Russian teenager Zagitova wins gold in Pyeongchang

Frederick Owens
February 24, 2018

Gangneung: Teenage figure skater Alina Zagitova prevailed in her duel with Evgenia Medvedeva to become the first Russian to win a gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics, here Friday.

Gold medalist Alina Zagitova, left, of the Olympic Athletes of Russian Federation and compatriot and silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva, right, are embraced by coach Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze at the women's free figure skating final. Zagitova's combined score from the women's free skate and short program was 239.57, which beat Medvedeva's combined 238.26 by 1.31 points - a small margin that was basically determined by the short program earlier this week.

Reigning world champion Evgenia Medvedeva scored a world record 81.61 in the short programme on Wednesday, only for Zagitova to better her score moments later. Sergeyeva's positive test also came on a day when the Russians reached the men's ice hockey final by beating the Czech Republic 3-0 - with goaltender Vasili Koshechkin making a game-winning 31 saves. "I will try to continue with the same momentum".

Australia's Kailani Craine finished 17th, scoring 111.84 to add to her 56.77 from the short program. Curler Alexander Krushelnitsky and his wife, Anastasia Bryzgalova, won bronze in mixed doubles, but gave up the medal Thursday after Krushelnitsky failed a doping test. "I can't believe I'm the champion", said Zagitova, who is still in her debut season on the senior circuit.

And 16 years will have passed since an American woman won an Olympic medal of any color, with Sasha Cohen earning silver at the 2006 Turin Games.

The 15-year-old Olympic Athlete from Russian Federation became the second-youngest women's Olympic champion ever with the victory.

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After an opening loss to Slovakia caused many to declare the men's tournament "wide open", the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation have firmly reestablished themselves as gold-medal favorites.

"I'm very happy that I was able to win a medal for our team", Zagitova told a media conference. She began with a triple loop, then landed a nice triple lutz/triple toe loop combo, followed by a triple flip. In fact, it was the worst outing by USA ladies at the Olympics ever, with none of them finishing inside the top eight. "I think this is only the beginning". And even though we couldn't see Gannon's face when he realized that Medvedeva had only managed the silver, I can imagine his jaw was on the floor, mirroring every other viewer watching from home.

The top three women standing on the podium demonstrated that if you want an Olympic medal, you are going to have to earn it.

Phelan said that sharing the podium with her closest friend "couldn't have worked out any better".

Weir on Medvedeva prior to the ladies" free skate: "To quote Elizabeth Taylor, "Now is the time for guts and guile.' Yevgenia Medvedeva has been the gold standard of FIGURE SKATING for two whole years, which is pretty much unheard of". But the 18-year-old said she had been satisfied with how she had skated. "I felt strong and in the best shape of my entire life".

Americans Bradie Tennell, Mirai Nagasu and Karen Chen are unlikely to medal after struggling in their short programs. It is because I realize that I am enjoying the process, these four minutes are historical and they only belong to me.

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