BREAKING: Finland showcases 59-year-old trans-identified figure skater, former farmer at European Figure Skating Championships

Antikainen needs the help of a younger woman to be assisted up from the ice, and leans hard on the Finnish flag the young woman holds before taking that flag and skating off into the spotlight.

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
Figure skater and trans-identified biological male Minna-Maaria Antikainen gave a debut performance at the European Figure Skating Championships in Espoo, Finland. That ceremony sees female figure skaters holding national flags while Antikainen, wobbling on white skates and with arms outstretched, skates a solo on the ice amid the girls who stand by and watch. 

Antikainen then stumbles and falls, and is unable to get back up off the ice until the skater carrying the flag of Finland comes to the center of the ice, helps Antikainen up, and hands the inept trans skater the national blue and white flag.

Antikainen needs the help of a younger woman to be assisted up from the ice, and leans hard on the Finnish flag the young woman holds before taking that flag and skating off into the spotlight while the young woman becomes another face in the shadows.

"The opening ceremony will present skaters at various levels from non-professionals to top athletes. On the ice, we will see Single Skaters, Synchronized Skaters, and Pairs. Included among the performers are Figure Skater Minna-Maaria Antikainen, who defines herself as a gender-neutral woman, adaptive skating performers, and a male synchronized skating team," said coach Helena Tienhaara.

“With the diverse group of performers, we want to show that the ice has space for everyone," choreographer and coach Beata Leppilampi said.

The Championships, running from January 25-29, saw Antikainen give an opening skate to mixed reviews from fans and critics.

An old video, unearthed by Nilsen Report, shows Antikainen leearning ballet in toe-shoes while wearing women's clothes before going out on the ice dressed as some kind of Brunhilda. The video, posted three years ago, indicates that there has been little improvement in Antikainen's skill level

The ISU European Figure Skating Championships claims that their opening ceremony, of which Antikainen was a part, was based on the theme "Just be you." They state that the "Finnish Figure Skating Association promotes the importance of equality and diversity and develops skating according to its values."

Antikainen, who transitioned to presenting as female from male, now uses both male and female pronouns, and identifies as a "gender neutral woman." Antikainen is 59 and was previously a farmer.

Antikainen had a "childhood dream" to become a professional figure skater, though this performance does not indicate that, were it not for the new, much lauded transgender status, there would have been any hope of achieveing that dream.

Executive Director of the Finnish Figure Skating Association and Secretary General of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships Outi Wuorenheimo praised the gender diversity shown in the opening ceremony, saying:

"Figure skating is a very conservative sport with various strict rules. In international competitions, same-sex skating pairs are not allowed, and there is no category for non-binary skaters. I hope that every country will start working for equality and diversity in the field."

That diversity, apparently, includes males who pose as women and cannot skate.

"We want to change the figure skating world by showing that talking about a skater’s weight is not the top priority, but muscular, healthy athletes may also succeed at the top level. It is important that we have different-looking skaters of various sizes in the competitions," Wuorenheimo continued.

In her view, figure skating is often perceived as elitist, and having a trans-identifed male who presents as female and wobbles on the ice can assuage those feelings that the sport is not for everyone.

Recent years have seen the emergence of trans-identified males infiltrating women's sports. Trans-identified Laurel Hubbard, a weight-lifter who represented New Zealand at the Olympics though did not place, achieved "Sportswoman of the Year."

Trans-identified college swimmer Lia Thomas represented UPenn at the level of national competition and made away with trophies, titles and records. Thomas was nominated by UPenn to be NCAA Woman of the Year, though backlash against a male being nominated for that honor previously reserved for women athletes was fierce.

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