It took near perfection for Alina Zagitova to finally end Evgenia Medvedeva’s two-year reign in figure skating.
The 15-year-old eked out a win with just three points ahead of her veteran training partner.
Zagitova performed seven triples and two double axels to the tune of “Don Quixote” to score 157.97 points in the program. The crowd at Megasport Palace was clearly behind her during her almost flawless performance. They even threw flowers at the rink in appreciation.
The Russian said that she’s just happy to have landed two clean skates.
“Of course I’m happy I became the European champion and I want to keep going,” the teenager said.
She said that skating in front of the homecrowd is a double-edged sword. While she appreciates the support, there’s also the added pressure of not letting your family and friends, as well as the fans, down who came all the way to see her.
While Zagitova was near perfection, it probably helped that Medvedeva was less than 100% in the competition. Medvedeva, who won the gold since 2015, scored total points of 232.86, along with 154.29 points in the free program.
The 30-year-old admitted as much as she claimed that there were times during her program when she wasn’t as confident because of her two-month layoff due to the recovery from stress foot fracture.
“I woke up this morning with the thought that I’ll just do everything that’s in my power at the moment,” she said. “I’ll live in the moment.”
Medvedeva conceded that it wasn’t her best performance, which she claimed is a “pity” because she was “mostly flawless” during her practices. However, she got into the competition and she let it slipped away.
Italy’s Carolina Kostner grabbed the bronze medal with 204.25 total points, including 125.95 points in the free program. It was the first gold medal for Zagitova in the European Figure Skating Championships.