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Irina Slutskaya

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Irina Slutskaya (ru: Ирина Слуцкая), born February 9, 1979 in Moscow, Russia is a Russian figure skater. She has won the World Figure Skating Championships twice: in 2002 and 2005 in the ladies' division.

Other titles she has won recently are the European Championships (six times, the latest in 2005), Russian Championships (2005), Grand Prix Final (2005), Cup of Russia (2004), Cup of China (2004). In figure skating at the 2002 Winter Olympics she won the silver medal for her country 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. In a twist of fate, however, Irina overcame the odds to win her duel with Kwan, only to be beaten to the gold medal by the less-heralded American Sarah Hughes. Irina had in fact been level with Hughes in the final standings, but as winner of the free programme, the tie was automatically settled in Hughes' favour. 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. From a non-Russian perspective, the general feeling seemed to be that the scoring of the free programme was fair, but that the judges' earlier decision to place Irina behind Michelle Kwan on the short programme had perhaps not been a true reflection of the pair's respective performances - and a reversal of that result would have propelled Irina ahead of Sarah Hughes in the final standings.

In 2005, Irina made a powerful comeback after being the 9th at the World Figure Skating Championships in 2004 and a long stay at a hospital due to an illness. As the crowd chanted "Ira, Ira" (a diminutive from Irina), she was overcome with emotion. In an interview, she said:

"People frequently ask me, how did I manage to come up after the last year's tumble. It is a wrong thing to say, because when someone is sick, it is not a tumble, it's a distress. No one, unfortunately, is guaranteed from that. I only want to say: keep believing and fighting. I got up, and you can, too... The most important for me now is that this story can serve as an example for those who doubt that they are able to overcome their illness and return to a normal life."

External links

pl:Irina Słucka ru:Ирина_Слуцкая

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