Anna Shcherbakova (ROC) skated off with the Olympic gold as a dramatic Women’s event at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games concluded at the Capital Indoor Stadium Thursday. Teammate Alexandra Trusova rose from fourth to claim the silver medal while Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto earned the bronze.
The spectacular Shcherbakova (ROC) left no points on the table. Skating to “Ruska”, “The Master and Margarita” and “Lacrimosa”, the reigning ISU World Champion reeled off a quad flip-triple toe, a solo quad flip as well as five triple jumps, two double Axels and level-four spins and footwork. She hit each accent of the music and her elements were precise as clockwork.
The 2022 European silver medalist posted a new personal best with 175.75 points and racked up 255.95 points overall to strike gold.
“During the performance I was very concentrated, I took it one element after the other. I kept it in my head, I have to stay focused and can’t let go. I am thrilled I got over the nerves and that at the right moment at the right time I showed my best,” the 17-year-old Skater said. “(On the podium) I was trying to realize what just had happened and that I can exhale. I still need a couple of days to realize it’s over. Honestly I didn’t dream about that moment. I was working hard and think that the feeling I dreamed of was that I finished my performance and I did the best I can – that was what I dreamed about.”
“Cruella” Trusova (ROC) risked it all and went for five quadruple jumps. The 2021 World bronze medalist nailed a quad flip and followed up with a quadruple Salchow. She then stepped out of her quad toe, but hit a quad Lutz-triple toe and another, and slightly underrotated (q) her quad Lutz. The two-time European bronze medalist won the Free Skating with a new personal best of 177.13 points and moved up to second overall at 251.73 points.
“I am very happy that I did five quads. It took me a long time to get there and I am pleased with my performance. I wanted to be like Nathan Chen, I looked at him, looked up to him and I hope I am like him,” Trusova told the press. “After the Short Program they (coaches) suggested me to take out the (quad) Salchow and to go with four quads, but I wanted to do five and I am very pleased that I did it at the Olympic Games.”
Sakamoto (JPN) put out an excellent performance to “No More Fight Left In Me” that featured seven triple jumps and difficult spins and steps. The 2018 ISU Four Continents Champion achieved a personal best as well with 153.29 points to total 233.13 points. She remained in third place and won the fourth Olympic medal for a Japanese female Figure Skater.
“I am more than surprised,” admitted the Japanese Champion. “I saw the score and at first I didn’t even realize that I was in third place. When I realized it, I was just surprised and happy. My coach (Sonoko Nakano) told me that the Gods were watching over me. I hugged her more than ever. In the past four years I have made many frustrating experiences. You can say that this success is the highlight. I am thrilled that my hard work has paid off now this way.”
Kamila Valieva* (ROC), who led following the Short Program, crumbled under the pressure and made several errors to slip to fourth place at 224.09 points.
Wakaba Higuchi (JPN) landed a triple Axel in her program to “The Lion King”, but fell on a triple toe to come fifth at 214.44 points. “I fell on something that I usually don’t miss, but I was able to focus and to enjoy the atmosphere until the end. For the first time I was successful with my triple Axel in the Short Program and Free Skating. I hope that I can keep the memory of this for future competitions and continue to improve,” the 2018 World silver medalist shared.
2020 Youth Olympic Games Champion Young You (KOR) delivered a solid performance to “Les Miserables”, she only underrotated her triple Axel and two triple toes. The Korean Champion finished sixth (213.09 points). “I’m very happy that I didn’t make a lot of mistakes with my short and long (programs) in the Olympics. That’s the happiest thing I felt,” she commented.
Alysa Liu (USA) went for a triple Axel as well, and while she landed it, the rotation was incomplete and the jump was downgraded. The American pulled up one spot to seventh (208.95 points). Loena Hendrickx (BEL) placed eighth (206.79 points).
*Following the hearing of the Ad hoc Division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in the arbitration procedures relating to Figure Skater Kamila Valieva (ROC), the International Skating Union (ISU) duly noted and will respect the ruling namely that the provisional suspension of Kamila Valieva remains lifted. Following on a request of the IOC for reasons of fairness, the ISU allowed a 25th Skater – Jenni Saarinen (FIN) – to participate in the Women Free Skating as Ms. Valieva ranked in the first 24 of the Short Program.