In one of the biggest shocks of this year’s Winter Olympics, 15-year-old Russian Alina Zagitova (pictured right) clinched the women’s figure skating gold ahead of her favoured compatriot Evgenia Medvedeva (left).
Technically, neither skater was competing for Russia, but as neutral ‘Olympic Athletes From Russia’ as a result of the nation’s doping ban. At the medal ceremony, the duo saw a five-ringed Olympic flag raised instead of the Russian flag, and heard the Olympic hymn played instead of the Russian anthem.
“It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are. People know who we are. Today, we proved ourselves here,” Medvedeva said.
Regardless of who she was competing for, 15-year-old Zagitova pulled off a huge upset to beat her training partner and friend Medvedeva to the gold medal with a score of 239.57 points.
Medvedeva took the silver medal with 238.26 points while Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada won the bronze with 231.02 points.
A year ago, Zagitova was the world junior champion, while Medvedeva was the senior world champion favored to win Olympic gold. But then Medvedeva broke a bone in her right foot, and the missed training time has ended up costing her dear.
Zagitova may not have displayed the elegance and grace of her more experienced compatriot, but the mathematical precision of her moves and keen understanding of the rules and scoring system more than made up for it.
“It’s life and it’s a lesson,” Medvedeva said. “Every year, every moment, every day, every week, every month, we must become stronger.”