At the opening ceremony of the European Figure Skating Championships in Finland, the world’s first transgender figure skater made a huge mistake.
The former Finnish male skater, Markku-Pekka Antikainen, now known by the female name Minna-Maaria Antikainen, made a spectacular fall during their debut in the international skating world as the first transgender figure skater.
Antikainen is a very unconventional skater. Not only are they the world’s first transgender skater to compete on an international scale, but they also only picked up the sport at the age of forty-nine, making them a very late entrant into the competitive landscape of figure skating.
The trans skater operates a farm in Siilinjarvi, Finland, while not competing on the ice. They were given the privilege of a solo act during the opening ceremony by the Finnish Figure Skating Association. The organization wanted the transgender skater to take to the ice to show their support of diversity, equality, and inclusion – but Antikainen made a spectacular fall during their international skating debut.
For the last eight years, Antikainen has been training on the ice to become an international transgender figure skating star. However, they were met with an unexpected batch of nerves during their debut performance for the Finnish Figure Skating Association.
The trans figure skater, who is believed to identify as a gender-neutral woman, revealed that they were still off the mark from professional ice skating when they stumbled near the beginning of their routine, falling off their skates onto the ice.
The transgender skater’s spectacular fall happened just seconds into their performance on the international figure skating stage. Thankfully, the transgender skater was rescued by a female hostess who was carrying the Finnish flag. This person assisted Antikainen and helped them get back on their feet to continue with the performance that their mistake completely derailed.
Prior to their international debut, Antikainen practiced for five hours each week. They were previously involved in other competitive skating events both in their homeland of Finland and abroad, according to Skating Finland.
The opening ceremony of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships focused on the theme of “Just be you.” Because of their theme, they wanted to feature the transgender skater to showcase their commitment to diversity and inclusion on the ice.
Meanwhile, “same-sex pairs” continue to be banned from the sport of figure skating.
“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,” said Outi Wuorenheimo, Executive Director of the Finnish Figure Skating Association. “I hope that every country will start working for equality and diversity in the field.”
This year’s ISU European Figure Skating Championships were held from January 25 to January 29, 2023.
In the video below, you’ll see the first forty-five seconds of the transgender skater’s routine. They fall to the ice within seconds of starting their solo performance in front of the large audience in attendance.