Russian teen Lipnitskaia struggling with pressure

MOSCOW (AP) Russian figure skater Julia Lipnitskaia's rapid rise to fame at the Sochi Olympics has turned her life into ''constant stress.''

Lipnitskaia won Olympic team gold with Russia in February when she was only 15, becoming the youngest figure skating gold medalist in 78 years and earning personal praise from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Lipnitskaia, now 16 and one of Russia's best known sports stars, said in comments on the Russian skating federation website that it was hard to live up to the expectations of her fans after her Olympic success. She said her life now has ''no freedom at all.''

''Whatever you do, everything is interpreted the wrong way and then has to be justified,'' Lipnitskaia said. ''It's not life, it's constant stress.

''I'm a person like everyone else. I try to work on the things people expect of me, but I can't live up to everyone's desires and whims.''

Lipnitskaia has not won a competition since her Olympic team gold, including finishing a surprise fifth in the individual Olympic event as Russian teammate Adelina Sotnikova won gold.

After finishing second at last week's Cup of China, she called the performance the worst skate of her life and missed the award ceremony. Lipnitskaia said she had been so stressed after an error-strewn free skate that she forgot to attend.

''I was very upset after skating the free program poorly,'' Lipnitskaia said, adding that she had gone to her hotel room to relax.

She said she hurried to the rink after receiving a call from organizers, but was too late to attend the ceremony.

The gold was won by Russian teammate Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

Lipnitskaia will next compete at the Trophee Bompard in Bordeaux, a Grand Prix event, starting Nov. 21.

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