Zagitova wins Olympic figure skating gold, Russia's first

Michele Moreno
February 24, 2018

Alina Zagitova delivered the first gold medal of these Winter Games for the delegation of 168 Russian athletes. At a medal ceremony later Friday, she was to see the five-ringed Olympic flag raised instead of the Russian flag and to hear the Olympic hymn played instead of the Russian anthem. Almost 3,000 athletes from 90 countries are competing.

Skating to Don Quixote by composer Leon Minkus in a flashy red tutu, Zagitova held on for her opening jump, a triple Lutz, and went on to land another six triple jumps, scoring a combined 239.57 points. "Today, we proved ourselves here".

Zagitova became the second-youngest women's skater to win Olympic gold with a program of shrewd design, remarkable stamina, precise jumping and youthful certainty. So she told Zagitova to leave. Her 15-year-old countrywoman who can do five triples jumps in a row (exhibited on the day before the ladies' free skate on Olympic ice) and seems as unflappable as the tutu she wore, one with a hardened, sturdy brim and nearly looks to be sharp to the touch. When fractures were discovered in Medvedeva's foot bones last November, the window of opportunity opened ever so slightly for Zagitova, and she dove through like a circus lion through a ring of fire.

Earlier, at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, Medvedeva and Zagitova were silver winners in team competitions.

Zagitova didn't perform a jump until two minutes had elapsed, which enabled her to backload her program with seven triple jumps that earned bonus points for coming so late, when her legs should have been exhausted.

"I knew I had no right to make a mistake", said Zagitova, whose majesty led to a 1.31-point victory over the two-time reigning world champion. But we actually saw an American version of this moment of truth 20 years ago, and the outcome was nearly exactly the same.

15 year old Alina Zagitova won the women's figure skating competition to claim a first gold medal of the Games for the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation.

Medvedeva, Zagitova and Osmand. Stangely enough, she spent the first year of her existence without a first name. But now she skates with a seriousness of goal and a whispery inevitability. In practice this week, she reeled off a five-triple combination.

"Going into the Olympic Games, my mom said, 'This is your Olympics-you really don't know what's going to happen in four years". It involved athletes from 92 countries will compete for a record for winter Games medals - 102 kit.

Olympic champion Alina Zagitova is a marvel. "What sets her apart is she has this fearlessness and the technical brilliance". However, with her physical abilities and determination, she could have become a good pair skater, I think. There was no silver lining, however, for the United States.

Their showing here - with 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Champion Bradie Tennell finishing ninth; 18-year-old Karen Chen, 10th; and Nagasu, 11th - suggests that a resurgence isn't at hand. The country's women last won a figure skating medal in 2006.

The U.S. still hasn't figured that out, despite a rich figure skating history that includes memorable Olympic names like Dorothy Hamill and Peggy Flaming. But he says it could take almost a decade before the US starts seeing results in its senior skaters. Missed the action from Day 14 of the Pyeongchang Games?

The Russians were behind, too, once. All three of the eventual medalists participated in the team event, and still managed to stay focused, disciplined and clinical when the time came. "My main goal was to enter the Top 10 list". And it's the second consecutive Olympics a Russian woman has taken gold.

Russian Federation is not without its own issues, including the health of its young stars.

Olympic Ice analyst Tanith White: "Even though you are aware of the competition, when it comes time to do your job, you are up there by yourself". Be that as it may, Medvedeva is still in position to win the gold medal when free skating performances commence tonight.

But it is a concern for another day.

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