Queen dethroned: Russia’s Sotnikova tops Yuna Kim for gold

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One day after the playoff demise of the Russian men’s hockey team, Adelina Sotnikova has brought perhaps the ultimate rejuvenation to the country’s spirits.

In an upset decision over South Korea’s Yuna Kim, the 17-year-old from Moscow has become the first Russian to win Olympic gold in ladies’ figure skating today at the Iceberg Skating Palace.

Sotnikova had come into the Sochi Olympics overshadowed by her 15-year-old teammate and European champion Yulia Lipnitskaia. But she’ll never have to worry about being under the radar again.

After finishing a close second to Kim in the short program, Sotnikova moved into first place with a free skate that brought her a staggering score of 149.95 and pushed her total to 224.59.

But Kim was still to come at the end of the night, and her free skate appeared equally impeccable. But the difference came down to the technical: Sotnikova earned a 75.54 TES from the judges, while Kim only got a 69.69.

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Kim wound up with a 144.19 on her free skate and a total of 219.11 that made her settle for the silver and triggered a thunderous roar from the Russian crowd at the Iceberg.

Their girl had won on the Winter Olympics’ biggest stage.

Italy’s Carolina Kostner entered the day in third, and was able to hold off Team USA’s Gracie Gold for the bronze medal – her first Olympic medal in her third Games.

Gold fell on a triple flip but otherwise had a solid free skate to maintain her fourth-place position, which is a solid result in her Olympic debut.

She proved to be the highest-finishing American in the individual figure skating competitions at Sochi. The other two American women, Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds, finished seventh and ninth.

Nonetheless, Sochi marks the first time that the U.S. has failed to earn a men’s or women’s individual medal in figure skating since the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Games.

FIGURE SKATING – LADIES’ FINAL STANDINGS
1. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS), 224.59 (74.64/149.95)

2. Yuna Kim (KOR), 219.11 (74.92/144.19)
3. Carolina Kostner (ITA), 216.73 (74.12/142.61)

4. Gracie Gold (USA), 205.53 (68.63/136.90)
7. Ashley Wagner (USA), 193.20 (65.21/127.99)
9. Polina Edmunds (USA), 183.25 (61.04/122.21)

Gracie Gold qualifies for nationals, Polina Edmunds shut out

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2014 Olympian Gracie Gold qualified for the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships by virtue of a third-place finish at the Eastern Sectional Singles Final on Saturday in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

“Bronze: so hot this fall,” Gold posted on Instagram. She last competed at U.S. nationals in 2017, when she finished sixth. She won the national title in 2014 and 2016.

Gold sat second after the short program with 63.55 points, and ultimately finished third overall with 109.90 points in the free skate for 173.45 points. The top four at the event qualify for the national championships in Greensboro, North Carolina in January.

Her free skate included a fall on the opening triple Lutz and an under-rotation on the triple Lutz, double toe loop combination. She also put a hand down on the landing of a double Axel. The rest of the program, though, was clean.

Her performance, set to “She Used to be Mine” by Sara Bareilles, can be found at the 2:05 mark of the on-demand stream of the event for NBC Gold Pass subscribers.

Meanwhile, her Sochi teammate Polina Edmunds was shut out of nationals based on a fifth-place finish at the Pacific Coast Sectional Singles Final (top four qualify). Her performance can be found for NBC Gold Pass subscribers at the 1:50 mark of the on-demand stream for the event. Edmunds last competed at Nationals in 2016, when she earned the silver medal behind Gold.

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Bronze: so hot this fall 🥉

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Brittany Bowe extends unbeaten streak to open speed skating World Cup

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Brittany Bowe extended one of the most dominant runs for any U.S. Winter Olympian, earning her first straight World Cup 1000m win to open the season on Sunday.

Bowe, fourth and eighth in the event at her two Olympics, clocked 1:15.35 in Minsk, Belarus, to beat PyeongChang gold medalist Jorien ter Mors by six tenths. Ter Mors missed all of last season after knee surgery.

Bowe won every World Cup 1000m dating to last December, plus her second world title in the event last February, lowering track records at each stop.

She ended last season by breaking the world record by .48 of a second on the fast ice of the 2002 Olympic oval in Kearns, Utah. That time — 1:11.61 — would have been the men’s world record as recently as 1997.

Bowe, a former Florida Atlantic point guard who missed all of 2016-17 with a concussion, is up to 23 career World Cup wins. That’s fifth on the U.S. all-time list behind Bonnie Blair (69), Shani Davis (58), Dan Jansen (46) and Heather Bergsma (34), according to schaatsstatistieken.nl.

The World Cup moves to Poland next week.

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