Irina Eduardovna Slutskaya ((Russian: Ири́на Эдуа́рдовна Слу́цкая, pronounced /iˈrinɑ ˈslutskɑæ/ born February 9, 1979) is a Russian Figure skater. She is a two-time World Champion, seven-time European Champion, two-time Olympic medalist, and four-time Grand Prix Final Champion. Slutskaya, known for her athletic ability, was the first female skater to land a triple lutz-triple loop combination. She is also known for her trademark double Biellmann spin with a foot change, which she also invented. She is generally considered to be the most successful ladies singles skater in Russian history.
- Slutskaya dreams of becoming an actress. 
You never know what can happen. It's ice. It's slippery. It's life. 
For me each competition is different and I try to forget about it when it's over. Each competition is a new beginning. 
I love this pressure. It is not interesting when nobody skates well. 
Each moment of life is different. In those times, when I was practicing, that was an important thing for me. I took every single practice and I don't know another life. I knew I loved it. 
I really like exhibitions and I really like to skate for people. Maybe somebody will watch me and say, ‘My gosh, if she fought through her illness, why should I be sitting here?' 
On beating Katarina Witt's record for European figure skating titles:
Slutskaya was born in Moscow, Russia to a Russian mother and Jewish father in 1979. She started skating at the age of four and has been coached by Zhanna Gromova since she was six. An only child, she is very close with her mother Natalya, who was a former cross-country skier for the Soviet Union. In her career, Slutskaya has won a total of 40 gold medals, 21 silver medals, and 18 bronze medals.
In 1996, Slutskaya became the first Russian woman to win the European title. She also won the title in 1997. She finished third at the 1996 World Championships and fourth in 1997.
At the 1998 Winter Olympics, she finished fifth in a very close free skate fight for the bronze. Maria Butyrskaya, Lu Chen, and Irina were 3rd, 4th, 5th respectively after the short program. Although these 3 skaters each made 1 mistake, Chen and Butyrskaya's were step outs while Irina had a fall. Lu Chen ended up edging Butyrksaya 5-4 for the bronze. Chen also edged Slutskaya 6-3.
The next month she took a silver medal at the 1998 World Championships. The 1998-99 season was not a good season for her. She did not win any competitions that season and missed both the European and the World Championships. She almost decided to stop skating and call it a career.
In August 1999, Slutskaya married her on-and-off boyfriend of three years, Sergei Mikheev. They had met each other at a summer camp near Moscow, where Mikheev was a physical education instructor.
Slutskaya made a successful comeback at the 2000 Grand Prix Final. She landed seven clean triples, including two triple-triple combinations and became the first woman to do a triple lutz-triple loop combination. She later won her third European title and won a silver medal at the 2000 World Championships.
At the 2001 World Championships, she became the first woman to land a triple salchow-triple loop-double toe loop combination and won the silver medal. She lost very narrowly to Michelle Kwan. Kwan had no visible mistakes while Slutskaya badly two-footed her triple lutz-triple loop-double toe loop combination and had two sloppy landings.
Slutskaya won silver at the 2002 Winter Olympics and became the second Russian ever to win a medal in the women's event. The competition had been billed in advance as a head-to-head battle between Slutskaya and American Michelle Kwan. Unexpectedly, Kwan made mistakes in her free skate, but still led American Sarah Hughes in the overall standings. Slutskaya had to win the free skate in order to win gold. After a nervous performance with a minor error, Slutskaya finished second in the free skate. She needed 5 judges to place her in 1st in order to win the free skate, but only 4 did. Hughes won the free skate, and because Kwan finished third behind Slutskaya, Hughes won the gold. Russia, still somewhat aggrieved about the outcome of an earlier dispute over the pairs competition, filed a complaint against the result but it was rejected shortly. The next month she won the World title in Nagano. Going into the freeskate, Slutskaya had an advantage. She had finished 1st in both the qualifying and short program. Fumie Suguri was 2nd, and Kwan was only in 3rd after a shaky short program. Slutskaya could lose to Kwan in the free skate (e.g. finish 2nd to Kwan) and still win. Regardless, she skated a strong performance and a majority of the judges named Slutskaya the winner of the free skate. This was her first world title.
Slutskaya chose not to compete at the 2003 World Championships after receiving news that her mother was seriously ill. Ironically after her mother got better, Slutskaya got an illness that included fatigue and swelling in the legs. Doctors told her that she should stay away from the cold, but she refused and finished 9th at the 2004 World Championships.
In 2005, Slutskaya made a strong comeback after a long stay at a hospital due to vasculitis. She won both the European and World titles. Being the first World Championships to be held under the new CoP system, Irina was the last to skate [1st after Short Program]. She made it her moment, as she skated a near-perfect program. Shedding tears while receiving her very high marks, the crowd chanted "Ira, Ira" (a Diminutive from Irina), and she was overcome with emotion. In an interview, she said:
To this day, she still recalls that the 2005 World Championships Free Skate was "the skate of her life." Although she has had perfect performances before, to her this was more special because "she was in front of her friends and family, and she was skating at home".
On January 19, 2006, Slutskaya won the European Championships. In 2005, she had already tied the record for the most European Championship victories (with 6), and added another to her collection.
At the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Slutskaya was one of the heavy favorites to win the gold medal. She was in second place after the short program, behind Sasha Cohen of the United States. In the long program, Slutskaya doubled a triple flip and then fell on a triple loop jump. She won the Bronze medal, behind gold medalist Shizuka Arakawa of Japan and silver medalist Cohen.
Slutskaya did not compete in the 2006 World Figure Skating Championships the following month, and has not skated in competition since. In November 2006, she denied reports that claimed she was retiring from competitive figure skating, saying the reports were completely false. On April 10, 2007 Slutskaya announced she is returning to Russia from the United States and will not participate on the 2007 Champions on Ice tour after finding out she and her husband, Sergei, are expecting a child.
She gave birth to a son, named Artem, in November 2007. Slutskaya stated that she is enjoying motherhood and has no plans to return skating competitively. "I don’t see the target," she said. "I don’t know why I have to go there. I have almost all the titles."
In November 2008, Irina performed in the "Skate from the Heart" show.
Records and achievementsEdit
- Invented the double Biellmann spin with foot change
- First Russian woman to win European Champion title (1996)
- First woman to land triple lutz, triple loop combination in competition (2000 Grand Prix Final)
- First woman to land a triple salchow, triple loop, double toe-loop combination (2001 World Championships)
- First Russian woman skater to win a silver medal at the Olympics (2002 Salt Lake City)
- Four-time Russian Nationals champion
- Four-time Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final Champion
- Two-time World Champion (2002, 2005)
- First woman ever to win seven European Champion (2006)
|Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final||National Championships||European Champion||World Championships||Olympic Games||Junior World Championships|
|1993-94||-||1st J||3rd S||DNQ||DNQ||DNQ||3rd|
|Skate Canada Int.||1st||3rd||1st||2nd|
|Cup of China||1st||1st|
|Cup of Russia||1st||1st||3rd||1st||1st||1st||3rd||1st||1st|
|Centennial on Ice||1st|
|Trophee de France||4th|
|The Ultimate Four||3rd|
|The Grand Slam||7th|
|Masters of Figure Skating||2nd||1st|
|Hallmark Skaters Challenge||2nd|
|Int. FS Challenge||3rd||5th|
|World Skating Challenge||5th|
|World Cup of FS||1st|
|Japan Int. Challenge||1st|
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Irina Slutskaya: Ferocious Fighter or Playful Pixie, Barry Mittan, goldenskate.com. June 21, 2003.
- ↑ Irina Slutskaya, the grande dame of skating, Anne Thompson, MSNBC. February 23, 2006.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 Russian Irina Slutskaya Heads to Olympics, Salvatore Zanca, Associated Press. January 20, 2006.
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Irina Slutskaya too busy to think about retirement, Nancy Armour, Moscow News. November 27, 2008.