Russian figure skater Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal in women’s figure skating in Sochi on Thursday.
The win was a minor upset for South Korea, and a record setter for Russia.
Sotnikova scored an overall 224.59 points, with 149.95 of those coming from Thursday’s free skate win. Sotnikova came in a close second to South Korea’s Kim Yu-na in the women’s short program on Wednesday.
However, Kim finished well behind Sotnikova in the free skate on Thursday, earning 144.19 points for a total of 219.11. Kim, who won the gold at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, won the silver in Sochi.
Although Kim skated a flawless routine, she landed only six triple jumps for Sotnikova’s seven, and trailed in her technical component score.
Italy’s Carolina Kostner won the bronze, scoring a personal best of 142.61 in the free skate. It was a sweet victory for Kostner, who failed most of her jumps in the free skate in Vancouver in 2010.
“After Vancouver I thought that was it,” she said recently. “I thought I would stop skating. I thought that was my end.”
— Mashable (@mashable) February 20, 2014
Sotnikova’s win makes her the first Russian to win an Olympic gold medal in women’s singles figure skating.
“This is the happiest day in my life,” Sotnikova said. “I simply stepped on the ice today and realized how much I like what I’m doing and skated really good.”
Even within her own country, few expected Sotnikova to take home the gold medal. Instead, all hopes were focused on Yulia Lipnitskaya. Lipnitskaya won first place in both the team women’s short and free skate, contributing to Russia’s gold medal in the inaugural team figure skating event.
She was expected to challenge Kim for the gold in the individual competition.
But Lipnitskaya came in a disappointing fifth place in the individual short skate on Wednesday, after falling on her triple flip.
“I wanted to skate my best today, but it didn’t work,” she said. “I’ve lost control over my jumps — tiredness and emotions.”
Lipnitskaya ended up in fifth place overall in the individual competition.
American figure skating favorite Gracie Gold took fourth place.
Although she didn’t end up on the podium, American Ashley Wagner defied her detractors by winning a respectable seventh place overall.
I am so proud to have had the opportunity to represent #TeamUSA tonight. Thank you. I can go home with my head held high!
— Ashley Wagner (@AshWagner2010) February 20, 2014
America’s Polina Edmunds came in ninth.
Sotnikova’s was the host country’s third figure skating gold medal, following first place wins in pairs and team skating. The victories have served as a comeback from the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, where Russia failed to win a single figure skating gold medal.
Image via Wikimedia Commons