Maria Butyrskaya

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Maria Butyrskaya
Бутырская Мария.jpg
Personal information
Full name Maria Viktorovna Butyrskaya
Country represented Russia
Born (1972-06-28) 28 June 1972 (age 42)
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 1.60 m (5 ft 3 in)
Former coach Elena Tchaikovskaya
Vladimir Kotin
Viktor Kudriavtsev
Vladimir Korolov
Irina Nifontova
Former choreographer Elena Tchaikovskaya
Began skating 1977
Retired 2002

Maria Viktorovna Butyrskaya (Russian: Мария Викторовна Бутырская, born 28 June 1972) is a Russian figure skater. She is the 1999 World champion and a three-time European champion – becoming the oldest skater and the first Russian to win the World ladies' title and the oldest skater to win the European ladies' title (2002 at age 29). Butyrskaya placed fourth at the 1998 Winter Olympics and sixth at the 2002 Winter Olympics. She won the Russian national title six times.


As a child, Butyrskaya was coached by Irina Nifontova for eight years.[1] After she decided to retire, Butyrskaya had a couple of coaches, one of whom told her she had no talent, and then contacted Vladimir Korolov.[1] He improved her compulsory figures but they were then dropped from competitions.[1] After Korolov moved to Greece, Butyrskaya was coached by Viktor Kudriavtsev for several years until he told her that she was strong technically but he could not help her mentally.[1] Her coach then became Elena Tchaikovskaya.[1]

Butyrskaya originally competed for the Soviet Union. After its dissolution, she began representing Russia. She first showed promise with a victory ahead of veterans Josee Chouinard and Tonya Harding at the Skate Canada International, with a clean 5 triple performance. She then placed a strong 5th at her first ever Europeans. Going to Worlds with hopes of a top 10 finish her result at the 1993 World Championships where she failed to get out of the first ever qualifying round, failed to qualify Russia for a spot in the ladies' event at the 1994 Olympics. She would lose her spot as the #1 Russian to Olga Markova in the 1993-1994 season, finishing 2nd behind Olga at the Russian Nationals, and 4th behind her at that years Europeans. Olga thus gained Russia's lone entry into the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships.

She would regain her Russian Nationals title in 1995. However at the 1995 European Figure Skating Championships a poor long program dropped her from 3rd to 7th, and with teammates Olga Markova (2nd) and Irina Slutskaya (5th) finishing above her, she would again miss out on that years World Championships.

Maria emerged as a contender in the 1995-1996 season, winning a silver behind Michelle Kwan at Nations Cup, and qualifying for the first ever Grand Prix Final of Figure Skating. She would suffer poor performances there and finish a disappointing 7th. However she would be one of only 2 women to beat Michelle Kwan that year at Centennial on Ice in front of her home fans, with a 2nd place finish behind teammate Irina Slutskaya. She won her first ever Europeans medal with a bronze. She then just missed a medal at the World Figure Skating Championships in Edmonton, finishing 4th, losing the bronze to teammate Irina Slutskaya due to a missed triple loop jump late.

The 1996-1997 would see her maintain her status as one of the Worlds top skaters, but struggle with consistency of her triple lutz, which she failed to land cleanly in any of her long programs of the season. She would finish a disaesterous 10th at Skate America, but rebound with a silver at Trophee Lalique, finishing 2nd behind Michelle Kwan but ahead of rising superstar Tara Lipinski. She would place 2nd in the short program at the Grand Prix final, but a missed triple lutz attempt would drop her to 4th. At that years European Figure Skating Championships a disaesterous short program (9th) kept her off the podium despite a strong 2nd place performance in the long program. At the World Figure Skating Championships in Lausanne a medal would again elude her. After a strong 3rd place performance in the short program, a long program filled with errors including a doubled triple lutz dropped her to 5th.

Butyrskaya won her first European title at the 1998 European Championships. After a 5th place finish in the short program, a spectacular 7 triple program gave her the victory, dethroning 2 time defending Champion Irina Slutskaya, and also beating that years Grand Prix Final silver medalist Tanja Szewcenko (3rd) who had beaten her twice that season previously. She qualified for the 1998 Olympics, where she finished 4th, missing the bronze to Lu Chen by .1 after a tenative performance marred with small errors. She went on to take her first World medal, bronze, at the 1998 World Championships, losing the silver to compatriot Irina Slutskaya on a 5-4 split after a late fall at the end of a strong performance.

In the 1998–1999 season, Butyrskaya repeated as European champion. She suffered a disappointing defeat at that years Grand Prix final, which she entered as the favorite, falling twice in the long program and losing to Uzbekistan's Tatiana Malinina. She then won gold at the 1999 World Championships, finishing ahead of defending World champion Michelle Kwan who had entered as the overwhelming favorite. She received all first place ordinals in both the short and the long programs at the event, landing 7 clean triples in her long program and receiving 7 5.9s for artistic impression.

Butyrskaya's car exploded outside her Moscow apartment on 23 December 1999.[2][3] She said, "I don't see any other reason for it than jealousy, pure human jealousy."[4] Tchaikovskaya stated "In my 40 years of coaching I have never seen anything like it. I guess it's this crime wave that has taken over our cities and lives lately."[4] Entering the Russian Championships as the five-time defending champion, Butyrskaya won the silver medal behind Irina Slutskaya. She would place 3rd at the Grand Prix final behind Irina Slutskaya and Michelle Kwan, with lackluster performances. She would win silver at the Europeans, faltering in the short program, but skating her best performance of the season in the long program with 6 clean triples, including a triple-triple sequence. At the 2000 World Championships, she was first in the short program with a spectacular performance to Scene D'Amour, scoring 10 5.9s overall, but would dropped to third overall after missing 2 triple salchows in her long program, winning her third World medal. Had she finished 2nd behind Michelle Kwan in the long program she would have successfully defended her title.

She started off strongly in the 2000-2001 season. For the first time ever she began attempting the triple flip jump in her short programs. She convincingly won both Nations Cup and Trophee Lalique, but then suffered a highly controversial and narrow loss to Irina Slutskaya at the NHK Trophy. She would initially not stand on the 2nd place podium. This seemed to set the momentum of her season backwards, and was handily beaten for the 2nd straight year by Irina at Europeans and finished only 3rd at the Russian Nationals. She would finish a disappointing 4th at the Grand Prix Final of Figure Skating, making only 5 out of 14 planned triples over the 3 programs. At Worlds she would finish 4th again, narrowly edged for the bronze by rising star Sarah Hughes. She placed 3rd in the long program with a strong 6 triple effort that scored 3 5.9s for artistry, but a very poor qualifying round skate that also kept her out of the final flight in the short program, left her too much ground to make up.

Butyrskaya won her third European title at the 2002 European Championships in a major upset, defeating Irina Slutskaya in a major event for the first time in 3 years. She entered the Grand Prix final as the top qualifier after being the only women to win all her grand prix assignments, but finished 4th. With high hopes of getting the medal she narrowly missed in 1998, she finished 6th at her second Olympics and ended her amateur career at the 2002 World Championships, withdrawing from the competition after skating poorly in the qualifying round.

Butyrskaya performed a combination spin that involved clasping her arms and hands behind her back while transitioning to back camel, sit and scratch spins. She often participated in choreographing her programs and in designing her costumes.

In 2000, the New York Times described her short program (Sarah Brightman's Scene d'Amour) as "flowing, lyrical skating...a performance of rare elegance and beauty."

After ending her career, Butyrskaya began coaching, working primarily with young skaters.[5] She is based at the Olympic Reserve Skating School in Moscow.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Butyrskaya's parents divorced after the birth of her younger brother.[7]

In summer 2006, Butyrskaya married a hockey player, Vadim Khomitski.[5] As of 2010, he plays in Russia for Khimik's successor team Atlant Moscow Oblast. He is 10 years younger than her. [1] Their first child, a son name Vladislav, was born on 16 April 2007.[6] At his birth, he weighed-in at 7.7 pounds and was 20 inches long. On 3 June 2009, their second child, a daughter, was born.[8]


Season Short program Free skating



Event 1989–90 1990–91 1991–92 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95 1995–96 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–00 2000–01 2001–02
Olympics 4th 6th
Worlds 29th 4th 5th 3rd 1st 3rd 4th WD
Europeans 5th 4th 7th 3rd 4th 1st 1st 2nd 2nd 1st
Grand Prix Final 7th 4th 3rd 2nd 3rd 4th 4th
GP Lalique 5th 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st
GP Nations/Spark. 7th 6th 8th 2nd 3rd 1st 1st 1st
GP NHK Trophy 5th 5th 1st 2nd 1st 2nd
GP Skate America 10th 1st
GP Skate Canada 1st 2nd
Goodwill Games 3rd
Finlandia 4th 1st
Karl Schäfer 3rd
Nebelhorn 3rd 3rd
Piruetten 2nd 8th
Russian Champ. 1st 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd 3rd 2nd
Soviet Champ. 3rd
GP = Grand Prix; WD = Withdrew


  1. ^ a b c d e Mittan, J. Barry (1998). "Maria Butyrskaya". Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Champion figure skater's car blown up in Moscow". Reuters (CBS Sportsline). 24 December 1999. Archived from the original on 4 December 2008. 
  3. ^ Nidetz, Stephen (25 December 1999). "Car Explosion Fails To Rattle Russian Champ Butyrskaya". Chicago Tribune. 
  4. ^ a b "'Pure human jealousy'; Car bomb derailed Russian skater's preparations". Reuters (Sports Illustrated). 29 December 1999. 
  5. ^ a b "Interview with Maria Butyrskaia: European Championships in Helsinki, January 2009". FigureSkating-Online. 4 May 2009. Retrieved 24 June 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Titov, Boris (3 July 2007). "Бутырская снова вышла на лед" [Butyrskaya back on the ice]. Izvestia (in Russian). 
  7. ^ Mikhailina, Elena (April 2012). "Мария Бутырская: «Женщины уходили от Башарова сами»" [Maria Butyrskaya]. Zhurnal "Karavan Istorii" / (in Russian). 
  8. ^ "Мария Бутырская родила дочку" [Maria Butyrskaya gave birth to daughter] (in Russian). 4 June 2009. Retrieved 22 October 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Maria BUTYRSKAYA: 2001/2002". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 10 August 2002. 
  10. ^ "Maria BUTYRSKAYA: 2001/2002". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 18 December 2001. 
  11. ^ a b "Maria BUTYRSKAYA: 2000/2001". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 19 April 2001. 

External links[edit]