Return to IOC fold gets tougher after bobsleigh pilot tests positive on a day Zagitova, 15, bags fi rst gold for Olympic Athletes of Russia Afresh Russian doping case overshadowed the team's first gold medal at the Pyeongchang Winter Games and could lower the country's chances of an early return to the Olympic fold.
Following are comments from play-by-play commentator Terry Gannon and analysts Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on the three medal winners following tonight's ladies' free skate - Alina Zagitova (gold), Yevgenia Medvedeva (silver), and Kaetlyn Osmond (bronze). After a short program that saw Evgenia Medvedeva, 18, set a world record that Alina Zagitova, 15, would break fifteen minutes later, all eyes were on these two Olympic athletes from Russian Federation. Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, the women's gold and silver medalists, train together alongside many younger skaters, who force them to stay sharp.
Osmond admitted she wasn't even sure if she would be participating in the Pyeongchang Games. "Except one fall, I tried not to make mistakes".
After Osmond was unable to leapfrog Zagitova, the first OAR gold medal was confirmed as Medvedeva was the last to compete. I was calmer in the short program, because I understood I had no room for error and I have to skate clean.
"She was literally a junior past year; it's even hard for me to understand that", Lipinski said of Zagitova.
While the OAR (and the greater Russian figure skating juggernaut) can bask in this 1-2 punch in the ladies' event, it was a vastly frustrating one for the US women.
Zagitova and Medvedeva are two of 169 Russian athletes who are allowed to compete as neutrals under the OAR team banner at the Games despite Russia being banned from competing.
Her answers at the podium press conference were as concise as her movements on the ice: "I was very nervous during the short program", she said.
A while back when thoughts of Olympic glory were a distant dream, Zagitova's coach, Eteri Tutberidze, sent her packing over her poor attitude. In fact, it was the worst outing by USA ladies at the Olympics ever, with none of them finishing inside the top eight. "I think she knows in a confident way that she's the best".
By the time the final group of figure skaters took the ice at Gangneung Ice Arena, things had been pretty much decided.
"That really gave me a lot of pressure, feeling like, well this seems like a huge mountain to climb. I'm disappointed with the result but I did the best I could and that will put me in good stead for the next competition".
The 18-year-old, always been considered the overwhelming favourite before an injury hampered her preparations late last year, knew what she had to do to snatch the title from her compatriot. "Standing on the Olympic (ice), I wanted to devote every effort to what I've worked towards for four years". She botched a planned triple lutz/triple toe loop combo, but did add a double toe loop onto her final jump (a triple loop).
Lipinski on Medvedeva: "She delivered". It's not an exaggeration to say that she had been having trouble competing successfully this season with this handsome program.
Their showing here - with 2018 U.S. Figure Skating Champion Bradie Tennell finishing ninth; 18-year-old Karen Chen, 10th; and Nagasu, 11th - suggests that a resurgence isn't at hand. It is because I realize that I am enjoying the process, these four minutes are historical and they only belong to me.