Hello and welcome to another article where I'm just basically going to drool over the incredible grace and athletic ability of an Olympic figure skater and probably work in some self-deprecation. Evgenia Medvedeva is the 18-year-old Russian skater competing her heart out against her biggest rival (and teammate), Alina Zagitova, in the 2018 Winter Games. If you didn't know her before, you will now. Tonight, in Evgenia Medvedeva's free skate video, you can see that this athlete from Russia is literally flawless.
Listen, this girl is a powerhouse. In her short program on Wednesday, Feb. 21, the announcers basically sh*t their pants watching her skate. They threw around phrases like, "different from anybody we've seen," "nothing phases this girl," "absolutely breathtaking," and "this is an Olympic champion in the making." Medvedeva killed it, earning herself a final score of 81.61. For a brief moment, it was the highest score in a female figure skating short program of all time. The world stood still.
Just minutes after Medvedeva slayed, her teammate and rival Alina Zagitova took the ice, and suddenly, all bets were off. Though Medvedeva has been the frontrunner for the Olympic championship, 15-year-old Zagitova sort of came out of nowhere and quickly caught up. According to Vox, Medvedeva was undefeated in the figure-skating circuit until Zagitova pulled ahead of her in the 2018 European Championships. Then, in the 2018 Olympic short program, Zagitova bested Medvedeva by 1.31 points, with a final score of 82.92.
What the actual... ?
On Friday, Feb. 23, Medvedeva came to right that wrong.
Take a look at her incredible performance.
You can see a full video of the performance on NBC Olympics.
Amazingly, as stunning as it was, it wasn't enough to win gold — but only because her friend and fellow athlete was better. Though both Medvedeva and her teammate Alina Zagitova took home the same score of 156.65 from the free skate, Zagitova's 82.92 from the short program put her just 1.31 points ahead — but it was enough to give her the gold, while Medvedeva went home with silver.
In 2017, Medvedeva spoke candidly with the International Skating Union about how she felt about the pressure from her fans and home country going into the Olympics. She said,
I don’t see it as pressure. During the Grand Prix, a whole lot of people did not sleep at night, they stayed up to watch it live. I didn’t think that a fan, sitting in front of the TV and watching me says ‘You have to (win)! If you don’t do it, you don’t need to come home’. That would be pressure. I think that the real figure skating fans are sharing the excitement with their athletes, they want them to get onto the podium and to skate clean, and this is support. The people are watching, they are rooting for you and they put into the skating of their athletes a little part of their soul and that gives us strength.
Ok, but what about her relationship with Zagitova? In a press conference after the short program, the girls had an opportunity to discuss their friendship. Medvedeva said,
We are humans, we communicate as usual, we are friends, we are girls, young girls. We can talk about everything to each other... When we take the ice this is sport and we must fight. In every competition I feel like a little war. This is sport, this is war. We must show our best, no matter if you are nervous or not. When you take the ice you are alone. Yes, your friend is competing here, but you have to fight.
And fight they did. Congratulations to both women on their extraordinary performances!
Erin Jackson is an inline skating world medalist and roller derby MVP. She dreamed of skating in the Olympics, but to do that, she had to get on ice. She took her first steps on a long-track course in 2016 and started training professionally in September 2017. Four months later, she qualified for the Olympic Winter Games. Check out Elite Daily Insights' video on Jackson's incredible story: