Marcha 23, 2018

What's the secret to the Russian women's figure skating success?

23 Febrero 2018, 09:50 | Benedicto Grullon

WADA Officers Disrupt Russian Figure Skater's Training Session in Pyeongchang Sputnik Alexander Vilf

Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova performing her free program during the women's team figure skating competition at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang

She went on to eclipse the world record set minutes earlier by her rival, earning an astounding 89.92 for first place going into Thursday's free skate.

The new figure skating short program world record holder Alina Zagitova once nearly transitioned to pair's skating.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada won bronze.

Miyahara cleanly landed all of her 11 jumps and was flawless the rest of the way.

Sakamoto displayed her incredible fortitude with a fine skate to "Moonlight Sonata".

Chen was clutch at last year's worlds, finishing fourth to help the US get three Olympic spots.

Alina Zagitova's a champion figure skater who on the verge of winning gold at the Winter Olympics.

That Russian gold medal drought at the Pyeongchang Olympics is closer to ending.

The only Olympic veteran in the group also has a national title: In 2008, Mirai Nagasu, then 14, became the second-youngest US champion (after Tara Lipinski) in history.

Medvedeva is a former World Junior Champion, European Champion, and World Champion. Russia, as "Olympic Athletes from Russia", has yet to win a single gold in Pyeongchang but has run afoul of the drug testers, with curler Aleksandr Krushelnitsky testing positive for a banned substance and stripped of his bronze. The third-best Russian skater could very well prove to be the third-best skater at the Olympics.

"I didn't feel competition, I felt I didn't have the right to a mistake", she said. "It's not a secret for anyone that I have the most hard program in the world".

In that vein, it was at the ISU World Team Trophy event in Tokyo previous year where she revealed to the world her other great passion is a love for Japanese anime, and Sailor Moon in particular.

"I won. Honestly, my hands are shaking, because I haven't understood yet that I am an Olympic champion", said Zagitova, who recovered nicely from a blip on her first planned combination jump at Gangneung Ice Arena.

"I'm trying not to think about medals", Medvedeva said.

Her poise on the ice and off - unlike numerous other competitors, no tears flowed from Zagitova - belied her years.

BEST COSTUMING | Though there was no shortage of stunning (and bedazzled!) costumes on the ice during the free skate, my vote for Fiercest Outfits goes to commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who were appropriately decked out in head-to-toe gold for the medal event.

Now, she heads home with Olympic gold, the first for the Russians at the Pyeongchang Olympics. "Here, I feel so much more mature, so much more in control and to be able to put a program like that is always much better than it was four years ago". She showed everyone why by setting a world record with 81.61 points.

Like Medvedeva, Zagitova followed her own course. "I was a little upset after the team event short program, but to come out here, not long afterwards and do this program and do a personal best and season's best it's really important to me", the 22-year-old shared.

Americans Nagasu and Tennell wish their recent success could have carried over into the short program.

As she finished her skate and awaited her score, Tennell looked relieved, proud, and happy.

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