Adelina Sotnikova: I want to show I deserved to be Olympic champion

Adelina Sotnikova
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Russian Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova knows she still has much to prove to many figure skating fans.

“After the Olympics I grew up,” Sotnikova told RIA Novosti. “I feel that my perspective not only on sport, but on life in general has changed. I look differently at my skating now. I want to show people that I deserved to be an Olympic champion, that it was not a coincidence, that I’ve got a gold medal for a reason!”

Sotnikova won gold under controversial circumstances, over 2010 Olympic champion Yuna Kim of South Korea. The Korea Skating Union filed two complaints in the spring over the judging in Sochi, which were rejected by the International Skating Union.

The complaints specifically mentioned Sochi Olympic judge Alla Shekhovtseva, who made headlines in the aftermath of the women’s free skate as being married to a top Russian figure skating federation official and was seen hugging Sotnikova shortly after she won gold.

Outside of the judging, Sotnikova’s gold was peculiar because she had finished ninth in her only World Championships appearance, the previous year.

Sotnikova, who turned 18 on July 1, became the first woman to win individual Olympic figure skating gold with no prior World Championships medals.

Sotnikova then skipped the post-Olympics World Championships in March. It’s now clear that when she comes back later this year, her top competition will be domestic.

The top two returning skaters for next season from those World Championships are both Russian, Yulia Lipnitskaya and Anna Pogorilaya. The 2014 World Junior champion is also Russian, Yelena Radionova, who is now 15.

Sotnikova was assigned to November Grand Prix season events in Moscow (with Pogorilaya) and Osaka, Japan (with rising Americans Gracie Gold and Polina Edmunds).

Video: U.S. pairs figure skaters throw unusual ceremonial first pitch