Russian Adelina Sotnikova stuns favorites to win gold in women's figure skating

The Russian pulled off an unexpected victory and did it in style, scoring five points more than the silver medalist and defending champion Yuna Kim.
By Ananth Baliga  |  Feb. 20, 2014 at 3:16 PM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- It was touted that a Russian had the best chances of winning, but not many expected that it would be Adelina Sotnikova to upset defending champion Yuna Kim and win gold in women's figure skating.

Not only did she win, it was not even close. Sotnikova finished with a score of 224.59, more than five points ahead of Kim, who was followed by Italian Carolin Kostner with a score of 216.73. Going into the free program, things were close between Kim and Sotnikova, with Kim having a slight edge. But an impressive performance during Sotnikova's second run helped her score 149.95, the best free program score for the night.

Gracie Gold of the U.S. came in fourth, with fellow American Ashley Wagner coming in seventh. This is the first time since 1936 that the U.S. has failed to win medals in the men's and women's individual events.

Despite flawless performances from the top two skaters, it all came down to the numbers.

Kim did have the slight edge on the components marks, 74.50 to 74.41, but Sotnikova landed seven triple jumps to Kim's six and had a program that was more difficult and packed with high-value technical elements.

Sotnikova was virtually ignored all this while, as all the attention was directed to her fellow 15-year-old Russian Julia Lipnitskaia, who has shot to fame in the past two seasons.

But with this victory, Sotnikova has given Russia it's first gold medal, and fourth medal ever, in women's figure skating.

[USAToday] [NYT]

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