Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, Olympic Australian Skater, Dies At Age 20

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Heavy/Getty Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya.

Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya, an Australian Olympic figure skater, died in her hometown of Moscow, Russia at the age of 20 according to the International Skating Union. This ISU did not explain how she died, but did say that her death was “sudden” and “unexpected.” At least Russian news outlets have reported that her death was a suicide.

“The ISU is shocked by the news of Ekaterina’s passing,” ISU President Jan Dijkema said. “She was a talented pair skater and the Figure Skating community will miss her. We offer our deepest sympathies to her family, friends and teammates and mourn this tragic loss.”

The 20-year-old was born on the first day of the new millennium and had just made her Olympic debut two years ago, with her skating partner Harley Windsor, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia reported. However, plagued by injuries, she retired in 2020.


Alexandrovskaya Was A Pair Skater

Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya / Harley Windsor AUS Free Skate 2017 World Junior Figure Skating ChampionsEkaterina Alexandrovskaya / Harley Windsor AUS Free Skate 2017 World Junior Figure Skating Champions2020-07-18T19:56:54Z

The Olympic Channel reported that Alexandrovskaya became partners with Harley Windsor in an unusual way. Windsor, who would become the first indigenous Australian to compete at the Winter Olympics, went to train in Moscow after he was unable to find a partner in his hometown of Sydney.

Less than a year later, the two skated their way to Australia’s first International Skating Union Junio Grand Prix, which was held in Estonia and won the gold. Their success over such teams from countries such as Russia and the U.S. made them appear to be serious potential Olympic contenders and the trend only continued after the pair beat the Russian pair, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii, to take the world junior title in a 2017 competition. The pair placed only 18th in the Winter Olympics, yet finished 16h in the World Championships held in Milan. However, Alexandrovskaya was plagued by injuries and experienced several issues with her foot during the 2019-20 season, leading the pair to split.

In an Instagram post announcing the split, Windsor said:

It is with deep sadness and a heavy heart to announce that Katia and myself have decided to end our skating career together as a pair. Due to health concerns, Katia and I are unable to continue. I want to take this opportunity to wish Katia all the best in the future and a quick recovery. Over the last four years we have been through so much as a team, from first pairing together, winning our first jpg, winning junior worlds, Katia becoming a Australian citizen all the way to experiencing the Olympics together!! The time we had together has been a great eye opener, it has helped me learn and develop into the person I am today and for the person I hope to be in the future. So again thank you Katia for everything and wish you nothing but the best for the future. Our journey may be over but I still want to continue my pairs career and will still keep training full time.

According to the Patriot-News newspaper, Alexandrovskaya experienced an epileptic seizure in January of 2020 and retired soon after.


Alexandrovskaya’s Death Came Months After Her Retirement

According to Alexandrovskaya’s profile under Australia’s Olympic Winter Institute, she started skating at the age of four when her mother took her to a rink and her proudest moment was, “Standing on the podium and listening to the Australian anthem” at the 2017 Junior World Championships. She also said that her childhood ambition was to be a gymnast, but that she enjoyed the sport of skating because “I like to challenge myself.”

Many Russian news outlets are reporting that Alexandrovskaya’s death may have been a suicide.

According to The Patriot-News newspaper, a Russian broadcasting station called REN TV reported that Alexandrovskaya died at her place of training after she fell out of a window. In addition, the newspaper reported that her coach, Andrei Hekalo, told the Russian newspaper Izvestiu that before she had retired, she had suffered an epileptic seizure.

Other Russian outlets, such as RT.com, have also reported that Alexandrovskaya died after falling from a window. According to the Russian outlet, TASS:

World champion among juniors in figure skating Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya committed suicide in Moscow. This was reported to TASS on Saturday by law enforcement agencies.

“The body of 20-year-old Aleksandrovskaya was found near a house on the street in 1905. The preliminary cause of death is suicide,” the agency’s source said. She left a note with the word “love.” According to the source, the girl had already tried to commit suicide after an injury.

RT.com reported that Alexandrovskaya’s mother had been hospitalized for shock.


Many Have Described Her Death As A Loss for the Sport

Ian Chesterman, Australia’s Head of Mission for the 2018 Winter Games, told Olympic Channel that her death was a “blow to our winter sports community”:

It is enormously sad to lose Katia who was a vibrant and talented person and an incredible athlete. She was quiet and humble in her manner but incredibly determined to be the best she could be. We are all deeply saddened to hear the news today. Life since the Games has not been easy for her and this is another timely reminder of just how fragile life is.

The Olympic Winter Institute of Australia’s CEO, Geoff Lipshut, also said that he was saddened by the news. “Katia and Harley were Australia’s first figure skating world champions. She came to Australia to fulfill her sporting dreams,” he said. “The news today is so sad, my thoughts are with Katia’s family in Russia, Harley and the skating community in Australia. I will remember Katia as a young person of great talent and remarkable potential.”

In a tweet, the New South Wales Institute of Sport said, “Our hearts are heavy at the news of the tragic passing of Olympic figure skater Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya. Katia was a wonderful member of Team NSWIS & we’re incredibly saddened. Our thoughts are with Katia’s family, her comp partner Harley Windsor & the winter sports community.”

In his own tribute, her former skating partner described himself as “devastated” and “sick to my core.”
“Words can not describe how I feel right now,” he wrote. “The amount we had achieved during our partnership is something I can never forget and will always hold close to my heart. This news is something you can never prepare for. Rest In Peace Katia.”

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