|Native name||Алёна Сергеевна Косторная (Russian)|
|Full name||Alena Sergeyevna Kostornaia|
|Alternative names||Aliona/Alyona Kostornaya|
|Born||24 August 2003|
|Height||1.56 m (5 ft 1+1⁄2 in)|
|Former skating club||FS Academy Angels of Plushenko|
|ISU personal best scores|
|Combined total||247.59 (WR)|
2019–20 Grand Prix Final
|Short program||85.45 (WR)|
2019–20 Grand Prix Final
2019–20 Grand Prix Final
Alena Sergeyevna Kostornaia (Russian: Алёна Сергеевна Косторная; born 24 August 2003) is a Russian figure skater. She is the 2020 European champion, the 2019–20 Grand Prix Final champion, the 2019 Internationaux de France champion, the 2019 NHK Trophy champion and the 2019 CS Finlandia Trophy champion. Competing domestically, she is the 2020 Russian national silver medalist, and a two-time Russian national bronze medalist (2018, 2019). Kostornaia is currently the eight-highest ranked women's singles skater in the world by the International Skating Union following the 2020–21 figure skating season.
At the junior level, Kostornaia is the 2018 Junior World silver medalist, the 2018–19 Junior Grand Prix Final champion, the 2017–18 Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist, and a two-time Russian junior national silver medalist (2018, 2019). She is the tenth woman in history to have landed the triple Axel jump in a senior international competition.
Kostornaia is the third woman after teammate Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and Rika Kihira of Japan to attempt and land the maximum number of triple jumps allowed in one senior international competition: four in the short program and eight in the free skate (see Zayak rule). She first accomplished this at the 2019 Internationaux de France, and later landed all twelve triples cleanly at the 2019–20 Grand Prix Final. She currently holds the world record for the highest total and short program scores, as well as the junior world record for the highest short program score, in women's skating.
Kostornaia was born on 24 August 2003 in Moscow to parents Sergei and Tatiana. She has a younger brother, Stepan. Although she registers her name as "Alena" with the ISU, Kostornaia uses the romanization of "Aliona" on her official Instagram account. In a May 2020 Q&A with teammate Anna Shcherbakova, Kostornaia stated that she intends to study medicine at university once she retires from skating, and hopes to specialize in neurosurgery.
In her free time, Kostornaia enjoys horseback riding and as such often receives horse and unicorn stuffed toys from fans. She also has a number of pets, including a rabbit gifted to her by her fans, a cat, and a Maltipoo named Audrey.
As of September 2021, Kostornaia is a student at the Russian State University of Physical Education, Sport, Youth and Tourism.
2017–2018 season: Junior international debut
Kostornaia's international debut was in early October 2017, at a 2017–18 ISU Junior Grand Prix (JGP) competition in Gdańsk, Poland; ranked first in the short program and second in the free skate, she won the gold medal by a margin of 1.36 points over the silver medalist, her training partner Daria Panenkova. She won silver behind Sofia Samodurova at JGP Italy by a margin of 0.04 points. Her placements qualified her for the 2017–18 Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final, where she won silver, placing second in the short program and first in the free skate. At the senior level, Kostornaia won bronze at the 2018 Russian Figure Skating Championships. She later won silver at the 2018 Russian Junior Championships behind teammate Alexandra Trusova by a margin of 0.58 points.
Kostornaia learned to perform a triple Axel in the preceding year, and originally planned to introduce it in competition. However, she lost the jump following growth during the offseason. Kostornaia started her season by competing in the 2018 JGP series. She won the gold medal at her first JGP event of the season in Linz, Austria. She was ranked first in both the short program and the free skate and won the gold medal by a margin of more than 11 points over the silver medalist, her teammate Alena Kanysheva.
She skated her second JGP event of the season at JGP Ostrava, where she again placed first in both the short program and the free skate. She won the gold medal by a margin of about 2 points over the silver medalist, Kim Ye-lim. With two JGP victories, she qualified for the 2018–19 Junior Grand Prix Final, where she won the gold medal after placing first in both the short program and the free skate. She outscored her teammate and training partner Trusova by about 2.5 points. At this event, Kostornaia scored her personal best score of 217.98 points, and also set a new junior-level ladies' record for the short program (76.32 points).
At the 2019 Russian Championships, Kostornaia placed third in the short program due to a fall during her step sequence, which she attributed to being "too relaxed" as she was nearing the end of the program and had already completed all of her jumping passes. She then placed third in the free skate as well, winning her second consecutive national bronze medal.
Kostornaia participated in the 2019 Russian Junior Championships, winning the short program and placing second in the free skate. She placed second overall, winning her second consecutive junior national silver medal. After the event, she was named to the Russian team for the 2019 World Junior Championships along with training mates Trusova and Anna Shcherbakova. However, on 4 March, the first day of the event, Kostornaia withdrew from the competition due to a medical condition, subsequently revealed by choreographer Daniil Gleikhengauz to be leg inflammation that required four weeks away from training. She was replaced by Ksenia Sinitsyna.
2019–2020 season: Undefeated senior international debut and European title
For her programs, Kostornaia retained her short program from the previous season and revised a Twilight–themed exhibition program from the previous year to serve as her free skate, citing how much she enjoyed skating it. Shortly after debuting her programs at the Russian test skates, Kostornaia resumed training the triple Axel jump. Kostornaia debuted on the senior international level at the 2019 CS Finlandia Trophy, where she placing first in both the short program and free skate. She incorporated two triple Axels in her free skate, becoming the tenth woman in history to land the jump in an international competition, and earned a total combined score of 234.84, 22.31 points ahead of silver medalist Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.
Making her senior Grand Prix debut at the 2019 Internationaux de France, Kostornaia ranked first in the short program, incorporating a triple Axel into it for the first time. She then became the fourth woman ever, after Mao Asada, Rika Kihira and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, to land two fully rotated triple Axels in a free skate, placing first in the segment with a personal best score of 159.45 points. She took the gold medal over training mate and reigning World and Olympic champion Alina Zagitova by a margin of 19.94 points. At the 2019 NHK Trophy, Kostornaia performed a clean skate with a successful triple Axel to place first in the short program, 5.15 points over Rika Kihira, who also landed a triple Axel, and set a new world record score of 85.04 for the ladies' short program at the senior level. In the free, she again placed first and won the event with a personal best total score of 240.00. Kostornaia became the top qualifier for the Grand Prix Final in Torino, with two gold medal finishes and 30 points overall.
At the 2019–20 Grand Prix Final, she broke her own world record by scoring 85.45 points in the short program, placing first. In spite of having the only clean free skate amongst the ladies, Kostornaia ranked second in that segment, 0.51 point behind teammate Anna Shcherbakova. However, her lead from the short program was enough to not only win the title by almost 7 points over Shcherbakova, but also to break the world record for the combined total score in ladies' singles skating, previously held by Alexandra Trusova. She became the fifth figure skater in any discipline to win the Junior Grand Prix Final and Grand Prix Final in consecutive years.
Kostornaia competed next at the 2020 Russian National championships, where she again won the short program, setting a ten-point lead over second-place Anna Shcherbakova. However, she placed second in the free skate, due to mistakes on her double Axel and triple flip-triple toe loop combination. She received the silver medal, two points behind Shcherbakova, and secured a spot on the European and World teams.
At the 2020 European Championships, Kostornaia was in the lead following a clean short program. She placed second in the free skate behind Shcherbakova, receiving a deduction for falling on her last jumping pass, a triple Lutz, but still scored enough to claim the European title by three points. Upon being interviewed after her victory, she expressed surprise at the results, as she had not expected to win in light of the mistake.
2020–2021 season: Coaching changes and COVID-19
On 31 July 2020, it was announced by Russian media outlet R-Sport that Kostornaia had chosen to part ways with coach Eteri Tutberidze to train in the camp of coach Evgeni Plushenko. This news was first reported by Tutberidze herself via Instagram where she claimed that the split was due to Kostornaia's refusal to share the ice with other teammates. Kostornaia herself initially declined to comment on her departure. Although she left Tutberidze with two new programs set, including a new free program to three variations of Lovely by Billie Eilish and Khalid, Plushenko stated in an interview with TASS that he and his team would set two more new programs for Kostornaia for the season, potentially with international choreographers. While her new short program ended up being choreographed by her coach, Sergei Rozanov, her new free program was choreographed remotely by Canadian former ice dancer and choreographer Shae-Lynn Bourne due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
At the 2020 Russian test skate event, Kostornaia only performed her short program as her free program was not finalized due to limited training time. Her coach, Evgeni Plushenko, also stated that Kostornaia was recovering from an unspecified injury and had not yet returned to top form. Due to the injury and late coaching change, Kostornaia was assigned to the final two events in the 2020–21 Russian Cup series, a domestic competition series used to determine qualification to the Russian Figure Skating Championships. She was also assigned to compete at the 2020 Rostelecom Cup.
Kostornaia opened her competitive season at the fourth stage of the domestic Russian Cup series held in Kazan, Russia on 8 November. She won the short program by a small margin over teammate Alexandra Trusova with a score of 78.15, despite a step-out on her triple flip-triple toe loop combination and a loss of control on her Biellmann spin. In the free skate, she placed second behind Trusova and won the silver medal overall. At the 2020 Rostelecom Cup, Kostornaia cleanly skated her short program and placed first in that segment with a score of 78.84 points, four points ahead of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who performed a triple Axel but made an error executing her combination. She dropped to the silver medal position behind Tuktamysheva in the free skate, after underrotating three triple jumps and losing levels on several non-jump elements. She remarked afterward: "you need jumps like the triple Axel and quads to compete at the highest level, so it is in my plans and I'm working towards that."
On 4 December, it was announced that Kostornaia withdrew from the fifth stage of the Russian Cup after contracting COVID-19. Kostornaia later withdrew from the 2021 Russian Championships on 22 December due to lack of training time caused by her recovery from the virus. On 19 January 2021, it was announced that Kostornaia was selected to participate in the Channel One Russia Figure Skating Cup, a domestic team tournament featuring six skaters or teams in each discipline, competing against one another in teams of three. Kostornaia earned her place in the event because of the strength of her performance at the 2020 European Championships as she was unable to perform at the 2021 national championships, and was chosen to compete alongside fellow top contenders Anna Shcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Daria Usacheva, and Kamila Valieva. She later withdrew from the event on 3 February due to incomplete recovery from COVID-19.
Kostornaia announced on Instagram on 28 January that she had developed a new free program, again choreographed by Shae-Lynn Bourne. Vice President of the ISU Alexander Lakernik visited one of Kostornaia's training sessions to help polish the program. In addition to her new free skate to "My Way" and "Yellow Moon" by Luca D'Alberto, Kostornaia also debuted a new short program to Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons: Winter at the 2021 Russian Cup Final. The Final was widely perceived as a contest between Kostornaia and Elizaveta Tuktamysheva for the third spot on the Russian ladies' team for the 2021 World Championships in Stockholm. She struggled in the short at the event, only executing a tight double toe loop after a messy landing on the triple flip in her intended triple flip-triple-toe loop combination, placing sixth in the segment. She maintained her standing in the free skate to finish sixth overall, two placements below Tuktamysheva. The Final marked the end to Kostornaia's competitive season as Tuktamysheva was named to the World Championship team on 1 March.
On 3 March, it was reported by TASS that Kostornaia was in the process of negotiating a return to her former coach, Eteri Tutberidze, pending agreement from Tutberidze herself. When asked about the transfer, Kostornaia would neither confirm or deny the rumors. Sports.ru also reported on the situation with the additional detail that Tutberidze was hesitant to accept due to doubts that Kostornaia would be able to regain her previous form after struggling with a back injury and a stress fracture on her leg. On 6 March, it was announced that Tutberidze had accepted Kostornaia back into her group for a two-month probationary period, during which Kostornaia would have to adhere completely to the team's training regimen and regain her triple Axel in order to continue permanently.
Due to her struggles during the 2020–21 season, Kostornaia was excluded from Russian national team for the 2021–22 season and was instead named to the reserve team as first alternate. Main national team members and reserve team members receive the same amount of funding from the Russian Figure Skating Federation, with the primary difference between the two being the amount of funds allocated to the skater's club. As Grand Prix assignments are determined by international standings, Kostornaia's national team status will not affect her ability to compete.
In August 2021, it was announced that Kostornaia would compete at the 2021 Skate Canada and the 2021 Internationaux de France.  She debuted her programs for the Olympic season at the 2021 Russian test skate event where she attempted the triple Axel again for the first time since the 2019–20 season. She landed one of her two attempts cleanly.
Kostornaia's skating technique is distinguished by her strong program components, particularly her skating skills and artistic interpretation of her programs, combined with her ability to execute difficult technical elements, such as her now trademark triple Axel. Unlike her training-mates at Sambo-70, Kostornaia is often considered a product of the Elena Tchaikovskaia school of figure skating, as her first coach, Elena Zhgun, was a student of Tchaikovskaia's and passed her knowledge of strong skating basics on to Kostornaia from a young age. She is often compared to her training-mates Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova as the three entered the international junior and senior competitive circuits together and for many seasons were considered one another's primary rivals by both fans and specialists. Of the three (sometimes referred to as the 3A as their names all begin with the letter A), Kostornaia is widely considered the most artistic, with Trusova being her technical counterpart and Shcherbakova falling somewhere in the middle.
In 2019, Olympic champion Tara Lipinski referred to Kostornaia as part of the future hope of the Russian women's figure skating, singling her out as "a figure skater who proves that you can achieve technical excellence in landing triple axels and perhaps even quads in the near future. At the same time, she does not forget about basics such as balance which viewers of the sport admire as well as her presentation of fine emotional qualities in the execution of her programs."
Kostornaia has a history of increasing the difficulty of the technical elements in her programs to remain at the top of the ladies field. During the 2019–20 season, she began incorporating a triple Axel into her programs in order to compete with Shcherbakova and Trusova, who were both performing multiple quadruple jumps in their free programs. She has stated in the past that she hopes to eventually add a quad Salchow to her technical arsenal.
Kostornaia is a two-time Silver Doe prize recipient (2019, 2020) for Best Sportsman of the Year. Silver Doe awards are presented annually by the Federation of Sports Journalists of Russia in recognition of distinguished athletic achievement.
In April 2020, Kostornaia was listed as a nominee for Forbes Russia 30 under 30 2020 list.
In July 2020, Kostornaia was named the inaugural recipient of the ISU Skating Awards prize for Best Newcomer, an award given to the most successful senior debutante in the 2019–20 season. Kostornaia was nominated for the award through popular vote by figure skating fans and then selected as the winner by a committee of judges.
|Season||Short program||Free skating||Exhibition|
Romeo and Juliet
Records and achievements
World record scores
Alena currently holds the senior world record for the short program and the total score.
|Women's short program|
|6 December 2019||85.45||2019–20 Grand Prix Final||Current world record.|
|22 November 2019||85.04||2019 NHK Trophy|
|Women's total score|
|7 December 2019||247.59||2019–20 Grand Prix Final||Current world record.|
Junior world record scores
Alena has set the junior world record scores 2 times under the current +5 / -5 GOE (Grade of Execution) system.
|Junior women's short program|
|6 December 2018||76.32||2018–19 JGP Final||Current junior world record.|
|Junior women's free program|
|1 September 2018||132.42||2018 JGP Austria||This record was later broken by Alexandra Trusova at 2018 JGP Lithuania|
Historical world record scores
Note: Because of the introduction of the new +5 / -5 GOE (Grade of Execution) system which replaced the previous +3 / -3 GOE system, ISU has decided that all statistics start from zero for the season 2018–19. All previous records are now historical.
|Historical junior women's short program|
|7 December 2017||71.65||2017–18 JGP Final||Kostornaia broke Alina Zagitova's record from December 2016.|
|GP NHK Trophy||1st|
|GP Skate Canada||TBD|
|JGP Czech Rep.||1st|
|Russian Cup Final||1st||6th|
|TBD = Assigned; WD = Withdrew; C = Event cancelled|
Personal bests highlighted in bold. World record scores are italicized.
|19–21 November 2021||2021 Internationaux de France||
|29–31 October 2021||2021 Skate Canada||
|14–17 October 2021||2021 Budapest Trophy||
|7–10 October 2021||2021 CS Finlandia Trophy||
|26 February – 2 March 2021||Russian Cup Final
|5–7 February 2021||2021 Channel One Trophy||WD||—||—|
|23–27 December 2020||2021 Russian Championships||WD||—||—|
|5–8 December 2020|| 2020 Cup of Russia Series, 5th Stage, Moscow
|20–22 November 2020||2020 Rostelecom Cup||1
|8–12 November 2020|| 2020 Cup of Russia Series, 4th Stage, Kazan
|24–25 January 2020||2020 European Championships||1
|26–29 December 2019||2020 Russian Championships||1
|5–8 December 2019||2019–20 Grand Prix Final||1
|22–24 November 2019||2019 NHK Trophy||1
|1–3 November 2019||2019 Internationaux de France||1
|11–13 October 2019||2019 CS Finlandia Trophy||1
Small medals for short and free programs awarded only at ISU Championships. Current ISU world bests highlighted in bold and italic. Previous ISU world best highlighted in bold. Historical ISU world best highlighted in bold and italic. Personal bests highlighted in italic.
|1–4 February 2019||2019 Russian Junior Championships||Junior||1
|19–23 December 2018||2019 Russian Championships||Senior||3
|6–9 December 2018||2018–19 JGP Final||Junior||1
|26–29 September 2018||2018 JGP Czech Republic||Junior||1
|29 Aug. – 1 Sept. 2018||2018 JGP Austria||Junior||1
|5–11 March 2018||2018 World Junior Championships||Junior||2
|23–26 January 2018||2018 Russian Junior Championships||Junior||3
|21–24 December 2017||2018 Russian Championships||Senior||4
|7–10 December 2017||2017–18 JGP Final||Junior||2
|11–14 October 2017||2017 JGP Italy||Junior||1
|4–7 October 2017||2017 JGP Poland||Junior||1
|1–5 February 2017||2017 Russian Junior Championships||Junior||12
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