Russia’s Anna Scherbakova is among eight athletes shortlisted for the International Skating Union’s Most Valuable Skater award for 2022 ©ISU

Russia’s Anna Shcherbakova is among eight athletes shortlisted for the International Skating Union’s (ISU) Most Valuable Skater award for 2022.

The 18-year-old from Moscow followed up her women’s singles victory at the 2021 World Championships by taking gold at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics ahead of her contemporary and fellow Russian Alexandra Trusova.

The men’s Olympic champion, 23-year-old Nathan Chen of the United States, is also on the list of eight candidates for an award that will be given out at the ISU Skating Awards 2023 ceremony.

Half of the contenders are from Japan, namely Yuma Kagiyama, the 19-year-old world and Olympic men’s singles silver medallist, Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara, world silver medallists in the pairs and Olympic bronze medallists in the team event, Shoma Uno, Olympic men’s singles bronze medallist and recent winner of the Grand Prix Final in Turin, and Kaori Sakamoto, women’s individual world champion and Olympic bronze medallist.

Others in the frame are the French ice dance pairing of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, Olympic and world champions, and China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han, the Olympic pairs champions.

In June Russia's 2002 Olympic figure skating gold medallist Alexei Yagudin accused the ISU of being "politically motivated" for omitting his compatriot and Beijing 2022 champion Anna Shcherbakova from a collage of photos put together for Olympic Day.

The ISU posted pictures of the gold medallists from the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, but Shcherbakova's spot was replaced by Japanese bronze medallist Kaori Sakamoto.

"This is politics on their part," said Yagudin to Russia's official state news agency TASS.

"Lately I have been saying very often that sport has turned into another such political platform, and a lot of what happens in politics affects many decisions.

"But even a fool understands here that when you have three Olympic champions in three disciplines, and there are ours - and she is not, then this is a shame.

"You can use different epithets, but this is some kind of nonsense, it's even funny that they did that."

Russian and Belarusian athletes are currently banned from international competition following the invasion of Ukraine, which breached the Olympic Truce.

The Most Valuable Skater award honours the single skater or pair or ice dance couple who best promoted figure skating this year through success on the ice creating media and social media attention and engagement.

The public and the media can cast their votes from December 15 to 31 via the ISU's online voting platform.

The winner will be announced as part of the ISU Awards 2023, with accolades also set to be handed out in the Best Costume, Most Entertaining Programme, Best Newcomer, Best Choreographer and Best Coach categories.