Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva train together in Moscow and represent the Olympic Athletes from Russia in PyeongChang. The country has not yet won a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Olympics, but either Zagitova or Medvedeva could be the first.
“The most important thing is to show your best, to give 100% so that the coaches, the judges, the audience and yourself are pleased,” Zagitova said of the possibility of winning OAR’s first gold of PyeongChang.
“I’m trying not to think about medals,” Medvedeva said. “My main goal is to show a clean free skate and to be satisfied with my performance inside.”
Both Zagitova and Medvedeva are already medalists in PyeongChang, capturing silver for their contributions to the team event. Medvedeva skated her short program and Zagitova performed her free skate to help Team OAR to silver.
A gold medal for either skater would only be the second-ever gold medal for Russia in ladies’ figure skating. Adelina Sotnikova won the first gold for Russia on home ice in 2014.
Their fierce rivalry only applies on the ice, as the two teens are friends outside the rink.
Medvedeva skated in the short program and notched the highest score ever recorded at 81.06 points. It was short-lived, however, until Zagitova took the ice. She scored 82.92 and set a new record with the program.
In a press conference following the short program, the training partners described their relationship:
“I try not to think about that (competition between them) and I try to focus just on myself,” Zagitova said. “I don’t go out there to prove something to someone. I just want to skate clean for myself.
“Zhenya and I are friends,” Zagitova added, using Medvedeva’s nickname. “We feel the rivalry when we come to competition but it is not maleficent.”
“I hear so many news that Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva are opponents on the ice and off the ice,” she said. “We are humans, we communicate as usual, we are friends, we are girls, young girls. We can talk about everything to each other.
“When we take the ice this is sport and we must fight. In every competition I feel like a little war. This is sport, this is war. We must show our best, no matter if you are nervous or not. When you take the ice you are alone. Yes, your friend is competing here, but you have to fight.
“Every day I am able to watch how hard Alina works. I think we just love figure skating so, so much and our coaches give us the chance to be here and to compete here.”
The free skate is Thursday, February 22 in Primetime on NBC and NBCOlympics.com.