The apprentice became the master: 15-year-old Russian figure skater tops 18-year-old counterpart in thrilling duel for gold

Maddie Meyer/Getty

  • Russia’s Alina Zagitova beat her teammate Evgenia Medvedeva for gold in figure skating in a thrilling duel.
  • Zagitova, who trains with Medvedeva, earned a score of 239.57, prompting NBC’s Terry Gannon to ask, “Has the apprentice become the master?”
  • Zagitova’s gold was the first of the Olympics by a Russian athlete; Medvedeva won silver.

The Winter Olympics women’s figure skating event came down to a thrilling duel on Friday that saw the 15-year-old Alina Zagitova top the 18-year-old Evgenia Medvedeva for the gold medal.

Zagitova, an upstart skater for Russia, has pushed Medvedeva, the gold standard for women’s figure skating, all season. On Friday, Zagitova put down an incredible performance that was simply too much for Medvedeva to overcome.

Zagitova’s routine, which is back-loaded with jumps synchronised to the music, earned her a 239.57, putting her in first with Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond still to go, followed my Medvedeva.

After Zagitova’s stunning routine, NBC’s Terry Gannon asked, “Has the apprentice become the master?” referring to the shift in power between Zagitova and Medvedeva, who train together.

After Osmond put down a formidable routine herself, Medvedeva took the ice, confident and poised. She beautifully skated through her program with nary a mistake, impressing the judges with her air and technical prowess.

Afterward, NBC’s Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir were split. Weir thought Medvedeva had wrested gold away from Zagitova; Lipinski favoured Zagitova.

The score rolled in, and Medeveda came up just short, with a 238.26.

Medvedeva had trouble hiding her disappointment.

After, however, the two hugged it out.

The gold was the first of this year’s Olympics for the Russians, who are competing under a neutral flag because of the country’s doping scandal.

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