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U.S. women's figure skating struggling to generate interest

23 February, 2018, 02:15 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Here's What You Need to Know Before Watching Women's Figure Skating Tonight

The most nail-biting story of this Winter Olympics features two teenage girls from Russian Federation: 18-year-old Evgenia Medvedeva, the greatest female figure skater on the planet now competing, and 15-year-old Alina Zagitova, the teammate who's come to usurp her throne. The first-ever Russian gold medal in ladies' figure skating wasn't captured until Sochi 2014, when Adelina Sotnikova pulled off the feat. But she looked sharp in the team event, earlier in the Games, getting comfortably the top score in the short program. She was beaten for the first time in two years at the European championships, when she finished second to Zagitova, her training partner.

When Alina Zagitova takes the ice for the women's free skate here on Friday, she will perform a program that some in the sport consider radical: all of her jumps are in the second half of her skate. At the team event, she was chosen for the free skate and crushed the field, miles ahead of the heralded performance of Mirai Nagasu of the United States.

"Today wasn't my day, but my triple triple was still pretty good so I'm happy about that", Nagasu 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 a special sort of challenge for me and I'm excited for [the free skate]".

The two skaters are set to fight it out for what could be the first gold of the Games for the Olympic Athletes from Russian Federation - who are competing as neutrals, after Russian Federation were banned for doping. The U.S. Figure Skating Association banned her for life after her motley crew of hangers-on bashed Nancy Kerrigan's knee in 1994, launching one of the most freakish sports stories ever.

It's hard to say which is more impressive: setting a world record or watching a skater's teammate steal their thunder minutes later. She went nameless for almost a year until her parents named her after Olympic rhythmic gymnast champion Alina Kabaeva, now reportedly Vladimir Putin's partner.


Medvedeva, who trains with Zagitova under star Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze in Moscow, said she felt tense during the team event last week. Zagitova won December's Grand Prix Final with Medvedeva's withdrawal from the event. This is Zagitova's first season competing as a senior (or elite-level) skater.

Americans Nagasu and Tennell wish their recent success could have carried over into the short program.

"I think it's just that each of us have been through so many experiences and ups and downs". The rest of the program was clean, however, and she tallied 64.01 points for 11th place.

Tennell, the 2018 USA national champion, skated first to open up the ladies' short program event. Chen put a hand down on her triple lutz and couldn't finish a combination jump. "It wasn't my best, but I am glad that I was the first one out there".

"Elegant and secure jumps were great", the legend wrote after Sakamoto finished her program. Daleman had also struggled with her free program in the fall and elected to go back to her successful Rhapsody in Blue program that helped her take the world bronze medal previous year.

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