Russia’s Medvedeva retains women’s world figure skating gold

From left, Kaetlyn Osmond, of Canada, Evgenia Medvedeva, of Russia,and Gabrielle Daleman, of Canada, pose with their silver, gold and bronze medals during victory ceremony at the World figure skating championships in Helsinki, Finland, on Friday, March 31, 2017. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Source: Mainichi Shimbun

HELSINKI (AP) — Evgenia Medvedeva retained her world figure skating title on Friday to make her the standout for Olympic gold next year.

Medvedeva broke her own world record total score with 233.41 points as she became the first woman to win back-to-back titles since 2001.

The 17-year-old Russian’s free program ended with an expression of despair as her character learned she lost a loved one, but that quickly turned to a broad grin of satisfaction with another impeccable skate.

“I skated well and had fun,” she said. “Usually I don’t think about places, about records, I’m just trying to show my best and a clean skate.”

Medvedeva’s success bucks a recent trend for Russian skating stars to burn out after a major championship success. Both the 2014 Olympic champion Adelina Sotnikova and 2015 world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva struggled to recapture the form that took them to their greatest successes.

Canadian skaters left with silver and bronze as Kaetlyn Osmond took second place with 218.13 points, and Gabrielle Daleman was third with 213.52.

They were Canada’s first women’s medalists since 2009.

U.S. champion Karen Chen led the American team in fourth, and last year’s silver medalist Ashley Wagner was seventh.

Russian Anna Pogorilaya finished her skate in tears after falling three times. She had been one point off third place following the short program, but plummeted to 13th.

Russia, Canada, and the United States all secured the maximum three entries for the Pyeonghchang Olympic women’s competition, but traditional skating powerhouse Japan earned only two as its top two skaters finished fifth and 11th.

Earlier, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir took the lead in the ice dance, chasing a third career title following a lengthy career break.

The Canadians scored a record 82.43 points skating to a Prince medley, and beat their own short dance world record by almost two points.

Virtue and Moir, who won the 2010 Olympics, skipped two seasons before returning to competition last year. They last competed at the world championships in 2013.

“That was a great skate. We worked hard, we prepared, but we felt the pressure today,” Moir said. “We knew we had to bring our best, and that’s why we came back.”

Despite being unbeaten since their comeback, Moir said he and Virtue were feeling nervous.

“You’re feeling the butterflies and you’re trying to eat lunch and it won’t go down. You get out and you’re shaky, exhausted at the beginning of your program, but we’re happy with the skate,” he said.

Two-time defending champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France were second with 76.89 points ahead of Saturday’s free dance.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue of the United States were third with 76.53.

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