The Fall of the House of Kostornaia?

One of the most intriguing questions with respect to the ladies’ women’s competition this upcoming Olympic season is whether the exquisite Alena Kostornaia will return to her former fighting form and re-ascend to the topmost echelons of women’s skating.  

Indeed, Ms. Kostornaia’s career trajectory in the past season has been . . . tumultuous at best.  After dominating the 2019-2020 season by winning every single international event she entered with her majestic skating skills and impressively consistent triple axel, Ms. Kostornaia’s career took a decidedly downward turn during the 2020-2021 season.  Let us count the ways:

  • Leaving Eteri Tutberidze–undoubtedly the most successful and powerful Russian ladies coach–in what was rumored to be a fit of pique to join the totally untested ranks of the publicity-hungry Angels of Plushenko;
  • Losing to skaters Ms. Kostornaia could’ve beaten in her sleep in 2019-2020, including Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Daria Usacheva, Maiia Khromykh, and Anna Frolova;
  • Falling ill with COVID-19 right before the all-important Russian National Figure Skating Championships;
  • Failing to win a single competition all season;
  • Failing to make the Russian world team;
  • Bizarrely skating to a grand total of four utterly forgettable programs;
  • Failing to land a single triple axel;
  • Obvious growing pains;
  • Unceremoniously being consigned to the Russian reserve national team;
  • Bizarre styling choices, including ill-fitting dresses and frumpy hausfrau hair;
  • WTF photographs and rumors involving the decidedly adult-aged Sergei Rozanov (who also happened to be Ms. Kostornaia’s coach at the time) 

While Ms. Kostornaia has clearly attempted to stop the fall by re-joining the flock at Team Tutberidze earlier this year, the ground is coming up fast for the prodigal Ms. Kostornaia given the ultra-competitive nature of Russian women’s figure skating.  Is it enough?  The upcoming Russian senior test skates will be VERY illuminating . . .