15-year-old Alina Zagitova won the first gold medal for the Olympic Athletes from Russia on Thursday night in the ladies’ free skate in PyeongChang.
Yevgenia Medvedeva, her training partner and the two-time world champion, earned silver by a margin of 1.31 points. Both Russians scored 156.65 in the free skate; the tie was broken by component scores, where Medvedeva outscored Zagitova. Medvedeva won the free skate phase, but Zagitova’s short program lead was enough to secure her the gold.
This marks the first time two women from the same country have shared the ladies’ figure skating podium with gold and silver since Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan in 1998. Speaking of Lipinski – Zagitova is 26 days older than Lipinski was when she won gold in Nagano, and Zagitova is now the second-youngest individual ladies’ Olympic champion in history.
Kaetlyn Osmond earned bronze – Canada’s first Olympic medal in ladies’ figure skating since 2010, when Joannie Rochette earned a bronze on home ice.
As for the skaters on Team USA, Bradie Tennell, the reigning U.S. national champion, finished in ninth place. She made uncharacteristic mistakes in her free skate, including a fall. Tennell scored 128.34 points for a 192.35 total score.
Tennell already won a bronze medal at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics for her part in skating the short program for the U.S. contingent in the team event.
Mirai Nagasu also already won a team bronze medal in PyeongChang, contributing her free skate, where she became the first U.S. woman to land a triple Axel on Olympic ice. She struggled with it during her individual short program, but in her free skate on Thursday, she popped her triple Axel attempt (invalidating the element) and scored 119.61 points. Her overall score totaled 186.54 points for 10th place.
Karen Chen waited nearly two weeks to make her Olympic debut after walking in the Opening Ceremony. The 2017 national champion skated first of the three Americans. She made a few mistakes, scored 119.75 points in the free skate and 185.65 overall for 11th place.
More to come. For more in-depth coverage of the ladies’ free skate, check out Olympic Ice featuring analysts Kristi Yamaguchi, Charlie White and Ben Agosto.
The medal ceremony will take begin at 5 a.m. ET and can be streamed below: