU’s official standings for the 2021/2022 season). So, why has there been “controversy” over Shcherbakova getting named to Russia’s 2022 Olympic Team?

What Is Happening

After going undefeated at the Russian National Championships for three years -- straight – Anna Shcherbakova came in third at the 2022 Russian National Championships. The first time she did not win the top spot in three years. Shcherbakova went on to finish second at the 2022 European Championships. So, who on earth do online figure skating fans claim should go instead? There is only one senior woman who qualifies for consideration: Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

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Elizaveta Tuktamysheva finished seventh at the 2022 Russian Nationals for the second year in the row. Tuktamysheva is the reigning World Silver Medalist and ranked third in the world behind Anna Shcherbakova. On a technical level, Tuktamysheva has a triple axel in her arsenal, while Shcherbakova has quads. Specifically, Shcherbakova executes the hardest quad currently landed: the quad lutz.

Why This Matters

A loud group of online commentators claims that despite the stats, math, and totality of the facts, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva should get named to the Olympic Team. In the lead-up to a decision, the commotion grew louder upon Anna Shcherbakova coming in fourth after the short program at the 2022 European Championships before battling back for second place.

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This raucous ensued before Shcherbakova had even skated her free program. Between her body of work and her final standing at the 2022 European Championships, it is clear Anna Shcherbakova deserves to be on Russia’s Olympic team. Comments that attempt to devalue the merit of Shcherbakova, and her score are clearly biased and an attempt to shake a world-class athlete. It is shameful.

So, let’s recap some recent stats from the past quadrennial.

Anna Shcherbakova

Reigning World Champion 🏆

3-time Russian National Champion 🥇🥇🥇

3rd place at 2022 Russian Nationals 🥉

2nd place (Silver Medal) at 2022 European Championships 🥈

Lands the most challenging quad ☝💥

Elizaveta Tuktamysheva

Reigning Silver Medalist at the World Championship 🥈

1-time Russian National Champion 🥇

7th place at 2022 Russian Nationals

Has a triple axel ☝

Never Forget This Moment

It is one of the greatest moments in figure skating history. It all went down when Anna Shcherbakova came out after a thrilling performance by Kamila Valieva to win the 2021 Russian National Championships. Despite a severe illness, Shcherbakova rallied to claim her third title. It is worth watching: 


In Closing

We can all respect and admire Elizaveta Tuktamysheva’s work ethic and competitiveness as a senior woman (similar to Gracie Gold). This is nothing against her. However, the facts speak for themselves. Anna Shcherbakova has proven herself more than worthy of the spot on the Russian Olympic Team. Comments to the contrary only attempt to immorally compromise the morale of one of Russia’s finest figure skaters.

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Anna Shcherbakova fought through horrible illness to win her third Russian National Championships. She is a heroic competitor with the heart of a true champion. Shcherbakova is a freaking fighter, and I hope none of the unjustifiable discourse or “controversy” gets to her. She is an artist and a technician, a competitor the world of figure skating should be heralding. It is a shame anyone is doing otherwise.

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