Ladies Podium ©AFP
European Champion Alina Zagitova (OAR) edged teammate and two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva (OAR) to claim the Olympic gold medal at Gangneung Ice Arena on Friday. World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada earned the bronze in what was a very competitive event.
Performing to ‘Don Quixote’ and dressed in a red tutu, Zagitova reeled off seven triple jumps including her trademark triple Lutz-triple toeloop combination as well as level-four spins and footwork to score 156.65 points. Overall she racked up 239.57 points. However, the 15-year-old did not feel that it was the perfect performance. “I would give me a four with a little plus (out of five) for my performance, because I didn't do the first jump combination (triple Lutz-triple loop), but I did it later,” the European Champion noted. “I didn't feel the competition, but that I don't have any room for errors. That was a motivation and anxiety at the same time. My hands were shaking, but my body remembered what I've been doing many times in practice," Zagitova explained.
At 15 years and 281 days old, the Russian is the second-youngest Olympic Ladies gold medalist, after Tara Lipinski (USA) who was 15 years and 255 days old when she won at Nagano 1998.
Alina Zagitova (OAR) ©Getty Images
Skating last, Medvedeva put out an emotional performance to the ‘Anna Karenina’ soundtrack by Dario Marianelli and landed seven triple jumps as well, but Zagitova still had the higher technical score as she performed a triple Lutz-triple loop combination and had all jumps in the second half of the program, which is rewarded by a bonus.
Medvedeva scored 156.65 points for the Free Skating, exactly the same as Zagitova, but was ranked first in free skating because of the higher component score. Medvedeva’s total of 238.26 points was not enough to overtake Zagitova, though and she remained in second place, 1.31 points behind.
Evgenia Medvedeva (OAR) ©AFP
"I felt today in my program really like Anna Karenina in the movie. I put everything out there that I had, I left everything on the ice. I have no regrets," Medvedeva shared. “This was my mindset going out - not to leave anything on the table. I didn't think about errors, nor about a clean skate. Honestly, I skated like in a fog, for the first time. It is because I realize that I am enjoying the process, these four minutes are historical and they only belong to me and the whole world is watching only me for those four minutes," she 18-year-old continued.
Osmond’s dramatic routine to ‘Black Swan’ featured six clean triples, she only stepped out of the triple Lutz. The World silver medalist set a new personal best of 152.15 points in the Free Skating which added up to 231.02 points overall. "All day I was terrified, I was so nervous, but it is a program I feel super comfortable with in practice and I was so ready to show it in competition, that's exactly what I felt," Osmond commented.
Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) ©AFP
Satoko Miyahara (JPN) delivered an excellent performance to ‘Madame Butterfly’ as well to place fourth on 222.38 points. "Standing on the Olympic (ice), I wanted to devote every effort to what I've worked towards for four years. It (the experience) was beyond imagination. I fully enjoyed my performance, and being able to reflect myself. It was a priceless moment” the Japanese Champion noted.
Sochi 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner (ITA) landed five triples but stumbled on a triple flip. She came fifth with 212.44 points. “The big difference is that I truly enjoyed it. I know that I have gone such a long way since the first Olympic Games. The goal was to live it in a positive way and it was all the way through,” said Kostner, who competed in her fourth Olympic Winter Games. "I am really, really proud that I pushed through. I hope that this can be of help and (be an) inspiration for others that struggle, that look for some inspiration. For me it was totally worth it and I am so happy."
2018 Four Continents Champion Kaori Sakamoto (JPN) finished sixth (209.71 points) and Dabin Choi (KOR) was seventh (199.26 points).
The Figure Skating events at PyeongChang 2018 conclude with the Exhibition Gala on Sunday.