Alina Zagitova stuns Medvedeva for gold
GANGNEUNG – Agence France-Presse
The 15-year-old starlet from the Western Urals seduced the judges with her flawless routine to Black Swan, earning 82.92 points to lead the competition.
Zagitova shaded double world champion Medvedeva, 18, who just minutes earlier had broken the record she had set last week in the team event with a score of 81.61.
Zagitova’s flawless two-and-a-half minutes on the ice at the Gangneung Arena, featuring a triple lutz, triple toeloop combination, gave her a narrow advantage of 1.31 points going into tomorrow’s free dance final.
The two skaters are set to fight it out for what could be the first gold of the Games for the Olympic Athletes from Russia -- who are competing as neutrals, after Russia were banned for doping.
Placed third after the short program is Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond on 78.87, with Japan’s Satoko Miyahara in fourth.
Zagitova has swept all before her in her first senior season, arriving in South Korea unbeaten in her four competitions, culminating in depriving Medvedeva of her European title in Moscow last month.
Medvedeva holds the world record for the free dance and combined, but the Muscovite knows she will have a herculean fight on her hands to deny Zagitova.
Medvedeva was beaten six points by Zagitova at the European Championships, the first time the pair had skated against each other in
But Medveda was also making her comeback in the Russian capital after a two-month hiatus recovering from a broken foot.
In her enforced absence Zagitova had stolen the skating spotlight, and on this form she may well do so again as she attempts to become the second youngest ladies Olympic skate champion behind American Tara Lipinski, who won the 1998 gold medal aged 15 years, eight months and 10 days.