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.
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)