Personal bests set up close race for ladies' figure skating bronze

Personal bests set up close race for ladies' figure skating bronze

Pic: ReutersGANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA: Alina Zagitova took the lead in women's singles figure skating on Wednesday with a brilliant short skate that set a world record, giving her nation a strong shot at its first gold of the Pyeongchang Games. The first-ever Russian gold medal in ladies' figure skating wasn't captured until Sochi 2014, when Adelina Sotnikova pulled off the feat. The 15-year-old Zagitova and the 18-year-old Medvedva train with the same coach, hang out together and set world records just minutes apart. She also performed a Sailor Moon-inspired routine at the 2017 ISU World Team Trophy, a figure skating team competition.

Medvedeva who was performing several minutes earlier broke her own world record and receiving 81.61 points. Ahead of the free dance finals on February 23, get familiar on one of the youngest athletes at the Olympics.

"I could have had more speed going into the jumps, the landings of the jumps could have been smoother, there could have been more emotions", she said.

The free skate will be very competitive. "It was a special sort of challenge for me and I'm excited for [the free skate]".

Alina Zagitova stamped herself as at least the Olympic co-favorite after upsetting a still recovering Medvedeva at last month's European Championships.

Men's ice hockey semifinal, CZE vs. OAR and CAN vs. GER (from Friday, 2:40 a.m. ET/4:40 p.m. local time): Defending gold medalists Team Canada made its third straight Olympic semifinal after a 1-0 win over Finland. She scored a personal best. She fell on the jump and but skated clean for the remainder of the program. Nagasu finished second behind Zagitova in the team event free skate, proving her full point potential is high enough to land on the 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.

Aris Messinis  AFP
Aris Messinis AFP

It was an impressive display for the 17-year-old Kobe native, who continues her rise in the ranks of the world elite.

Medvedeva won the short program in the Olympic team competition last week.

Bradie Tennell began her individual medal hunt as the first skater in Tuesday night's short program. Sidelined for two seasons by back injuries, the 20-year-old emerged seemingly out of nowhere to win bronze at Skate America in November, and she hasn't looked back since. No other female skater - not Zagitova, not Medvedeva - had gone fall-less this season. Despite her characteristic consistency, Tennell fell on her opening triple-triple combination.

For more in-depth coverage of the ladies' short program, check out Olympic Ice featuring analysts Kristi Yamaguchi, Charlie White and Ben Agosto. Karen Chen, 18, was fourth at the world championships previous year.

"We were nervous for (Medvedeva)", Russian ice dancer Ekaterina Bobrova said.

"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. That capitalizes on a scoring system that awards a 10% bonus to hard moves performed toward the end, based on the idea that it's easier to land jumps early in a program when the skater is fresh.

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