Australian Olympic figure skater Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya dies aged 20

Russian born Australian figure skater Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya has died at the age 20.

The skater, known to friends as Katia, quit the sport due to health issues earlier this year.

Tributes have been flooding in online after 20-year-old Australian figure skater Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya was found dead on a Moscow street, her death is being treated as a suicide.

Russian news has reported the body of Katia, who had previously competed for Australia at the 2018 Winter Games, was found in a Moscow street on Friday and that the “preliminary cause of death is suicide.” While authorities are yet to officially disclosed the details of her death, Katia’s former coach, Andrei Khekalo, told Agence France-Presse that she fell from a sixth story window.

Khekalo told the AFP that Katia had been diagnosed in January with epilepsy, causing her to quit the sport. Her Australian pairs partner, Harley Windsor, said on social media in February that he and Alexandrovskaya were unable to continue because of unspecified “health concerns,” and he wished her “all the best in the future and a quick recovery.”

Katia’s coach Khekalo said that even before the skater was diagnosed with epilepsy she suffered from depression. “I tried to get her to stay in sport at my own peril,” he said.

With the Olympics being postponed, and the world being shaken by the uncertainty of the coronavirus, there are reports that the skater’s mental health struggles could have been amplified amid the effects of the pandemic.

On Saturday, pairs partner Windsor posted to Instagram to say he was “devastated and sick to my core about the sad and sudden passing of Katia.”

Posting a photo of himself and Katia at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, Windsor added, “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.”

Tributes have been flooding in all over social media to share condolences for the young skater.

Geoff Lipshut, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia’s chief executive officer, hailed Alexandrovskaya and Windsor as “Australia’s first figure skating world champions.”

“She came to Australia to fulfill her sporting dreams,” said Lipshut, who has been appointed chef de mission for his country’s delegation to the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing. “The news today is so sad, my thoughts are with Katia’s family in Russia, Harley and the skating community in Australia.”

Russian media said Katia had left a note reading “Lyublyu” which translates to “I love”. 

If you or someone you know are struggling and need support at this time please call:

Lifeline on 13 11 14

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