GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AFP) – Teenage figure skater Alina Zagitova prevailed in her duel with Evgenia Medvedeva to claim Russia’s first gold medal at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Friday.
The 15-year-old took the women’s title for the Olympic Athletes from Russia by a slender margin of just 1.31 points from her friend, compatriot, training partner and arch rival.
In bronze came Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond.
“I can’t believe I’m the champion. It’ll take some time to sink in,” said Zagitova, who beat two-time world champion Medvedeva despite both scoring matching 156.65 points in the free-skating Friday
“I’m happy I handled my nerves well. My hands were shaking but my body did everything that I trained for,” she added.
Zagitova’s world record short program score of 82.92 just 48 hours earlier made the difference, giving her a combined total of 239.57.
Medvedeva, skating last, was not at her supreme best, and crumpled into the arms of her coach in tears after her routine to Anna Karenina gave her a combined score of 238.26.
Medvedeva, who broke her foot and was sidelined for two months from October, was unable to finish a television interview she was so distraught.
An Olympic official followed her round with a box of tissues.
“I didn’t think and I don’t want to think about my injury,’’ she said.
“I don’t want to look back. I did great work today and did my best.’’
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