Figure skating: Japan left without a medal, at home, wow!

The Man

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SAITAMA - Olympic champion Alina Zagitova won her first senior world title in impressive fashion on Friday night. The 16-year-old topped the field at the world championships by more than 12 points with a total score of 237.50 points.

Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursnybaeva took the silver with 224.76, while two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva settled for the bronze at 223.80.

It was a disappointing night for Japan, as it finished off the medal stand after taking the silver (Wakaba Higuchi) and bronze (Satoko Miyahara) at last year’s worlds in Milan, Italy.

Rika Kihira, the favorite for the world crown entering the competition, fell on her second triple axel and ended up fourth with 223.49.

Kaori Sakamoto came in fifth at 222.83, with Miyahara sixth on 215.95.

Zagitova skated to “Carmen Suite” and illustrated why she triumphed at the Pyeongchang Games. The Moscow native put on a gallant show, hitting six triples and earned level fours for her spins and step sequence.

After finishing fifth at last year’s world in Italy, the victory here was sweet redemption for the teen.

“I appreciate my coaches, the people supporting me and the audience,” Zagitova stated after her victory. “I knew the Japanese audiences were great before I arrived here, so they helped me to land all my jumps.”

Tursynbaeva performed to “Otono Porteno” and wowed the crowd with a titanic quadruple salchow on her very first jump. She added six triples to go along with level fours on her spins and step sequence.

Medvedeva, the silver medalist in Pyeongchang, turned back the clock to the time before her injury in late 2017 and put on a fine show. She landed seven clean triples and received level fours for her spins and step sequence. The lone miscue came on her final double axel, which she under-rotated. She pumped her fist when she finished as if to indicate she was back at her best.

Kihira, who won the Grand Prix Final this season, competed to “A Beautiful Storm” and had a promising start, landing a huge triple axel/triple toe loop combo. However, she fell on her second triple axel, which definitely cost her a shot at the title.

The 16-year-old landed seven triple jumps and received level fours for her spins and step sequence.

Sakamoto skated to “The Piano” and looked in good position to have a shot at the title. She was in position for a medal until she singled her triple flip late in the program. Sakamoto landed six clean triples and posted level fours for her spins and step sequence, but the one miss was unfortunate.

“My condition before the free skate was the same as at the Four Continents,” Sakamoto remarked. “I could not get rid of the tiredness before the free skate, so my body could not move at all.”

The Kobe native praised her choreographer Benoit Richaud despite her result.

“I received a lot of advice from Benoit, so the connection and the spin could get better,” Sakamoto said.

Miyahara skated to “Invierno Porteno” and put in one of her typically consistent performances. She was sublime throughout with the only blemish coming on the back end of her three-combo jump (triple flip/double toe loop/double loop).

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada, who won the world title last year, did not compete this season.

France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron lead the ice dance following the rhythm dance with 88.42. Russia’s Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov are in second (83.94), with their compatriots Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin in third (83.10).

The free dance is set for Saturday afternoon.
Alina Zagitova captures world title; Japan's skaters finish without a medal | The Japan Times

Also:
Olympic gold medallist Alina Zagitova earns 1st world figure skating title | CBC Sports
Canadian figure skater Gabrielle Daleman happy with effort at worlds


Btw, I have noticed a number of news outlets in the US who mislabel above photo, captioning that this is Japan's Kihira, on the left, when, in fact, it is, as article says, Kazakhstan's Tursynbaeva. NBC news and others lol Racist fuckers think all Asians are the same :D

Anyway, what fascinated me, having seen videos from there, the Japanese fans. They are not bitter at all that two Russians and a Kazakhstani denied the podium to their own girls, on home soil. Cheering and applauding the guests just as loudly :) Cannot imagine such reaction from Russians, if Japanese skaters sweeped the medals like this in Moscow or Sochi or such haha

Good for them...
 

The Man

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MOSCOW, March 22. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated figure skating star Alina Zagitova on winning gold in ladies singles competition at the 2019 ISU World Championship in Japan’s Saitama on Friday.

"You won a beautiful, highly-skilled and confident victory. You skated your program ‘in one breath,’ conquering millions of fans and spectators with your brilliant skill. Such triumphal achievements create sports glory of our country. Well done!" Putin said in a telegram published on the Kremlin website.

Putin noted that Zagitova, who is strong in spirit and character and has a ‘make it happen’ mindset, is able to deal with the toughest and most ambitious challenges and goals.

The figure skater’s father Ilnaz Zagitov told TASS: "We are very proud, this has been a tough season."

Russia’s Alina Zagitova won gold on Friday in ladies singles competition at the 2019 ISU World Championship, which is currently underway in Japan’s Saitama. The 16-year-old Russian figure skater scored 237.50 points on the aggregate after the short program and free skating. Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva took the silver with the result of 224.76 points and the bronze went to Russia’s Yevgeniya Medvedeva (223.80 points).

In addition to the gold of the 2019 ISU World Championship, Zagitova is the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics gold medalist in singles and the silver medalist in team event.

Zagitova is now the first Russian female figure skater to win all awards in ladies singles competitions as she is also the winner of the 2018 European Championships in Moscow and the gold medalist of the 2017-2018 Grand Prix Final in Nagoya. Besides, Zagitova currently holds world records for points earned in woman’s free skating (158.50) and for her combined total score (238.43).
Putin congratulates Zagitova on confident victory at World Championship

Somebody gonna get another medal at the Kremlin, methinks

:D

This is a great triumph, certainly, for the legendary Russian coach Eteri Tutberidze, who trains both Zagitova and the Kazakh girl, Tursnybaeva; Alina rushed over to her right from her awards ceremony and gave her medal to her; and Tursnybaeva went off with them too

I think that's her dad she is hugging, though not sure lol

Medvedeva is her former pupil also, represented her school at the Olympics last year, along with Zagitova

though, later left for Canadian coach Brian Orser, who was also there with her at the Championships

reportedly because she was upset that Tutberidze ran Alina FIRST at the Olympics, which, in her view, denied her (Medvedeva) the Gold... but she took a pic together with team Tutberidze also after the awards ceremony

Young lady remembers where she comes from... ;)

lol Look at all the Japanese who cheered for Alina

:D Amazing... They love her even more than her fellow Russians do... haha Again, very weird for me, can't imagine Russians ever cheering like that for a foreigner over their own. Or even Canadians, for that matter...
 
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Brian Orser has done more to crush the dreams of Canadian skaters than anyone else alive or dead.

By training other country's athletes. Haha.

Our kids just can't afford him.
 
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The Man

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Brian Orser has done more to crush the dreams of Canadian skaters than anyone else alive or dead.

By training other country's athletes. Haha.

Our kids just can't afford him.
Well, Medvedeva suffered for that too, FWIW... It was a huge scandal for her, back in Russia, moving from Madam Tutberidze to a Western coach.

Some back home labelled her a traitor over it, no joke, she got so much hate online:
Evgenia Medvedeva: I didn’t expect so much negativity and so much hate

Some people thought she was changing her citizenship too, despite her repeatedly saying she would never compete for another country...

There is also the whole supposed feud between Zagitova and Medvedeva, since the Olympics... Largely imaginary, manufactured by fans of both, online lol But, it has caused much mayhem nonetheless...

Back in November, Maxim Trankov, an Olympic champion (Sochi) in pairs, with his real life wife Tatyana Volosozhar
kinda seemed to insult Zagitova in an interview, implying that Medvedeva is better than her or whatever: Maxim Trankov: At the Olympics, all athletes rooted for Zhenya. No one rooted for Alina. But she won deservedly

For this, he was harassed online by angry Zagitova fans, including with graphic murder threats. It's gotten so bad, there were calls for Zagitova herself to address her mostly young and rabid fan base and ask them to leave the poor SOB alone (which, I believe, she did, to be fair haha): Загитову призвали остановить травлю олимпийского чемпиона: Зимние виды: Спорт: Lenta.ru

They both, Medvedeva and Zagitova, have tried to play down their "rivalry"; in December, there was even a photo, perhaps deliberately leaked, of both of them at a skating event in Moscow, perfectly cordial, Medvedeva taking a picture of Alina with a huge bouquet of flowers she'd been gifted

Some people were STILL not convinced haha

There were plenty in Russia who didn't want to see Medvedeva at World Championship in Japan there; she went in spite of all of them. And won Bronze, good for her.

It's so crazy over there...
 

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