Russian teenager Alina Zagitova edged compatriot Evgenia Medvedeva with a stunning free skate on Friday that earned the Olympic Athletes from Russia a first gold at the Pyeongchang Games.
The 15-year-old, who led Medvedeva by just over one point after a record-setting short programme, effortlessly executed every element of her jump-packed free skate, earning 156.65 points for the performance and 239.57 points overall.
Medvedeva, who trains with Zagitova under the same coaches, won silver with a spectacular skate that put her 1.31 points behind Zagitova in the overall score.
The training partners embraced after the competition, exchanging congratulations.
“I‘m very happy that I was able to win a medal for our team,” Zagitova told reporters. “I think this is only the beginning.
The performances of Zagitova and Medvedeva in Pyeongchang reasserted the dominance of Russian women figure skaters on the international stage, with third-placed Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond more than seven points behind Medvedeva on 231.02.
The Russian Olympic delegation in Pyeongchang last week said they were unhappy that Olympic gold had eluded Russian competitors in the first half of the Games, stressing it expected one of its female figure skaters to end the drought.
Russians in Pyeongchang are competing as neutrals, a penalty imposed over allegations that the nation had systematically manipulated anti-doping testing at the 2014 Sochi Games.
Some of Russia’s top athletes were not cleared to compete by the International Olympic Committee, IOC.