Russia's first gold ecstasy marred by second doping case

By Xinhua  |  Feb. 23, 2018 at 11:47 AM
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Feb. 23 (UPI) -- Figure skater Alina Zagitova won Russia's first gold at the PyeongChang Winter Games Friday, but the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) took a blow, hit by the second doping case at the Games.

The 15-year-old Zagitova, who led the field after a record-setting short program on Wednesday, edged past her compatriot Evgenia Medvedeva with a flawless free skate for the gold. Her total points were 239.57, her personal best.

Four years ago in Sochi, Russia's Adelina Sotnikova won the country's first Olympic gold in the event.

Four years later, Russia's strength discipline is apparently growing as two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedva, 18, scored 238.268 points to win the silver medal. Canadian Kaetlyn Osmond settled for the bronze with 231.02 points.

"I would give me a four with a little plus (out of five) for my performance, because I didn't do the first jump combination (triple Lutz-triple loop), but I did it later. I proved one more time to myself that I can change my jump elements during the program," said Zagitova.

"When I saw the score, I was surprised and it was a nice surprise. I am glad that I was able to deal with my nervousness, go out there and skate my programme calmly," she added.

But the Russian delegation was hit by another doping case when its women's bobsleigh team member Nadezhda Sergeeva was revealed to have failed a test.

It's Russia's second case after curler Alexander Krushelnitsky has been found guilty of an anti-doping violation testing positive for the banned substance meldonium days ago. Besides, Slovenian hockey player Ziga Jeglic and Japanese speedskater Kei Saito also left the games after testing positive.

In the Phoenix Snow Park, Canadian Kelsey Serwa claimed the gold medal of freestyle skiing women's ski cross. She outclassed compatriot Brittany Phelan and Swiss skier Fanny Smith in the event's big final to storm to the finish line first.

"It is very cool. It is very surreal to be the best in the world at something you put your heart into," said Serwa.

It was Canada's 25th and 26th medal at PyeongChang 2018, matching the National Olympic Committee's single Winter Games record, set in Vancouver in 2010.

Elsewhere, Sweden pocketed biathlon men's 4x7.5km relay gold medal. The Swedish team, teamed up by Peppe Femling, Jesper Nelin, Sebastian Samuelsson and Fredrik Lindstroem, clocked a time of 1 hour, 15 minutes and 16.5 seconds to sit atop the podium.

There was also win for Kjeld Nuis of the Netherlands, who has become a double Olympic champion after adding gold in speed skating men's 1,000m to the 1,500m title he won last week.

Norway now leads the medals table with 13 gold, 14 silver and 10 bronze medals, followed by Germany on 13 gold, 7 silver and 6 bronze medals.

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