The European Figure Skating Championships in Finland saw a rather eventful opening ceremony, featuring the world’s first transgender figure skater, Minna-Maaria Antikainen. Antikainen suffered a spectacular fall during her solo act.
Despite only picking up the sport at the age of 49, Antikainen, a former Finnish male skater and now a gender-neutral woman, was recruited by the Finnish Figure Skating Association to promote diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Video of The Fall went viral
Nerves got the best of Antikainen, and within seconds of starting the performance, the amateur skater stumbled and fell to the ground, needing assistance to get back up. Thankfully, a female hostess carrying the Finnish flag came to the rescue and helped her get back on her feet.
Antikainen had started figure skating to fulfill a childhood dream of being an ‘ice princess’, according to ‘pro-woman, pro-child safeguarding platform’ Reduxx Magazine. Prior to the disastrous performance, Antikainen practiced on ice for five hours a week and had previously been involved in several competitions both in their homeland and abroad, as reported by Skating Finland.
The Promotion of Diversity and Equity
The Finnish Figure Skating Association recruited Antikainen to promote diversity and equity in figure skating, a sport that is considered to be conservative with strict rules. Currently, there is no category for non-binary skaters, and same-sex skating pairs are not allowed in international competitions.
The ISU European Figure Skating Championships’ opening ceremony drew its inspiration from the event’s theme ‘Just be you’, promoting the importance of equality and diversity in figure skating. Outi Wuorenheimo, Executive Director of the Finnish Figure Skating Association, hopes that every country will start working towards equality and diversity in the field.
Despite the fall, Antikainen’s participation in the European Figure Skating Championships’ opening ceremony sends a powerful message of promoting diversity, equality, and inclusion in figure skating. It also highlights the need for more inclusivity and acceptance of all genders in sports.
Since 2014, Benny A. King has been fully immersed in the world of combat sports. Starting with a blog about Greco Roman wrestling, Benny’s passion for combat sports has led him to explore various disciplines.