Adelina Sotnikova won the gold medal for Russia. Source: AP
Viktoria Kolesnichenko, special to RBTH
A Russian triumph in women’s singles figure skating was not unexpected going into the 2014 Sochi Games, but few observers expected the gold medalist to be 17-year-old Adelina Sotnikova.
On Feb. 20, Sotnikova skated a technically complex program to beat 2010 Vancouver champion Yuna Kim of Korea by 5.5 points. Although Kim delivered a flawless performance, the judges determined the technical and artistic elements of Sotnikova’s program to be superior. Carolina Kostner of Italy took bronze.
Yulia Lipnitskaya, the 15-year-old Russian sensation whose performance in the team competition contributed to Russia’s gold in that event, made a number of errors in both her short and free programs and finished fifth.
Sotnikova told championat.ru after the competition that all her dreams had come true. “The whole season was difficult, I was really struggling. There were moments when I was simply at a loss as to what to do. I was unable to take part in the team event, so I really wanted to win gold in the singles. My first dream was to take part in the Olympics. My second dream was to win gold. I simply can't describe in words how I feel right now."
She later added: “I have worked so long and hard for this. When Yuna Kim's score was being announced, I was even more nervous than during the actual performance."
Sotnikova’s medal is the first-ever Olympic gold in women’s figure skating singles for either Russia or the Soviet Union.
Elsewhere in Sochi, however, Team Russia had little to celebrate on Thursday.
Russia’s Yegor Korotkov failed to make it to the finals of men's ski cross, finishing only fifth in the preliminaries.
Said Korotkov about his performance: “I have delivered my best personal result so far in the Olympics and world championships. But it’s not the kind of result I can be happy with. Maybe I will realize later on that I have actually done well. Or maybe I am not worthy of Olympic medals."
France swept the podium, with Jean-Frédéric Chapuis taking the gold, Arnaud Bovolenta silver, and Jonathan Midol bronze.
The Russian team delivered a disappointing performance, finishing last of the nine contestants.
The team, which consisted of Evgeni Klimov, Niyaz Nabeev, Ernest Yakhin and Ivan Panin, arrived at the finishing live five and a half mnutes behind the winners, and trailing the Italians, who finished 8th, by two and a half minutes.
The Norwegian team took the gold with the German team a close second; the Austrians finished third.