Fifteen-year-old figure skater Alina Zagitova has become the second youngest Olympian who captured a gold, next only to American Tara Lipinski in 1998.
To do so, she had to defeat her own countrywoman, 18-year-old Evgenia Medvedeva. Interestingly enough, it was the latter who inspired her to take up figure skating in the first place.
Zagitova also had her training to thank for because she delivered even if she was overwhelmed by the whole thing during her performance.
“My hands were shaking, but my body was doing everything I’d trained to do,” Zagitova told reporters. “I can’t believe I am the champion,”
The only thing that would have made her win perfectly was if the national anthem was played while she stood at the podium with the medal around her neck. But Russia had to suffer the shame after the doping scandal that rocked its Olympics program.
The Washington Post reported that it was clear from Zagitova’s demeanor that she didn’t agree with the Olympic sanction of allowing Russian athletes to compete under neutral colors, their fans banned from waving Russian flags and wearing emblems, and the national anthem being played if they won gold.
When she stood on top of the podium and the announcer told everybody that the Olympic anthem will be played, her face looked cold.
“I was trying with all my strength to ignore it, but I couldn’t,” Zagitova said of the Russian doping ban.
Meanwhile, Medvedeva who, by virtue of the rule, lost to her younger friend despite the three-way tie in the final program was happy for Zagitova but at the same time disappointed with herself. However, she couldn’t help but cry when learning that she was only 1 point away from a gold medal. “It was probably because the pressure had been there a long time, and my emotions went overboard,” the teenager added.