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Zagitova edges Medvedeva in Russian battle for figure skating gold

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Alina Zagitova edges Evgenia Medvedeva in Russian battle for figure skating gold

Image credit: Getty Images

ByMichael Hincks
23/02/2018 at 04:03 | Updated 23/02/2018 at 09:09
@MichaelHincks

Alina Zagitova edged compatriot Evgenia Medvedeva to become the women's figure skating champion and claim a first gold in Pyeongchang for the Olympic Athletes from Russia.

The OAR pair could not be separated in Friday’s free skate, though it was Zagitova’s superior short-program score which handed the 15-year-old gold at the expense of the two-time reigning world champion.

A valiant display from Kaetlyn Osmond saw the Canadian take bronze, though the seven-point difference between herself and second-placed Medvedeva highlighted the Russian duo’s dominance on the ice.

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Alina Zagitova edges Evgenia Medvedeva in Russian battle for figure skating gold

Image credit: Getty Images

The stunning showdown between Zagitova and Medvedeva began on Wednesday, where the short-program world record was broken twice.

Medvedeva had initially claimed it with an 81.61, but it soon belonged to Zagitova when she posted 82.92 barely 15 minutes later.

It meant Zagitova had a slender lead of 1.31 points going into Friday’s free skate, and she was able to put the pressure on her team-mate when going out third last – with Osmond sandwiched between the duo as the penultimate skater, having scored 78.87 with her short-program routine.

Zagitova and Medvedeva both scored 156.65 in the free skate

Image credit: Getty Images

Zagitova’s 156.65 in the free skate saw her total 239.57, laying down the score to beat for the final two skaters.

As expected, Osmond’s 152.15 saw her slot into second, and quite staggeringly, Medvedeva went on to score an identical 156.65 to finish with the silver medal.

The points difference from the short program ultimately handed gold to Zagitova, who became the second youngest figure skating champion after American Tara Lipinski in 1998.

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