Sotnikova Wins Stunning Figure Skating Gold for Russia
Published: February 21, 2014 (Issue # 1798)
Russia’s Adelina Sotnikova put in a sensational free skate on Thursday to snatch the Sochi Olympic gold medal away from Kim Yuna and deny the South Korean back-to-back titles.
Sotnikova, 17, had trailed Kim by less than a point after a dazzling short program on Wednesday and overtook the 23-year-old two-time world champion to win with a total score of 224.59 points.
It is a first women's singles gold medal ever for Russia and a third figure skating gold for the host nation in Sochi after it won the team event and the pairs title went to Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. It also shifts the focus from Evgeny Plushenko's controversial injury withdrawal from the men's individual competition.
Related: Russia's Takes Gold in Sochi Pairs Figure Skating
"I smashed my season's best. In fact, I smashed my highest score for my whole career and I did it at the Olympics. I didn't think I could skate like I did today," Sotnikova said before learning she had become an Olympic champion.
"The atmosphere was wonderful. I felt something amazing coming from the crowd. I could hear shouts and screams the whole time of 'keep going Adelina', and 'you can do it'. I just couldn't skate badly."
Kim put in a superb free skate but fell short, having to settle for silver with 219.11. The bronze went to Carolina Kostner of Italy, who posted 216.73.
Related: Faultless Plushenko Sets Russia Hurtling Toward Team Gold
With the surprise victory, Sotnikova dramatically steals the show from her 15-year-old compatriot Julia Liptiniskaia, who had dominated the build-up to the individual event after crushing allcomers in the team event earlier in the Games.
Lipnitskaia fell in Wednesday's short program and again on Thursday to disappear as a medal challenger, eventually finishing fifth with 200.57.
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