And controlled by their own Botox-ed Svengali. Jokes aside, I feel for these girls. It's not a unique situation to have young (and sometimes unpopular) Olympic champions. Oksana, Tara, Sarah, Adelina all "came out of nowhere" to upset the favorites. Timing has always been a huge factor. But the factory feeling is new and unique. The level of talent is amazing, yet these girls aren't even percieved as individuals. Whoever falls back will be discarded like a dirty old shoe. There is no incentive for their team to stick with them through puberty. There is always the next little girl waiting in the wings.
I interpreted discarded to mean discarded by fans as the "it" skater, who then move on to the next "it" girl. No one said anything about Eteri so you jumped right there.
The entire post you quoted (ie the one above) is about Eteri.