GANGNEUNG, South Korea (AP) — If you think Yevgenia Medvedeva will cruise to the Olympic gold medal in figure skating, think again.
Medvedeva’s 15-year-old training partner, Alina Zagitova, proved she can challenge for the gold. Zagitova won the team event free skate by 20 points on Monday, scoring only 2.38 points short of Medvedeva’s record.
That should set up a tantalizing all-Russian contest for the women’s gold on Feb. 21 and 23. Still, Zagitova swears there’s no rivalry with Medvedeva, who broke her own record in the team short on Sunday.
“Zhenya congratulated me, and I congratulated her yesterday,” Zagitova said, referring to Medvedeva by her Russian nickname. “We’ve really bonded during these competitions.”
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Lauren Crandall and Rachel Dawson, who combined to play 577 times for the U.S. field hockey team since 2005, announced retirements Thursday.
Crandall and Dawson, both 31 years old, made their national-team debuts in 2005 and played in the last three Olympics. Crandall, Dawson and Katelyn Falgowski are the only Americans to play in three Olympic field hockey tournaments.
“Lauren and Rachel have been international powerhouses for an extended period,” U.S. coach Craig Parnham said in a press release.
Crandall and Dawson spearheaded a U.S. women’s field hockey program that made three straight Olympics after failing to qualify the previous three times (not counting its automatic spot at Atlanta 1996). The U.S. men’s team hasn’t qualified for an Olympics since 1956.
The U.S. women finished eighth at Beijing 2008, then last of 12 teams at London 2012. It rebounded to make the Rio Olympic quarterfinals, taking fifth overall with Crandall as captain for a second straight Olympics.
Crandall and Dawson were also part of Pan American Games gold-medal teams in 2011 and 2015.
Crandall was one of five nominees for the 2014 FIH Player of the Year.
VIDEO: Top field hockey moments from Rio
Both men’s and women’s field hockey had first timers on the podium in Rio receiving Olympic gold. For the men, Argentina earned gold, stunning Germany and defeating Belgium on its way there.
The women’s tournament had a shocking and dramatic end when Great Britain took down the reigning Olympic gold medalist the Netherlands in a shootout win and stayed undefeated on its quest for gold.
Team USA had a much improved campaign than they did in London, and were perhaps one of the biggest success stories in the field hockey tournament. They went 4-1 in pool play, winning the first four consecutive games, and advanced to the quarterfinal round.
Although ousted by bronze medalist Germany, Team USA’s finish in Rio was drastically better than London where they finished last in pool play.
As we take a look back on the field hockey tournament, from crazy penalty corner goals to exciting wins and historic upsets, here are the top moments from the 2016 Rio Games.