The Russian Dolls have transformed figure skating. But at what cost?

Critics say Russia’s teenage troika of Kostornaia, Shcherbakova and Trusovahave have turned figure skating into a jumping competition, normalizing an alarming trend in the process

Facade has always been central to figure skating. The sport’s culture dictates that athletes should smile through pain and errors. In the ‘kiss and cry’ area - where skaters wait for their scores – there are rarely dramatic displays. Even when a performance is unfairly marked by the judges, skaters will blow kisses to the camera and wave to the crowd. However peeved they may be, they’ll never reveal it, preferring instead to suffer in silence. Burying true feelings just goes with the territory.

“It’s a vicious cycle when you live inside the bubble,” says Kiira Korpi, a two-time Olympian for Finland who is now a psychology student at the New School in Manhattan and a children’s rights activist. “You don’t even realise how unhealthy or toxic some of the cultural norms are.”

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