Figure skater, Olympic Medalist and Sochi 2014 Ambassador
“To be part of such a large, truly national event as the Olympics is a great honour for me.”
Famous figure skater, two-times World Champion, Olympic Medalist, seven-times European Champion, and with more than 70 medals for various achievements.
Irina Slutskaya was born on February 9, 1979 in Moscow. Irina is an Honoured Master of Sport (figure skating, single skating), four-times Russian Champion, seven-times European Champion, two-times World Champion and two-times Olympic Medalist. In 2000 she graduated from Moscow State Academy of Physical Education (MGAFK).
She was awarded the Order of Friendship (in 2003) for her contribution to the development of physical education and sports and for her sporting achievements at the Olympic Games 2002 in Salt Lake City. In 2007 Irina Slutskaya was awarded the Order of Honour by the Russian President's Decree. She won Female Athlete of the Year at the Eurosport Sport Star Awards 2006, People's Favourite at Crystal Ice 2008 and an award at the Golden Skate Awards 2009.
In her childhood Irina was often ill, but her mother took her to figure skating classes at Sokolniki Sports Club when she was four. Zhanna Fedorovna Gromova has been her coach since she was six.
Irina really became known in 1996 when the 16-year-old Ira first won the European Championships in Sofia as well as the bronze medal in the World Championships. The next season she was the best in Europe again. In total Irina has been European Champion seven times (in 1996, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006), which is a world record.
In the 1999-2000 season Irina Slutskaya became the first woman to successfully perform a triple lutz-triple loop combination at an official competition.
In 2002, at her second Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Irina Slutskaya was one of the favourites. In the free skate she ceded to American Sarah Hughes, although beating her according to one judge, and came second in the end. But a month later Slutskaya won the World Championships in Nagano for the first time in her career.
In March 2002 Irina Slutskaya was awarded a gold medal "For an Honest Victory" which was specially commissioned by Anton Bakov, a politician and businessman from the Urals. The medal weighs approximately one kilogram and, unlike the Olympic gold medal, it is made entirely of 18 carat gold.
The next two seasons were among the most dramatic in Irina's career. After coming first in the European Championships in 2003 and winning silver in the Grand Prix Final, Irina missed the World Championships as her mother fell seriously ill, and then the athlete herself began to suffer serious health problems. After long consultations, doctors diagnosed the figure skater with vasculitis. The doctor told Slutskaya not to return to the ice, but this only spurred the athlete on to continue her sporting career in spite of all the doctors' predictions. As soon as Irina could train again she returned to the sport and competed in the 2004 World Championships in Dortmund. Irina came ninth in this event, but the next season she completely re-established her leading position in figure skating.
She won the Grand Prix Final, the Russian Championships and the European Championships, but the most memorable victory of her career was at the 2005 World Championships in Moscow. The World Championships were judged using a new system as the 6.0 system had been abolished. Slutskaya performed perfectly, in her own words, in the free skate, received very high marks and won by a large margin. Irina Slutskaya is the only Russian figure skater to have won the World Championships twice.
In 2006 Irina Slutskaya won the European Championships for the seventh time in her career, beating the records of figure skaters Katarina Witt and Sonja Henie. At the Turin Winter Olympics Irina won the bronze medal in a dramatic battle, becoming the only Russian figure skater to hold two Olympic medals.
After this Irina Slutskaya left competitive figure skating but continued to delight her fans by performing in ice shows.
Irina has tried her hand in film, theatre and television. In 2004 she spent several months at Ostankino Television School.
Slutskaya presented the shows "Stars on Ice" (2006) and "Ice Age" (2007, 2009) on Channel One. In autumn 2008 Irina took part in "Ice Age" as one of the skaters, competing in a pair with Gediminas Taranda, and she also took a role in the pilot episode of "First Squadron".
On December 25, 2009 the premier of the video for the song "New Year" was shown on TVC with Irina singing a duet with Sergey Kristovsky (a member of Uma2rman), in March 2011 she released a song called "Sochi" in support of the 2014 Olympics in a duet with the singer Asherali. And there is still much more ahead of her.