Female figure skaters representing two Caspian region countries made the top 15 list at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, which are underway in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Technically known as “Olympic Athletes from Russia,” the Caspian region’s largest nation bagged its first gold when 15 year old Alina Zagitova beat the two-time world champion and fellow Russian Evgenia Medvedeva, age 18. The bronze went to Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada, while figure skaters from the U.S. showed the worst results over the past 75 years.
“I felt joy and depletion at the same time,” Zagitova said on Friday, when the women’s skating event ended. “I realize that all my way has been passed not in vain, and [now] I will try to go on with the same spirit.”
After performing her four-minute balletic “Don Quixote” routine, Zagitova scored 156.65, for a total of 239.57 points, leaving behind Medvedeva who performed Tolstoy’s tragic Anna Karenina, with 238.26 points.
Meanwhile, some believe that Medvedeva, who broke her leg late last year, should have won gold.
“Zagitova was on it but didn’t give me any heart,” said Robin Cousins, who grabbed gold for the U.K. at the 1980 Winter Olympics men’s figure skating event.
“Medvedeva gave us everything. Yes, her jumps were tiny but they were pristine. Her performance was glorious. She was shocked and I think most of us are.”
Both figure skaters were allowed to compete as neutrals, as 169 athletes from, but not technically representing, Russia, due to a ban imposed by the International Olympic Committee after the doping scandal following the conclusion of the last winter Olympics, in Sochi.
Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva, age 18, ranked 12th, with a total of 177.12 points, having gained 118.30 points after performing in the free-skate program to Celine Dion’s “The Prayer.” She was one of 60 Kazakhstani athletes at this year’s games.
“I met all the terms as best I could,” she told Kazinform on Friday. “Except one fall, I tried not to make mistakes. This is the Olympic Games – the whole world is watching you, so I was worried a little. My main goal was to enter the Top 10 list.”
The XXIII Olympic Winter Games kicked off on February 9 and will wrap up on Sunday. Nearly 3,000 athletes from 90 countries are competing.