Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Russia's Zagitova beats Medvedeva's short program world record at Olympics

Russia's Zagitova beats Medvedeva's short program world record at Olympics

It put the Russians top of the standings ahead of Friday's free skate, where Zagitova will attempt to become the youngest women's singles figure skating champion since Tara Lipinski in 1998.They also look set to win the first gold of the Games for the Olympic Athletes from Russia, who are competing as neutrals after Russia's national team was banned over a major doping scandal.

With the gold medal on the line, the women take to the ice in the final figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Medvedeva, the 2016 and 2017 world champion, undefeated for two years until late January, had finished her Olympic short program 15 minutes earlier. It also set the ISU best scores in short program, free skate and total score during the event.

Medvedeva, 18, was unbeaten from December 2015 through this past fall, winning 10 worldwide titles including the 2016 and 2017 World Championships, leaving many to believe she was indeed "undefeatable" in the Olympic Games women's competition, which opens with the short program Wednesday (Tuesday on the West Coast).

Minutes later, her younger teammate and training partner Alina Zagitova skated a damn-near-flawless program and earned 82.92 points.

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Craine will skate for a Winter Olympic medal on Friday after scoring 56.77 for a routine in which she pulled off a triple loop to double toe loop and an impressive layback spin. "It was not my best, but it was OK", she said.

If Zagitova holds on in the free skate, Medvedeva's recent dominance may be remembered, at least in Olympic terms, as a case of bad timing. It was very special and on this dynamic stage and I am happy to skate here.

And again the Russian fans rocked back and forth, this time chanting Zagitova's name. In 2014, Adelina Sotnikova won the Olympics without any prior world championships or Olympic medals. She scored a personal best. The 2010 Winter Games marked the first time since 1964 that a US woman was not on the Olympic podium.

On paper, Zagitova has more potential points in her programs due to a decision to move all her jumps to the second half of her program.

Experience is worth its weight in gold at the Olympics, and Italy's Kostner has plenty of it. Pyeongchang is the 31-year-old's fourth Olympics, and she's ready to defend her bronze medal from Sochi. The OAR will face the Czech Republic, which eliminated the USA from reaching a medal round for the first time since 2008.

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Osmond is a terrific short program skater and her Black Swan long program is exquisite. She'll have to find a way to lay down two flawless programs to make the podium. No other female skater - not Zagitova, not Medvedeva - had gone fall-less this season. She continues to up her scores. "I'm trying not to think about medals".

How good are her jumps?

"I'm not one of those women who can stop a horse at a gallop and enter the burning house", she told a Russian skating magazine.

Five triple loops, just because she could.

For more in-depth coverage of the ladies' short program, check out Olympic Ice featuring analysts Kristi Yamaguchi, Charlie White and Ben Agosto.

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