Sports world mourns Australian Winter Olympian Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya

Photo credit: EUPA/Shutterstock

The second sudden death of an Australian Winter Olympian has rocked the Australian winter sports world as figure skater Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya died on Friday (local time) aged 20.

The official cause of death is yet to be confirmed, though media reports she fell from an apartment window. This is the second sudden death in recent days for the Winter Olympics community after Alex Chumpy Pullin died while spear fishing.

It’s a tragic end to a beautiful Winter Olympic story as the Russian born skater known as Katia represented Australia alongside the country’s first indigenous Winter Olympian, Harley Windsor.

Together they claimed two Australian titles, gold at the World Junior Championships in 2017 and won the Junior Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, also in 2017. The pair were the first Australian skaters to win an ISU Championship title.

Chef de Mission for the 2018 Australian Team in PyeongChang, Ian Chesterman, says the news is a terrible blow for all those who knew Katia, who was a popular member of the Australian Team in South Korea in 2018.

“It is enormously sad to lose Katia who was a vibrant and talented person and an incredible athlete. She was quiet and humble in her manner but incredibly determined to be the best she could be,” said Chesterman.

Vale Ekaterina 'Katia' Alexandrovskaya 2000 – 2020 ??We are deeply saddened by news of the passing of 2018 Winter…

Posted by Australian Olympic Team on Saturday, 18 July 2020

Alexsandrovskaya and Windsor went on to become the first pair to represent Australia at a Winter Olympic Games in 10 years, at PyeongChang in 2018. She had officially retired from the sport in February this year due to ongoing injury.

“Katia was an important member of our Team in PyeongChang, who loved the opportunity to compete with Harley and embraced her time in the Australian Olympic Team,” said Chesterman.

“We are all deeply saddened to hear the news today. Life since the Games has not been easy for her and this is another timely reminder of just how fragile life is. Katia’s death is another blow to our winter sports community who is still reeling from our loss of Chumpy Pullin. But we are a close-knit community that will continue to offer support to each other at this incredibly sad time.”

Our thoughts are with Katia’s family, Harley Windsor, the figure skating and Winter Olympic communities.

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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.