Russian Zagitova Wins Figure Skating Gold, Edges Medvedeva
The women’s free skate was billed to be a battle of the Russians and it lived up to the hype.
Alina Zagitova capped her meteoric rise with Olympic women’s figure skating gold, topping fellow Russian skater Evgenia Medvedeva on Friday at Gangneung Ice Arena. The 15-year-old Zagitova led Medvedeva by 1.31 points after the short program and delivered a stunning free skate to hold off her teammate.
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Skating to music from Don Quixote, Zagitova earned 156.65 points for her free skate for a total of 239.57. Medvedeva finished with a combined score of 238.26. Medvedeva had not lost a competition in more than two years before Zagitova beat her at this year’s European Championships.
Both Zagitova and Medvedeva were competing for Olympic Athletes from Russia, because Russia was barred from competing as a nation due to a doping scandal.
Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond won bronze.
Watch a replay of the epic figure skating showdown on digital platforms here.
Here are four other events you need to hear about that happened Thursday night or are happening Friday morning in Pyeongchang:
Netherlands Dominate in Shani Davis’ Signature Event
The Netherlands reasserted its dominance in speedskating Friday as Kjeld Nuis won the men's 1000m speedskating event. American Joey Mantia just missed out on a medal, finishing fourth.
Norway's Havard Lorentzen was just .04 seconds slower and won silver, adding to the gold he won in the 500m. South Korea's Kim Tae-Yun won bronze.
Mantia was the fastest American, above Shani Davis, who holds the world record of 1:06.42, set in 2009, and Mitchell Whitmore.
Mantia is typically stronger in the 1500m, but beat Davis in the U.S. trials. Davis has not been able to replicate his previous dominance in recent seasons after winning two medals in the Turin Games and two in the Vancouver Games. He finished seventh, while Whitmore was in 10th.
Rewatch the event on digital platforms.
Men’s Biathlon Relay: No 4th Gold for France's Fourcade
Sweden captured the gold medal in the men’s 4x7.5-kilometer relay in front of their king, Carl XVI Gustaf, to close out the biathlon competition at the Pyeongchang Games. It’s Sweden’s first-ever gold medal in the event. Biathlon powerhouse Norway finished in second for the silver medal. The Germans won bronze, marking the seventh time they have medaled in this event in the last eight Olympics.
That kept France’s Martin Fourcade from claiming his fourth biathlon gold medal in Pyeongchang. The team led by Fourcade finished in fifth place.
But Fourcade has already established himself in Pyeongchang as France’s most successful Olympian ever.
When he anchored the mixed biathlon relay team to a come-from-behind victory on Tuesday, he became only the second athlete from France to win three gold medals at a single Winter Games. His five gold medals overall — the mixed relay, a photo finish in the 15-kilometer mass start and the 12.5-kilometer pursuit, plus gold in the individual and pursuit events in 2014 — are the most ever by a Frenchman.
After Tuesday’s win, according to Reuters, he sent a message to French skier Mathieu Faivre, who was sent home by the French Alpine team for saying he did not care about the medals won by his teammates.
“I wanted this team medal, it’s such a different emotion from an individual medal,” he told French television. “This is an individual sport, and to win as a team is something beautiful, even if everyone cannot participate.”
Watch the event on digital platforms now, or watch on NBC10’s daytime coverage on Friday at 3 p.m. ET.
'Red Machine' Battles for First Gold in Generation
When NHL players started competing in the Olympics, it was a boon for many countries.
Superstar goaltender Dominik Hasek led the Czech Republic to gold in 1998, the first Olympics with NHL players.
Mario Lemieux, Eric Lindros and Chris Pronger played on Canadian teams, and the country won gold in three of the last four Olympics.
Teemu Selanne led Finland to medals in three consecutive Olympics.
But it hurt the Russians, who managed a silver in 1998, a bronze in 2002 and nothing since.
Now, with the NHL out of the Olympics, the Russians are looking to get back in the medal race — even if they can’t compete under their own flag. Playing as the Olympic Athletes from Russia because Russia is not allowed to compete as a team due to a doping scandal, the Russians have reached the finals. The 3-0 win against Czech Republic clinched at least a silver medal. One more win will give the Russia its first gold since it played as the post-Soviet Unified Team in 1992.
The Czech Republic knocked out the United States in the quarterfinals. Canada, going for its third consecutive gold medal, was upset by Germany, 4-3, in the other semifinal.
Germany will look to keep the Russians from gold while Canada will play the Czech Republic for bronze.
Rewatch OAR vs. the Czech Republic game on digital platforms.
Rewatch Canada vs. Germany on digital platforms.
Canada Takes Gold and Silver in Women's Ski Cross Final
Even without its Sochi star, Canada dominated the women’s ski cross final, with Kelsey Serwa winning gold and Brittany Phelan taking silver.
Three-time Olympian Fanny Smith of Switzerland edged out Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund to earn bronze. Smith finished in the top 10 in the last two Games.
Serwa, who won silver in Sochi, faced a major setback in December 2016 when she damaged cartilage in her knee in a training accident, cutting her season short. She came back for the 2017-18 season with a vengeance, placing third at the World Cup season opener in Val Thorens, France.
Canadian Marielle Thompson failed to make it to the quarterfinal after an early crash. Thompson won gold in the event in Sochi, but in October she ruptured her ACL and MCL ligaments in a training accident. Her Pyeongchang appearance came only four months after having her knee surgically repaired — her first serious runs since the accident were just days before the ski cross final.
No Americans contended for a medal.
Watch a replay of the event on digital platforms here.