When the victory cannot be shared

The gold-medal battle in women’s single skating between Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva has become the main decoration of another competition day. The spectators in the stands of the Gangneung Ice Arena saw something that happens extremely rarely. Two skaters scored the same amount of points in the free program – 156,65. As a result, the places on the pedestal were distributed based on the results of the short program. Zagitova took first place, Medvedeva took second place and Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond took third place.

The Olympic Games are always full of dramatic situations. And Pyeongchang 2018 was no exception. But, perhaps, for the first time at the Games in Korea, our fans were faced with a dilemma. Whom to root for?

Medvedeva or Zagitova? Everyone has his own answer to this question. And you can argue forever.

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On the first day of competitions Alina set a world record (82,92 points) and took the lead. Her skate was flawless, while Jenya made a small mistake performing a cascade of triple flip – triple toe loop and in the second half of the program she did not make all the jumps planned. As a result, two friends, Eteri Tutberidze’s students were separated by 1.31 points. For this discipline it is hardly anything.

And then came the Z-day. In the strongest warm-up Zagitova the fourth to perform. Medvedeva had to put the final point. With all due respect to the bronze medalist of the Sochi Games, Italian Carolina Kostner, two skaters of Japan and the 2018 Olympic champion in the team event, Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond, it was clear that everybody was intrigued by the struggle between two Russian athletes for the gold medal.

Lately, we got used to Zagitova’s flawless performances. We all  forgot that 15-year-old girl from Izhevsk has very little experience of performing at the senior level. In 2016 Alina was only ninth in the Junior Russian Championships, and now she has two Olympic medals and a title of the champion of Europe. Within a couple of seasons Cinderella has turned into a Princess.

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In the free program Zagitova made a mistake on the first element. Instead of a cascade of triple lutz – triple rittberger she performed only the first jump, since she decided not to risk it. There was an opportunity to take the missing 6-7 points in the second half of the program. Zagitova skillfully ‘bended’ rittberger to lutz, for which she received almost 14 points. Another 10.5 points she got for a cascade of triple flip – double toe loop – double rittberger. However, in free program Alina did not achieve her own world record (157.97 points), thereby she made it a easier for Medvedeva.

In a difficult situation Jenya gave an inspiring skate. Her Anna Karenina has never been as glamorous and tragic as she was that day. After the last spin, Medvedeva burst into tears for the first time in her life right on the ice. It was due to the total dramatic identification with the role of the heroine of Tolstoy’s novel.

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The two time world champion’s technique points were predictable. They were lower than the points of the current European champion – 79.18 against 81.62. In the cascades Medvedeva conceded about six points to her main opponent.

We only had to wait for the components points.

Here “Anna Karenina” won not with such big advantage as Medvedev’s fans wanted.

When the computer has calculated all the judges ‘ calculations, it was found that in this program of Medvedev and Sagitova scored exactly the same amount — 156,65 points. How is it symbolic.

When you do not know whom to give preference to, the easiest way is to assess them equally. Alas, today it was impossible. The difference of 1.31 points after a short program was decisive in the fight for gold.