Russian athletes shine on day 15 in PyeongChang

Chelsea West
February 23, 2018

Alina Zagitova or Evgenia Medvedeva will nearly certainly take gold in one of the Winter Games marquee events after they went 1-2 in the women's short program Wednesday with the highest scores ever.

The two Russians early on February 21 stood in first and second place in the still-ongoing competition for the gold and silver medals in women's figure skating at the Winter Games in South Korea.

Alina Zagitova, a 15-year-old skating prodigy, set a huge score of 82.92 at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, 1.31 points clear of Medvedeva's short-lived world record.

Nagasu won a bronze medal already in PyeongChang as part of the team event, where contributed her free skate and became the first USA woman to land a triple Axel on Olympic ice.

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

"I've said many many times, Evgenia and me are very good friends off the ice but in practice or competition I get this feeling of rivalry, it's not bad or negative or malicious feeling of rivalry but it is there". "My main goal is to show a clean free skate and to be satisfied with performance inside", the 18-year-old continued. "It was a special sort of challenge for me and I'm excited for [the free skate]".

In 2018 Zagitova began to step out of the shadow of teammate and motivator Evgenia Medvedeva.

The two skaters are set to fight it out for what could be the first gold of the Games for the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation - who are competing as neutrals, after Russian Federation were banned for doping. She's been seen awaiting scores while holding a plush toy of Luna, Sailor Moon's cat and companion. After all, she'd come so close in Vancouver, at 16, placing fourth in one of the most competitive women's fields ever. Nagasu was ninth, with Chen 10th and Tennell 11th.

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"But on the ice, we must fight, I feel like it's a little war, when you skate you are alone", added the double world champion.

"During the 2014 Olympics, I was only 14 years old and I remember the moment when our Russian team became gold medalists".

Both Zagitova and Medvedeva are already medalists in PyeongChang, capturing silver for their contributions to the team event. Zagitova won December's Grand Prix Final with Medvedeva's withdrawal from the event.

Sakamoto displayed her incredible fortitude with a fine skate to "Moonlight Sonata". No other female skater - not Zagitova, not Medvedeva - had gone fall-less this season.

"I was very happy when I saw the score, but I did not expect it", the girl from the Western Urals said. Chen made a mistake on her opening jump but recovered later to score 65.90 in the short program.

Americans Nagasu and Tennell wish their recent success could have carried over into the short program. After a flying camel spin, she tore off a triple flip/triple toe loop combo, a triple loop and a double axel, before ending with a combination spin. "It wasn't my best, but I am glad that I was the first one out there".

Karen Chen, the 2017 US national champion, made her Olympic debut with a self-choreographed program set to "On Golden Pond".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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