Russian figure skater Zagitova wins Olympic gold, Medvedeva grabs silver

Violet Powell
February 24, 2018

Technically, Russia did not win its first gold medal at these Winter Olympics on Friday. Kaetlyn Osmond, perhaps the most complete and athletic skater in the world, fought off an annoying case of the yips to put out a magnificent free skate after Zagitova and before Medvedeva.

Zagitova figured she'd move back her hometown of Izhevsk in the Ural Mountains and find a rink and coach there.

Asked about whether she would be sad not to hear the Russian anthem play, Zagitova avoided the issue. It was incredible from start to finish.

Medvedeva had a hard time explaining her emotions when she finished her free skate on the ice, her hands coming to her face, overcome with the feeling of...

Some find the beginning of Zagitova's routine - limited to spins, footwork and choreography - to be a tedious preamble. However, experts like Jackie Wong believe that the meaning of a "well-balanced" program is now lost in the figure skating world and in judging.

And, after a faultless performance, she burst into tears of joy, relieved to have nailed the landings which had caused havoc for other skaters in the final. She is so mentally tough. The IOC said it couldn't be confident they were clean. While judges found nothing to quibble with technically, they left room in her artistic marks for her fellow Russian, two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva, skating last, to overtake her. The only person she had to one-up was herself.

By the next Winter Olympics, she will be 22, a veritable veteran in a sport in which four of its five champions since Lipinski have been teenagers. The Canadians, seeking their fourth title in five Olympic Games, are pitted against Germany and are big favourites for a place in Sunday's showpiece final.

Lipinski on Osmond: "That is how you fight for an Olympic podium". It was all about putting it all together.

There are more parallels than age with Lipinski, who also upset an older and favored countrywoman Michelle Kwan in Nagano with a more technically demanding program after finishing behind her in prior competitions.

Weir on this year's competition: "It was the most heartbreakingly handsome ladies' competition that I've ever seen".

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A total of 4 venues will be hosting all these matches including Dubai , Sharjah, Lahore and Karachi. The ceremony kicked off with national anthem of Pakistan.

Many people who watched the women's free skate came away thinking that Medvedeva skated better.

"This was just emotion coming out", she told reporters. "What they will bring to the USA hopefully when they become age-eligible is we will see some little sprite coming through who can do everything the Russians and Japanese are (doing here)". Those three took the top spots, and Hanyu was a whirlwind who captured the gold by 10.95 points over his countryman.

Nagasu skated to "Miss Saigon" and just didn't have it this day. "It was a symphony of short track 500m specialty".

Enter the women's single figure skaters. Being able to hit that combination was crucial to Zagitova's routine, and to her gold medal win. But a gold medal is still a gold medal. What a capper to this night.

Some have argued that Zagitova was just playing the system to gain as many points as possible, with the bonus added in the back half.

"I'm happy I handled my nerves well. We had all the confidence in the world in our teammates".

Women's skating in the United States - once dominant - continues to edge toward irrelevance at major worldwide competitions. I was nervous. Usually I talk a lot. We are friends. We are girls, young girls. "I made history here by landing the first triple Axel for a United States lady at the Olympics so I think that is a big deal". And it's been nothing but that. As for pairs, the US hasn't been in the medal conversation in years.

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While Medvedeva transformed into a tragic Russian heroine, Zagitova pranced around in a flamenco-red party costume with a carefree lightness. It is not like you are cutting through the tape, or neck-and-neck with your competitor. "There is calmness with that". One guesses she will be tormented for days, if not weeks, thinking about whether there was one slight adjustment that could have made the difference. "It is incredible to have this amount of poise on the ice already".

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