An investigation into Katia Alexandrovskaya's heartbreaking death by The Australian & The Daily Telegraph

Vagabond

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How often do under-age athletes switch countries? Kolesnik is the only other example that jumps immediately to mind. And I guess Kurakova maybe? Not sure how old she is/was when she made the switch to Poland.
Right off the top of my head, I can think of five examples.

Julia Lautowa was twelve when she moved to Austria. I recall reading that she moved because her coach moved. Did her family move too?

Alexei Krasnozhon started skating for the U.S. at thirteen.

Anastasiia Smirnova cannot have been older than fifteen when she switched from Ukraine to the U.S.

Denys Strekalin and Terra Findlay were each seventeen when they teamed up with their respective new partners to skate for France.

I am sure that I could come up with more examples if I dug around. In how many instances did these changes happen at the instigation of the Federations rather than the skaters themselves? Or is is even possible to draw a meaningful distinction?
 

hanca

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I’m kinda stunned that no one is mentioning that she was an alcoholic perhaps to the point of blackouts! That is very dangerous, and there’s no mention of getting to any kind of treatment for it. I’m guessing based on the article she wasn’t coping with her father’s death was one underlying cause. Add epilepsy on top and this girl needed an intervention and treatment long before she left Australia. ☹
I am slightly sceptical about the whole ‘she was an alcoholic’ claim. I don’t know how it is in Australia, but in Europe, or at least, specifically where I come from, we don’t have law that children under certain age must not drink alcohol. Children can’t buy hard alcohol, they won’t sell it anyone under 16 or 18 (don’t remember) although they would sell you beer or wine. Most teenagers experiment with alcohol. Usually when parents are not around, for example at parties or in clubs. And many of them overdo it it and do have at least one experience of being drunk before they are 18. But that doesn’t mean that they are alcoholics.
Whoever wrote it, does he/she have some insider’s knowledge about Alexandrovskaya drinking, or was a few parties she attended the base someone made the label that she is an alcoholic? It seems to me that whoever wrote the article was following certain agenda and it is convenient to picture her as an alcoholic, but how much in the article is the truth and how much is exaggerated to make a point?
 

MsZem

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How often do under-age athletes switch countries? Kolesnik is the only other example that jumps immediately to mind. And I guess Kurakova maybe? Not sure how old she is/was when she made the switch to Poland.
Christina Carreira, and Tanith Belbin back in the day. Also some members of team Israel, though they all train in North America.

From the stuff posted in this thread, the articles seem sensationalized to the point of being ghoulish. There are serious issues in skating that should be addressed, but I don't see how certain details of Katia's private life are needed for that discussion.
 
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viennese

Just found out she was skating here 1 week ago
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Really sad. Yes, sensationalized. There is a lot of ignorance about epilepsy and this doesn't help.

Personal note:

I left a horrible job when I was dealing with depression - a manager made it worse by making stupid and demeaning remarks about psychiatric illness.

I thought I had it bad. Then I met a former employee who dealt with the same manager, a woman with epilepsy (controlled with medication). Somehow the same manager found out about it and said, in front of people, "Oh no, what we supposed to do when you get one of your fits?"

She dealt with reactions like that all her life. It was worse than the epilepsy.
 

Lara111

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Well, well... I had never thought about this sort of partner “purchasing” as human trafficking. Remember the “rent-a-Russian” movement in US ice dance in the late 1990s/early 00s? Usually the wealthy parents of young female dancers looking for male partners -usually poor - from Eastern Europe. This always smacked of something ugly, even if at first it seemed like a fine opportunity out of poverty for the talented men. Rent-a-Russian. Yuk. And weren’t certain coaches in New Jersey wheeling and dealing in this sort of thing? I’m sure that there were others but one comes to mind. Maybe someone can begin a thread on looking back at Rent-a-Russian’s possible ties to human trafficking, since we should focus this one on Alexandrovskaya’s own story.

p.s. Rent-a-Russian (male partner figure skater) also happened in Japan, if memory serves. Or maybe the middlemen did it out of the kindness of their hearts, for the good of sport (no money exchanged)?
Now is Rent-an-Ukrainian in US ice dance
 

Vagabond

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Sebastian Coe was talking specifically about under-age track and field athletes who are in effect transferred from poor federations, such as Cuba and Ethiopia, to rich ones, such as Qatar and Turkey, with little input from the athletes, who may, in effect, be doing forced labor. It isn't clear to me that any such thing goes on in skating, but perhaps someone here knows of instances.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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I’m kinda stunned that no one is mentioning that she was an alcoholic perhaps to the point of blackouts! That is very dangerous, and there’s no mention of getting to any kind of treatment for it. I’m guessing based on the article she wasn’t coping with her father’s death was one underlying cause. Add epilepsy on top and this girl needed an intervention and treatment long before she left Australia. ☹
No one is mentioning it because it's not true. Doesn't mean she hadn't been drunk at points in time. These "sensational details" always suddenly appear in tabloids when a young person dies like this. What's next, accusing her of being a stripper? a prostitute? a mafia "wife"? I mean, the script is always the same.
 

skatingguy

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No one is mentioning it because it's not true. Doesn't mean she hadn't been drunk at points in time. These "sensational details" always suddenly appear in tabloids when a young person dies like this. What's next, accusing her of being a stripper? a prostitute? a mafia "wife"? I mean, the script is always the same.
I'm not sure that having a drinking problem is the same as any of those other things you mentioned, and since blackout drinking has become rather common among adolescents, & young adults it's not an issue that should be dismissed so quickly. Alcohol abuse, and the underlying causes, need to be taken serious and addressed appropriately, and if it was a contributing factor in the events that Alexandrovskaya's death than it should be discussed.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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Sebastian Coe was talking specifically about under-age track and field athletes who are in effect transferred from poor federations, such as Cuba and Ethiopia, to rich ones, such as Qatar and Turkey, with little input from the athletes, who may, in effect, be doing forced labor. It isn't clear to me that any such thing goes on in skating, but perhaps someone here knows of instances.
Running and baseball are much more financially accessible than skating. If you are a 13 yo international skater, you family has already invested a fortune into your training. A young skater from a "poor" federation like Ukraine is not coming from an uneducated, financially struggling family residing in a remote village. Kolsenik came to the U.S. because of the opportunities, including potential Ivy League college education. Do people not understand the difference? I mean, any kid is doing forced labor if their parents are forcing them to skate for their own financial gain. But that has nothing to do with Katia's situation, or any other young Eastern European skater's situation.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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I'm not sure that having a drinking problem is the same as any of those other things you mentioned, and since blackout drinking has become rather common among adolescents, & young adults it's not an issue that should be dismissed so quickly. Alcohol abuse, and the underlying causes, need to be taken serious and addressed appropriately, and if it was a contributing factor in the events that Alexandrovskaya's death than it should be discussed.
No, it should not be discussed (i.e. speculated about). Leave the poor dead girl alone. Leave her familty alone. They've suffered enough. "Discuss" people that we can still help.
 
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skatfan

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No, it should not be discussed (i.e. speculated about). Leave the poor dead girl alone. Leave her familty alone. They've suffered enough. "Discuss" people that we can still help.

You have missed my point. Now if this is simply tabloid lies, ok. But if it is true that she was binge drinking and no one addressed that, then yes, it should be discussed so those who can do something in the future can be held accountable.
 

skatingguy

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No, it should not be discussed (i.e. speculated about). Leave the poor dead girl alone. Leave her familty alone. They've suffered enough. "Discuss" people that we can still help.
How do we learn from mistakes if we can't discuss the contributing factors? Yes, it would have been better if this discussion happened before she died, but it didn't, and all we can do now (particularly on a online forum) is raise the profile of these issues and force the sports governing authorities to address them.
 

Lacey

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Personally, I wish that some of these comments could be deleted. She's gone, she's not here to defend herself and perhaps not one of us was there in person to give a correct, however very sad and indecent, report, please respect her.
 

hanca

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I'm not sure that having a drinking problem is the same as any of those other things you mentioned, and since blackout drinking has become rather common among adolescents, & young adults it's not an issue that should be dismissed so quickly. Alcohol abuse, and the underlying causes, need to be taken serious and addressed appropriately, and if it was a contributing factor in the events that Alexandrovskaya's death than it should be discussed.
Do you have any proof that she had a drinking problem? No one says that we shouldn’t take drinking problems seriously, but no one really has seen anything specific to prove that it was Alexandrovskaya’s problem. Mentioning it in one article does not make it automatically the truth.
 

Vagabond

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Do you have any proof that she had a drinking problem?
From the article referenced in the first post:

Alexandrovskaya’s drinking became heavier. It is understood there were times when she was so inebriated, Windsor had to help her on to planes.

Merriman agreed to help them with their skating program, as a mentor, but he was worried about their wellbeing.

“It sort of scares me to say it, I had a tip-off from someone outside the ice rink, that she was potentially drinking a lot,” Merriman says. “We came to discover she was showing up to training not in a great state.

“Trying to monitor that and then making sure she gets X, Y, Z done on the . There were days I would just report back (to their Russian coach Andrei Khekalo) they were getting the stuff done, but not getting her to do it because she wasn’t in the right space.

Noonan says she took Alexandrovskaya to a clinical psychologist who specialised in alcohol dependency.....
 

Amy L

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No one is mentioning it because it's not true. Doesn't mean she hadn't been drunk at points in time. These "sensational details" always suddenly appear in tabloids when a young person dies like this. What's next, accusing her of being a stripper? a prostitute? a mafia "wife"? I mean, the script is always the same.

The Russian media already stated that she was the first one, in one of the reports that came out immediately after her death. There were no sources quoted, however, which is probably why no one has really mentioned it since.

People always want to know "why" when things like this happen. She was very young, pretty, and exceptionally talented. It's a delicate balance between respecting someone who died and analyzing what happened in order to prevent it from happening to someone else in the future. Her very sad series of tragic events might be pretty singular since a lot of her problems were p--d--c related, but I can see why there's a discussion about a young teenager moving to another country alone. It does happen a lot in sports, and there's usually no mention of any of the background story. It's a useful conversation to have, though a very sad one. I have no answers for anything. I'm still just mostly sad.
 
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Aussie Willy

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I am slightly sceptical about the whole ‘she was an alcoholic’ claim. I don’t know how it is in Australia, but in Europe, or at least, specifically where I come from, we don’t have law that children under certain age must not drink alcohol. Children can’t buy hard alcohol, they won’t sell it anyone under 16 or 18 (don’t remember) although they would sell you beer or wine. Most teenagers experiment with alcohol. Usually when parents are not around, for example at parties or in clubs. And many of them overdo it it and do have at least one experience of being drunk before they are 18. But that doesn’t mean that they are alcoholics.
Whoever wrote it, does he/she have some insider’s knowledge about Alexandrovskaya drinking, or was a few parties she attended the base someone made the label that she is an alcoholic? It seems to me that whoever wrote the article was following certain agenda and it is convenient to picture her as an alcoholic, but how much in the article is the truth and how much is exaggerated to make a point?
Without going into detail I can confirm that it is true.

Also don't assume that because someone is under the drinking age that they cannot be alcoholics. I have known plenty of people of my life who were heavy drinkers from a very early age (yes in Australia). Just because they cannot legally buy it doesn't mean they cannot get it other ways.

In regards to the article, I don't know why the Australian would have picked up on this and done an investigation. Skating is so far out of people's minds.
 

Lacey

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Do you have any proof that she had a drinking problem? No one says that we shouldn’t take drinking problems seriously, but no one really has seen anything specific to prove that it was Alexandrovskaya’s problem. Mentioning it in one article does not make it automatically the truth.

You have missed my point. Now if this is simply tabloid lies, ok. But if it is true that she was binge drinking and no one addressed that, then yes, it should be discussed so those who can do something in the future can be held accountable.

How do we learn from mistakes if we can't discuss the contributing factors? Yes, it would have been better if this discussion happened before she died, but it didn't, and all we can do now (particularly on a online forum) is raise the profile of these issues and force the sports governing authorities to address them.

No, it should not be discussed (i.e. speculated about). Leave the poor dead girl alone. Leave her family alone. They've suffered enough. "Discuss" people that we can still help.

I agree Hanca (above), unless one is a Social Worker or Psychologist or Employee of an organization that treats drinking problems, and except for the fact that none of those were present at any time with this individual mentioned above, nor anyone else amateur or professional for that matter that we know of, then one should never speak publicly about another's possible addictions. To do so is against all etiquette.

I believe that only, for instance, in an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting should the label of "an Alcoholic" be made and in that case it would be made by the individual her or himself in the confessional nature of those meetings. "My name is George and I am an Alcoholic." No one is excluded from those meetings, they are open, but they are not held in public.

If this or any other person has a "drinking" problem, then that discussion should take place quietly with discretion. The very fact that this person is deceased gives her no chance to interact, not to defend herself but to help us all understand. Not one of us was there in real time. I'm not sure if we have any professionals here--we do have a lot who want to help, but can only pretend to do so and in this case, after the fact. The underage aspect complicates everything.

If I have a "candy" problem, then presumably others would try to get me into treatment privately, not after I am dead and not to discuss it ad infinitum as if there is something that can be done for me after I am gone. Gone is gone, sadly.

There are lessons to be learned, but help for others could go in a separate thread and not at the expense of the deceased. Volunteer help is wonderful--we have the biggest hearts but remember we are not professionals. First of all, one should not label anyone an "alcoholic" or "chocoholic." Labels stigmatize everything.
 
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hanca

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Without going into detail I can confirm that it is true.

Also don't assume that because someone is under the drinking age that they cannot be alcoholics. I have known plenty of people of my life who were heavy drinkers from a very early age (yes in Australia). Just because they cannot legally buy it doesn't mean they cannot get it other ways.

In regards to the article, I don't know why the Australian would have picked up on this and done an investigation. Skating is so far out of people's minds.
You are missing my point. I am not assuming that because a teenager can’t buy alcohol, they can’t obtain it in any way. I am not disputing the fact that sometimes she drank. I drink sometimes, you drink sometimes, many people drink sometimes. But I am disputing the label that she was an alcoholic. You are saying that the reports are true, but what exactly have you seen to make you so sure she is an alcoholic? Have you been drinking with her every day, checking how much alcohol she consumed? Or have you just seen her drunk a few times? Seeing her drunk a few times on a party doesn’t make her an alcoholic. What exactly has the author seen that that he/she can make such claims? The author is just sticking diagnosis on a person who has no opportunity to say their bit, and that’s wrong, in my view.
 

skatingguy

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I agree Hanca (above), unless one is a Social Worker or Psychologist or Employee of an organization that treats drinking problems, and except for the fact that none of those were present at any time with this individual mentioned above, nor anyone else amateur or professional for that matter that we know of, then one should never speak publicly about another's possible addictions. To do so is against all etiquette.

I believe that only, for instance, in an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting should the label of "an Alcoholic" be made and in that case it would be made by the individual her or himself in the confessional nature of those meetings. "My name is George and I am an Alcoholic." No one is excluded from those meetings, they are open, but they are not held in public.

If this or any other person has a "drinking" problem, then that discussion should take place quietly with discretion. The very fact that this person is deceased gives her no chance to interact, not to defend herself but to help us all understand. Not one of us was there in real time. I'm not sure if we have any professionals here--we do have a lot who want to help, but can only pretend to do so and in this case, after the fact.

If I have a "candy" problem, then presumably others would try to get me into treatment privately, not after I am dead and not to discuss it ad infinitum as if there is something that can be done for me after I am gone. Gone is gone, sadly.

Yes, there are lessons to be learned, but help for others could go in a separate thread and not at the expense of the deceased. Volunteer help is wonderful--we can have the biggest hearts, but remember we are not professionals. First and foremost, one should not label anyone an "alcoholic" or "chocoholic." Labels stigmatize everything.
Alcoholism is a disease not a label, and discussing substance abuse in the manner that you did is stigmatizing. Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya had a drinking problem, and it might have contributed to her eventual suicide, and that is not a judgement on her, just as the fact that she had epilepsy is not a judgement.
 

hanca

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Alcoholism is a disease not a label, and discussing substance abuse in the manner that you did is stigmatizing. Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya had a drinking problem, and it might have contributed to her eventual suicide, and that is not a judgement on her, just as the fact that she had epilepsy is not a judgement.
Well, because alcoholism is a disease, I don’t think the person writing the article was adequately medically qualified to diagnose this, and I doubt that the person had enough medically professional dealing with her to know how much of an addiction it was or was not. If someone says that according to people who knew her, she drunk too much, I would not object to that. But I am objecting that on this forum someone wrote that she was an alcoholic. And if this is what some article says, then the article is wrong, because it is just the writer’s assumption. A writer pretending to be a medical specialist.
 

Aerobicidal

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Alcoholism is a disease not a label, and discussing substance abuse in the manner that you did is stigmatizing. Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya had a drinking problem, and it might have contributed to her eventual suicide, and that is not a judgement on her, just as the fact that she had epilepsy is not a judgement.
Yes, and a big part of classifying it as a disease (which is official in the U.S., although I don't know if that's true in other countries) is to remove the stigma associated with it. So I totally agree with you.

On another note, I don't think labels are inherently stigmatizing, whether they refer to diseases, habits, or just our own identity. I can think of countless examples of ways I would label myself that aren't associated with any stigma.

Also, I think it's really problematic to say that "alcoholic" is in any way like "chocoholic." Alcoholism is a disease that ruins countless lives, relationships, and families. Chocoholism, on the other hand . . .

This situation illustrates how at least two different diseases were neglected--or at least not taken seriously enough--by both the athlete (understandable given her age and the pressure on her to succeed) and adults who could have tried to intervene. Sweeping it under the rug because it's consistent with some weird sense of "etiquette" seems counterproductive and, IMO, bizarre.
 
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skatingguy

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Well, because alcoholism is a disease, I don’t think the person writing the article was adequately medically qualified to diagnose this, and I doubt that the person had enough medically professional dealing with her to know how much of an addiction it was or was not. If someone says that according to people who knew her, she drunk too much, I would not object to that. But I am objecting that on this forum someone wrote that she was an alcoholic. And if this is what some article says, then the article is wrong, because it is just the writer’s assumption. A writer pretending to be a medical specialist.
The article doesn't use the word alcoholism, it describes problem drinking, and presents quotes from people who were close her that confirm that.
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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How do we learn from mistakes if we can't discuss the contributing factors? Yes, it would have been better if this discussion happened before she died, but it didn't, and all we can do now (particularly on a online forum) is raise the profile of these issues and force the sports governing authorities to address them.
You have no idea what happened. All you are doing is jumping to conclusions and stirring the pot based on a tabloid article. While Katia's family is grieving. What's needed in situations like this is basic human decency and respect. I don't know why you are so hell-bent on proving a girl you've never met (likely never heard of before her death) was a drunk.
 

Vagabond

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Well, because alcoholism is a disease, I don’t think the person writing the article was adequately medically qualified to diagnose this, and I doubt that the person had enough medically professional dealing with her to know how much of an addiction it was or was not. If someone says that according to people who knew her, she drunk too much, I would not object to that. But I am objecting that on this forum someone wrote that she was an alcoholic. And if this is what some article says, then the article is wrong, because it is just the writer’s assumption. A writer pretending to be a medical specialist.
Have you actually read the article? It says that she went to a clinical psychologist who specialized in treating alcohol dependency. It does not say that she was diagnosed with alcoholism, and, in fact, the words "alcoholic" and "alcoholism" do not appear in the article.

The person who brought up the subject of alcoholism was a poster in this thread. Make your disagreements with the poster (preferably in private) and stop posting things that are demonstrably untrue..
 

Perky Shae Lynn

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The article doesn't use the word alcoholism, it describes problem drinking, and presents quotes from people who were close her that confirm that.
There is not about helping anyone. It is about latching on a sensationalized accusatory article by an Australian tabloid. The entire point of the "article" is to show what a problem child Katia was, and how mother Russia failed her. Imagine you die, and there is a trashy article airing your dirty laundry to the world to see. It is pathetic and distasteful.
 
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hanca

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Have you actually read the article? It says that she went to a clinical psychologist who specialized in treating alcohol dependency. It does not say that she was diagnosed with alcoholism, and, in fact, the words "alcoholic" and "alcoholism" do not appear in the article.

The person who brought up the subject of alcoholism was a poster in this thread. Make your disagreements with the poster (preferably in private) and stop trolling.
Yes, I have read the article. My initial post was responding the the post #27, who branded her an alcoholic. i am not trolling, but it seems to me that you are. What would be your interest in leaving unchallenged that a young athlete was alcoholic?
 

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