Olympic womens figure skating

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Left to right: Elizabet Tursynbaeva, Alina Zagitova, Evgenia MedvedevaAssociated Press

Russia’s Alina Zagitova turned in a dominant performance in the free skate at the 2019 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, to capture the gold medal in the ladies competition Friday.

Zagitova finished first in both the short program and free skate, accumulating a total of 237.50 points, which put her well ahead of Kazakhstan’s Elizabet Tursynbaeva, who won silver with 224.76 points.

Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva took bronze with 223.80 points, while Bradie Tennell was the top American finisher with 213.47 points in seventh.

Figure Skaters Online provided a full look at the results:

FigureSkatersOnline @fsonline

Ladies final results: Zagitova wins her first World title; Tursynbaeva earns the silver (her first world medal) and Medvedeva earns the bronze to finish out a tough season! #TeamUSA ladies finish 7 and 9 (not enough to regain the third spot). #WorldFigure https://t.co/K6tylSNQla

With Zagitova’s win, she added to her already impressive medal collection, which includes individual gold and team silver at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Per Gracenote Olympic, Zagitova entered an elite group by accomplishing the double-gold feat at just 16 years of age:

Gracenote Olympic @GracenoteGold

Figure Skating: Sixteen-year-old Alina Zagitova is the youngest in over 20 years to win the Olympic AND world title in ladies’ singles, since Tara Lipinski completed this double at Nagano 1998 at age 15. #WorldFigure2019

Also, Zagitova bounced back from a disappointing showing at the 2019 European Figure Skating Championships that saw her finish second to countrywoman Sofia Samodurova, who came in eighth at the worlds.

While Tursynbaeva was unable to beat Zagitova for gold, she made history in her own right by landing a quadruple Salchow.

According to Olympic Channel, the 19-year-old Tursynbaeva became the first person to land a quad jump in a senior women’s international competition.

If Zagitova remains on her current trajectory, she has a chance to accomplish something that hasn’t been done since 1988, which is winning gold in the ladies singles event at back-to-back Olympic Games.

The last person to do that was East Germany’s Katarina Witt, and while Zagitova still has a long way to go before even thinking about the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, her current form and young age suggest that she could continue to dominate the ladies figure skating scene for years to come.

Teen Zagitova glides to women’s figure skating gold

Date 23 Feb 2018 Tags Olympic News, PyeongChang 2018, Figure Skating PyeongChang 2018

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Alina Zagitova (OAR) produced a sparkling display of skating in her free programme performance to win Olympic gold at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Friday 23 February.

Backing up a world record in the earlier short program, the first of two events to decide the women’s singles figure skating gold medal at PyeongChang 2018, the 15-year-old outperformed Evgenia Medvedeva (OAR), 18, who collected the silver medal with a season-best performance.

Winning the bronze medal was Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN), who also recorded a season-best performance.

Zagitova skated to Don Quixote and, unusually, performed all her showpiece jumps in the second half of her routine when they may be scored more highly. A series of near-flawless jumps including two triple Lutz, a triple flip into a double toe, and a triple flip into a double loop, convinced the judges to score 156.65, just two points shy of setting a second world record for these Games.

“I won. Honestly, my hands are shaking, because I haven’t understood yet that I am an Olympic champion,” Zagitova said.

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Thinking on her feet

Victory came despite her first triple Lutz missing a planned progression into a triple loop. However, the teenager showed composure in performing the required loop on the back of a later Lutz, avoiding penalty marks from the judges.

“We discussed this with my coach, so in case the first combination doesn’t work out, I will do the second Lutz with the loop. Honestly, I was in shock, because I was ready to (do) everything on the first try. But this can happen, each athlete has to deal with it and it is another experience that I went through.” Zagitova becomes the second-youngest women’s skater to win Olympic gold – America’s Tara Lipinski was also 15 when she topped the podium at Nagano 1998, but was about a month younger than Zagitova.

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It felt like a movie

Medvedeva, who skated to the music of Anna Karenina, said she felt “like Anna Karenina in the movie”.

“I put everything out there that I had, I left everything on the ice. I have no regrets. This was my mindset going out – not to leave anything on the table. I didn’t think about errors, not about a clean skate,” she said.

“Honestly, I skated like in a fog, for the first time. It is because I realise that I am enjoying the process, these four minutes are historical and they only belong to me and the whole world is watching only me for those four minutes.”

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Improvement to the power of 10

Osmond, who finished 13th in the same event four years ago in Sochi, was delighted to be on the podium. “Not long after the last Olympics, I didn’t even know that I would be competing at this one. It means so much and to know that I fought so hard in the last four years. My main goal was to place higher than 13th, which I did, and I improved that by 10 placements,” she said.

“I felt strong and in the best shape I have ever been in my entire life. To be able to put out two clean programmes on Olympic ice – it means so much to me.”

Tags Olympic News , PyeongChang 2018 , Figure Skating

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Tara Lipinski

Tara Lipinski, in full Tara Kristen Lipinski, (born June 10, 1982, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.), American figure skater who in 1998 became the youngest female in her sport to win an Olympic gold medal.

Top Questions

What was Tara Lipinski’s major achievement?

American figure skater Tara Lipinski in 1998 became the youngest female in her sport to win an Olympic gold medal.

How old was Tara Lipinski when she started ice skating?

Tara Lipinski was six years old when she started ice skating. From age three she had taken roller-skating classes and private lessons. She won her age group’s gold medal at the roller-skating national championships when she was nine years old. She quickly transferred her roller-skating abilities to the ice.

What was Tara Lipinski’s professional career like?

After winning the Olympics in 1998, Tara Lipinski turned professional. Although she won her first professional competition, she was plagued by injuries during her professional career. Her off-ice commitments included television guest-star turns and talk show appearances.

Lipinski planned for Olympic gold for most of her life. At age three she began roller-skating classes and soon was taking private lessons; she won her age group’s gold medal at the national championships when she was nine. By that time Lipinski had been ice-skating for about three years, and when her family moved to Houston in 1991 she focused on that sport. Most mornings she was on the ice by 4:00 am, and she spent her summers training with coaches in Delaware. She and her mother moved there in 1993 so that she could get the coaching she needed to compete at the highest levels; her father visited on weekends. The move paid off the following year when she became the Olympic Festival’s youngest female gold medalist. In late 1995 Lipinski and her mother moved to the Detroit suburbs, and Richard Callaghan became Lipinski’s coach. Six weeks later, competing at the senior level at the U.S. championships, she placed third. Though she finished only 15th in the world championships in 1996, a year later she came in first. That victory made her the youngest world champion ever, a record that, because of new International Skating Union age limits, might never be broken.

At the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, Lipinski won the women’s figure-skating gold medal. At age 15 years and 255 days, she became the youngest female to capture the Olympic figure-skating title, erasing a distinction held for 70 years by Sonja Henie, who was 60 days older than Lipinski when she won her gold medal.

Following her Olympic victory, Lipinski decided not to participate in the 1998 world championships in March, and in early April she announced that she was turning professional so that her family could be together. Later that month she won her first professional competition, Skate TV, with a perfect score of all 10s.

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Lipinski was plagued by injuries in her professional career, most notably a hip injury incurred in 1998. She nevertheless toured with Stars on Ice for several seasons. Her off-ice commitments included television guest-star turns, talk show appearances, and a biographical CBS special. She also published several books, including Tara Lipinski: Triumph On Ice. She became a commentator on figure-skating television broadcasts in 2014. In 2006 she was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Wrong Russian won figure skating gold medal

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea – The wrong woman won the Olympic figure skating gold medal Friday afternoon.

Evgenia Medvedeva, the 18-year-old two-time defending world champion, is her sport’s best example of a complete skater, a masterful jumper and expressive artist whose programs are built to honor skating as it was meant to be: with all the requisite physical muscle of the toughest triple jumps, but the subtle, well-placed, connective balance of a true performance.

Alina Zagitova, the 15-year-old who charged onto the scene while Medvedeva was out for two months with a broken bone in her foot, is her sport’s best example of a physically gifted opportunist, racking up valuable points any which way she can, including backloading her long program so she doesn’t even try a jump until she’s been on the ice for more than two minutes.

So who won the 2018 Olympic women’s figure skating gold medal, perhaps the most coveted gold medal at any Winter Games?

The one who gamed the system.

Zagitova, the sport’s newest new thing — a junior skater in Medvedeva’s home rink unknown to all but the most intense sequin heads less than a year ago — is now the second youngest women’s Olympic gold medalist ever, just four weeks older than 1998 winner Tara Lipinski was back then.

More: Mirai Nagasu unloads after Olympic flop, says free skate audition for Dancing with the Stars

More: U.S. women provide chills and spills but no medals in 2018 Winter Olympics figure skating

The parallels between this competition and 1998 are striking, with Medvedeva playing the role of 17-year-old Michelle Kwan, and Zagitova the 15-year-old Lipinski, only with far less international experience. Lipinski was the 1997 world champion heading into the Nagano Games, but was still considered a huge underdog in her epic contest with the iconic Kwan.

Past being prologue, we should have known the judges were going to do it again. Figure skating chose the jumper over the artist once more, even though Zagitova and Medvedeva have plenty of both qualities in them.

But when it came down to it, when the sport, through its nine judges, was doing the choosing, it went with the better jumper. Again.

The margin was small, just 1.31 points, combining the short and long programs, 239.57 to 238.26.

The judges tied the two, down to the 100th of a point, in the long program. That was, in a word, ridiculous. Medvedeva’s program deserved a more significant boost in the long program component score (the artistic score) than it received: 77.47 to 75.03 for Zagitova.

Had that happened, it would have more than offset the slight edge Zagitova had technically because she goes for a tougher triple-triple than Medvedeva does.

But the judges had been propping up Zagitova’s long program component score as the 2017-18 season wore on. In a September 2017 competition, the same long program earned Zagitova a 67.52 PCS. By November it was up to 69.54. Same skater. Same program.

And now, a huge, almost unprecedented leap to 75.03.

No wonder Medvedeva looked crestfallen when her score popped up and she saw a No. 2 by her name. After two seasons of being the odds-on favorite to win the 2018 Olympic gold medal, she fell victim to a numbers game.

The two Russian (Olympic Athletes from Russia, to be precise here) training partners shared a long hug a moment later, with Zagitova patting Medvedeva’s head.

“I can’t say anything because I am not a judge,” Medvedeva said later. “I did everything. I did my best.”

Olympic decisions usually create a ripple effect in the sport. When Lipinski beat Kwan, it was clear the sport’s balance had tipped in favor of doing as many triple jumps as possible.

The impact this time could trickle down to the lowest levels of the sport, U.S. Olympic coach Audrey Weisiger said in a text message after the event ended.

“Every parent will now want their kid to have a program with all the jumps at the end, in the second half of their program, because that’s what the Olympic champion is doing,” she said.

This is not a good thing. In fact, skating’s international leaders will likely change the rules to prevent a skater from doing what Zagitova just did, which would be a fitting postscript to this bizarre event.

And what of these two young women? They spoke of going for more titles and even of an Olympics four years in the future, but what are the odds of that?

Four years ago, two other young Russian women were all the rage at the Sochi Games. Adelina Sotnikova, then 17, was the surprising and controversial winner of the gold medal in the women’s competition, while Julia Lipnitskaia, then 15, helped Russia win the team gold medal.

And now? Sotnikova hasn’t competed in two years, while Lipnitskaia announced her retirement due to complications from anorexia at the age of 19 last August.

To think that just one Olympics ago, we — and they — were most concerned about if they could land all their triple jumps.

Germany celebrates beating Canada in the men’s ice hockey semifinals. David E. Klutho, USA TODAY Sports Leif Nordgren (USA) reacts after the mens biathlon 4×7.5km relay. Jeffrey Swinger, USA TODAY Sports The referees break up a fight between Germany and Canada. Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports Germany goaltender Danny Aus Den Birken celebrates after beating Canada. David E. Klutho, USA TODAY Sports Eve Muirhead (GBR) reacts in the women’s semifinal match against Sweden. Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports Germany forward Frank Mauer celebrates scoring a goal against Canada. David E. Klutho, USA TODAY Sports Kjeld Nuis (NED) won gold in the men’s 1,000m Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports Germany goaltender Danny Aus Den Birken and defenseman Christian Ehrhoff collide in the second period against Canada. Andrew Nelles, USA TODAY Sports Germany forward Marcel Goc shoots the puck against Canada. David E. Klutho, USA TODAY Sports Anna Hasselborg (SWE) throws the stone in the women’s semifinal match against Great Britain. Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports Germany players check Canada in the men’s hockey semifinals. Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports Czech Republic defenseman Adam Polasek (61) checks Russian forward Sergei Shirokov (52). Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports Marc Kennedy (CAN) throws the stone in the mens bronze medal match against Switzerland. Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports Russian forward Kirill Kaprizov celebrates a goal against the Czech Republic. Eric Bolte, USA TODAY Sports Switzerland celebrates the win against Canada in the curling bronze-medal match. Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports Czech Republic goaltender Pavel Francouz makes a save against Russia. Andrew Nelles, USA TODAY Sports Russian players celebrate with fans after defeating Czech Republic in the semifinals. Andrew Nelles, USA TODAY Sports Marten Liiv (EST) competes in the speed skating 1,000m event. Daniel Powers, USA TODAY Sports Joey Mantia (USA) and Joel Dufter (GER) compete in the speed skating 1,000m. Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports Silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva (OAR) poses for a photo with gold medalist Alina Zagitova (OAR) and bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) in the women’s free skate program during. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Karen Chen (USA) competes in the women’s free skate program. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports Bradie Tennell (USA) competes in the women’s free skate program. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Kaetlyn Osmond (CAN) competes in the women’s free skate program. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports Evgenia Medvedeva (OAR) competes in the women’s free skate program. Robert Hanashiro, USA TODAY Sports Russian athlete Maria Sotskova competes in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Hanashiro, Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports American Karen Chen competes in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Korea’s Dabin Choi competes in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Switzerland’s Fanny Smith, Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund and Canada’s Brittany Phelan and Kelsey Serwa compete in in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports Canada’s Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan celebrate winning the gold and silver medals after competing in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports Canada’s Kelsey Serwa, Switzerland’s Fanny Smith, Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund and Canada’s Brittany Phelan compete in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Guy Rhodes, USA TODAY Sports Canada’s Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan celebrate after competing in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports Finland’s Emmi Peltonen competes in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports German’s Nicole Schott performs in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Slovakia’s Nicole Rajicova competes in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund, Switzerland’s Fanny Smith, Czech Republic’s Nikol Kucerova and France’s Marielle Berger Sabbatelcompete in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports Sweden’s Lisa Andersson and Australia’s Sami Kennedy-Simcompete in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports Italy’s Debora Pixner and Canada’s Brittany Phelan competein the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports France’s Mae Berenice Meite competes in the women’s free skate program during the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic Winter Games at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Switzerland’s Alexia Paganini competes in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx performs in the women’s free skate program during the Winter Olympics at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY Sports Switzerland’s Fanny Smith, France’s Marielle Berger Sabbatel and Japan’s Reina Umehara compete in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports Sweden’s Lisa Andersson and Switzerland’s Talina Gantenbein compete in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports Switzerland’s Talina Gantenbein and Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund compete in the ladies’ freestyle skating ski cross event during the Winter Olympics at Phoenix Snow Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Jack Gruber, USA TODAY Sports

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As the world prepares to cheer on their nation’s best athletes at the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, we’ll be focusing our attention on figure skating, the rare gem of a sport that truly has something for everyone: sparkly designer costumes, real athletic prowess, and enough campiness and drama to inspire an Oscar-nominated film. Before you tune into the competition next week, read on to learn a little bit about each figure skater and ice dancer on Team USA.

Bradie Tennell

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

When her placement on Team USA was announced, 19-year-old Tennell, of Carpentersville, Illinois, was a “virtual unknown.” She won the junior national figure-skating championship back in 2015, but a stress fracture in her back confined her to a back brace during the spring and summer of 2015 and 2016. She surprised everyone this year with her first-place victory at nationals, where she skated in a Cinderella costume to a medley of songs from the movie. Regarding her decision to use Cinderella as her theme, she told Team USA, “With all the struggles I’ve had in the past, I felt like this season was a good time to skate to this music.” According to Cosmopolitan, her go-to mantra, which happens to be about falling, is also from the movie: “Dare if you want to. Don’t fear you’ll fall. Take a chance, ‘cause it’s better than never to chance it at all.”

Mirai Nagasu

Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Nagasu, 24, of Arcadia, California, possesses the ability to do a triple axel, the most difficult of all the jumps. The New York Times predicts that if she can land it in South Korea this year, she could be the first American woman to win an Olympic figure-skating medal since Sasha Cohen won silver at the 2006 Olympics. Nagasu’s career, however, hasn’t been without drama: In 2014, she finished third at the U.S. national championships, but in a controversial decision by the judges, her spot on Team USA was given to the fourth-place winner, Ashley Wagner. Although she was extremely disappointed, she didn’t let that setback deter her. “I am super happy with how things have gone,” she told Team USA. “I think I really, really put in my vote for the Olympic team.”

Karen Chen

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Chen, of Fremont, California, put herself on the figure-skating map in 2015 by becoming a bronze medalist at that year’s nationals. Two years later, in 2017, the 18-year-old became the national champion, amassing even more attention. Now, she’s earned herself a spot on Team USA by finishing third place at this year’s nationals — all while battling the flu. When she found out she made the team, she nearly lost it. “I screamed. I jumped up. I was exhausted, too, but I had just enough energy to scream,” Chen told the Washington Post. She also wrote a book called Finding the Edge about her life as a figure skater that includes a foreword by her mentor and Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi.

Nathan Chen

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Chen, 18, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was called a “shoo-in” for Team USA by the New York Times. He’s this year’s men’s figure skating national champion, upholding his first-place title from last year. He’s also the first figure skater in the world to land five quadruple jumps in a single program, making him the only U.S. figure skater slated to win gold in South Korea this year. “Ultimately, this is the dream that I’ve wanted for a long, long time,” he told the Salt Lake Tribune. “I really strived toward my whole life. I’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to be on that Olympic team.” Chen was also featured in a 60-second “Best of U.S.” athlete commercial film, which aired during the Super Bowl.

Adam Rippon

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This 28-year-old Los Angeles native received fourth place at this year’s figure-skating national championships. He’s the first openly gay U.S. athlete to qualify for the Olympics, and is perhaps most well-known for his public hatred of Mike Pence because of Pence’s alleged support of gay-conversion therapy. In fact, Rippon has stated that he refuses to meet Pence, who will lead the U.S. delegation at the Olympics, at the traditional meet and greet between the delegate and the athletes. Still, he’s proud to represent the U.S. and won’t be actively protesting. “I’m a U.S. athlete representing my country. I will continue to share my story, but I will participate in no form of protest,” he told USA Today. “I have a lot of respect for this opportunity. What makes America great is that we’re all so different. It’s 2018 and being an openly gay man and an athlete, that is part of the face of America now.”

Vincent Zhou

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Zhou, of Palo Alto, California, won third place at this year’s figure-skating national championships. Like Chen, the 17-year-old was a given for Team USA this year, according to the Washington Post. Previously, Zhou won second place at the 2017 national championships and was the first junior in history to land a quadruple jump. “There’s a certain feeling that comes with the word Olympian, and it’s really hard to describe,” he told the Washington Post. “To have that attached to my name, it’s more than I could ever ask for in my entire life.” In Zhou’s spare time, he likes to hike and write poetry, according to Cosmopolitan.

Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim

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Alexa, 26, and Chris, 29, both from Colorado Springs, Colorado, are husband and wife and this year’s figure-skating national champions. Although they won nationals in 2015, Scimeca-Knierim battled a horrific stomach illness that forced the pair to miss most of the 2016 season, but they returned to compete in 2017 at the ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships. Now, they’re the first married pair from the U.S. to make the Olympic team since 1998, according to NBC. “This proves that everything I went through was so worth it,” Scimeca-Knierim said at a press conference. “I’ll never forget how hard we had to work to get back to the place that we are now.”

Madison Chock and Evan Bates

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Chock, 25, and Bates, 28 are this year’s ice-dancing national bronze medalists. Previously, the Michigan-based pair won nationals in 2015 and received a silver medal in 2017. They have been skating together since summer 2011, most of that time as friends, although they went on a first date ten years ago. But now, they are officially dating, and Chock told NBC their romantic relationship has only strengthened their relationship on the ice. “It feels completely genuine and real,” she said. “It makes training so much more fun and it brings us closer together every day. We’re working together, working towards the same things. When you’re doing that with someone that you love, it really is so much more meaningful.” Chock also designs all of her own skating costumes, including Bates’s, according to Cosmopolitan.

Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue

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Hubbell, 24, from Okemos, Michigan, and Donohue, 27, from Madison, Connecticut, are this year’s ice-dancing national champions. Over the past few years, the pair only received as high as third place at nationals, but this year — in their words — they “finally did it.” They also dated for two-and-a-half years, but ultimately broke up because their personalities made being together all the time feel “explosive,” according to Team USA’s website. But Hubbell doesn’t regret their relationship, and ultimately believes their breakup confirmed how much they love ice dancing. “When we broke up and put our focus on our career, the fact that we were able to very seamlessly commit to each other and not let that affect our skating, we realized how serious we both were about our goals and our passion, and I think that our relationship got better and even closer — just in a different way,” she said.

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani

Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

This brother-sister ice-dancing team, known as “ShibSibs,” are this year’s national silver medalists. They are also two-time national champions, placing first in 2017 and 2016. Twenty-three-year-old Maia was the first to get into skating and competed as a single before introducing 26-year-old Alex, who admits that at first he was “not that into skating,” to the sport. They have been competing as a pair since the spring of 2004, and the fact that they don’t default to romantic songs means they’ve been able to get creative with their programs. “I think a lot of our success comes from how close we are and the bond that we have,” Alex told Reuters. “I think what we have is very unique.”

Luca Bruno/Associated Press

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond took gold in the ladies event at the 2018 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Milan on Friday after a flawless performance in the free skate.

The 22-year-old scooped top spot ahead of Japan’s Wakaba Higuchi and Satoko Miyahara who took silver and bronze. Olympic champion Alina Zagitov finished out of the medals and down in seventh place.

ISU Figure Skating showed the final results:

ISU Figure Skating @ISU_Figure

Osmond began the day in fourth after Wednesday’s short programme but pulled it out of the bag with a free skate performance that netted 150.50 points, per Skate Canada:

Skate Canada / Patinage Canada @SkateCanada

150.50 points for Kaetlyn Osmond for her Black Swan free program! #Milano2018 #WorldFigure 150.50 points pour le programme libre du Cygne noir de @kaetlyn_23!Osmond! #Milan2018 #MondiauxPatinage https://t.co/4jJHqSZOLb

The 22-year-old said afterwards it was one of her best skates of the year, per ISU Figure Skating:

ISU Figure Skating @ISU_Figure

💬 “It was hard coming back from the Olympics. I am happy being able to put out two strong programs; and one of the best Free Skatings of all year” @kaetlyn_23 🇨🇦 leads with 4 skaters to go. #⃣ #WorldFigure #Milano2018 https://t.co/xLjtGSDWLP

Zagitova had been the big favourite going into the competition after victory at the 2018 Winter Olympics and was in contention for the gold after finishing second in the short programme.

However, the 15-year-old Russian could not find the form she showed in Pyeongchang and slipped out of the podium places with her free skate. NBC’s Nick Zaccardi explained where it all went wrong:

Nick Zaccardi @nzaccardi

Alina Zagitova falls 3 times in her worlds free skate. Can Carolina Kostner, up next, become the oldest women’s world champion in history?

It was also a great day for Japan with both Higuchi and Miyahara on the podium as they profited from Zagitova and overnight leader Carolina Kostner being unable to maintain their form. Sports journalist Beverley Smith was impressed with Higuchi:

Beverley Smith @BevSmithWrites

Wikaba Higuchi was an unstoppable force today. A 17yo with lots of upside. #Milano2018

America narrowly missed out on a medal with Bradie Tennell coming home in fourth place while Mirai Nagasu finished out of the top 10 in 11th place.

The action switches back to the men’s event on Saturday with the free skate taking place as well as the ice dance free dance.

The revolution in women’s figure skating is being televised.

That’s a turn of phrase on an admittedly dated reference (Google it). The point is we all have been able to witness, from TV broadcasts or live streams, a season with the most radical change in the sport since child prodigy Sonja Henie, then age 11, began doing jumps in her programs nearly a century ago.

What we watched other child prodigies do at last week’s Grand Prix Final boggled the minds of even those who saw it coming, because no one imagined it coming this soon and to this degree.

This essentially Russian revolution, which has taken maximum advantage of the scoring system and youthful body types to overthrow longtime technical norms of women’s skating, has split the discipline into haves and have-nots.

There are those who have the high-scoring quadruple jumps or multiple triple Axels to seize all the medals. And those who do not have those big jumps and, as of now, no chance to regain the podiums from which they have been summarily ousted.

Given what already had happened this season, it was not surprising that Russian first-year seniors Alena Kostornaia, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova swept the medals in the senior Final. Each had qualified by winning two of the six events in the Grand Prix series.

What is surprising is how far and fast the Troika – as NBC commentator and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir artfully nicknamed them, in a reference to a traditional Russian three-horse sled – has pushed the envelope and how far and fast they have left everyone else behind.

And imagine what the gap could be if women were allowed to do quads in the short program, which likely will be proposed at next year’s International Skating Union congress.

A year ago, it was shocking when the Troika, then all juniors internationally, swept the medals at the senior Russian Championships. Now it will be shocking if they don’t do it again at this year’s Russian Championships, which take place Dec. 24-29.

No women were regularly doing quads until last season. Consider what the Troika has done just this autumn:

*Kostornaia, 16, did not attempt a triple Axel in international competition before this season. Now she is doing one in the short program and two in the free, and all three were very well executed as she took gold at the Grand Prix Final.

*Shcherbakova, 15, began her international season the way she had finished last year at junior worlds, with one quad Lutz in the free skate; at the Grand Prix Final, she did two quad Lutzes (one clean, one under-rotated) and attempted her first quad flip (fall) in finishing second.

*Trusova, 15, began this season after having landed quad Lutz, quad Salchow and quad toe loop as a junior, but she was not attempting more than two in a program. In her senior Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada, she did four quads (three clean). At the Grand Prix Final, she added an excellent quad flip for five free skate quads, one of which she doubled and three of which were clean. She also attempted (and under-rotated) a triple Axel for the first time in the short program.

Even with the mistakes, the quads still racked up enough points for Shcherbakova that she beat a flawless Kostornaia in the free skate. And they gave Trusova a 20.71-point overall margin over fourth finisher Rika Kihira, 17, of Japan, who already had mastered triple Axels but has dropped so far from contention against the Troika that Kihira tried (and fell on) her first quad in competition.

And you have to feel a little sorry for reigning Olympic and world champion Alina Zagitova of Russia, at the technical cutting edge of her sport less than two years ago, now utterly overmatched – and still just 17 years old.

Zagitova’s free skate, an error-filled mess, dropped her from second after a fine short (less than six points behind Kostornaia) to sixth overall, more than 42 points behind Kostornaia and nearly 28 behind the third-place Trusova.

Even had she skated cleanly, having a long program with no quads or triple Axels meant the base value of Zagitova’s elements was more than 30 points less than Trusova’s, more than 20 less than Shcherbakova’s and about five less than Kostornaia’s. Zagitova would have needed otherworldly Grades of Execution marks and program component scores to compete for a medal.

Zagitova acknowledged the futility of her current situation by telling a Russian TV station Friday she was effectively putting her competitive career on hold by withdrawing from the Russian Championships and not asking to be considered for selection for either the European or world championships.

According to a Eurosport summary of the interview, Zagitova said she needed to find new motivation to continue competing. The story quoted her as saying she intended to do shows and keep training under her longtime coach, Eteri Tutberidze, who also coaches the Troika.

Zagitova also said she intended to learn new elements and ways to go into jumps.

“I need to find the desire to want to go into a competition,” she said, according to a translation. “The athletes who have gone down that road will understand me.”

Those who decry how much the quads have thrown the sport’s athletic-artistic balance out of whack found some satisfaction in Kostornaia’s having won with a performance and interpretive quality rare for a skater of her age.

Yet Kostornaia also accumulated some 21 free skate points for her triple Axels, about 13 more points than fifth-place finisher Bradie Tennell of the U.S. got for two clean double Axels. Even if Tennell had not made some relatively small mistakes, there was no way she could make up that difference.

And remember that if Trusova had cleanly landed the quad she doubled and the quad that resulted in a fall, she could have overcome not only her short program mistake but also the margin Kostornaia built in program components with clearly superior skating skills and artistry.

Tennell, 21, the top U.S. woman at the 2018 Olympics (ninth) and the last two World Championships (sixth and seventh), this season has displayed the best overall level of skating in her career. But a lack of quads and triple Axels has dropped her exponentially further behind the leaders.

Yet Tennell presses on.

“She may never catch them, but we keep pushing forward, trying to improve on both components and technical,” said Denise Myers, who coaches Tennell. “She is not settling for where she is now.”

About a month ago, I began to wonder if changing the factoring of the five Program Component Scores (PCS) so that they were the same for women as for men would level a playing field that has tilted so dramatically toward the jumpers.

Since the International Judging System was introduced in 2004, factors of .8 (short program) and 1.6 (long) have been applied to the raw total of each woman’s component score. They are 1.0 and 2.0 for men.

The logic behind the difference was until last season, a men’s free skate was 30 seconds longer with one more element. (Why it also applied to the short program is unclear, since the number of elements and time have been the same.)

“The idea of possible new factors for the program components for men was evaluated in the past season, because for the top skaters the technical score in the last years had considerably increased,” Italy’s Fabio Bianchetti, chair of the ISU technical committee for singles and pairs, said in an email.

“At the moment, for the majority of the , the is still corresponding to about 50 percent of the total score. In some cases, the relation might not be exact, but a rule must consider all the skaters and not only the top five.

“Now we are dealing with the same situation for the ladies. This is something totally new, and we will study the problem during the season. But again, we cannot look at a couple of skaters only.”

In a recent interview with Nick Zaccardi of NBC Sports, Weir seconded the idea of giving the women’s PCS scores the same weight as the men’s.

“It would give them a little better chance,” Samuel Auxier, an international judge and former U.S. Figure Skating, said in a text message last month.

So much has changed on the jump front since then that it turns out using the men’s PCS factors would have had almost no impact on the women’s results at the Grand Prix Final.

With some computational help from skatingscores.com, I recalculated the PCS scores from the Final with the 1.0 and 2.0 factors, added them to the TES scores and found just one difference: Kostornaia would have moved from second to first in the free skate. The overall and short program finish order would have been the same.

One of these (factor .8 / 1.6) shows the actual scores. Skatingscores.com The Refactored scores show what they would be with factors of 1.0 and 2.0. Skatingscores.com

So, the 20% adjustment of PCS factor gender equality is not enough to put women without the most difficult jumps into medal contention.

And as Bianchetti pointed out, making that change or a more substantial one in the women’s factoring must take into consideration not only a few exceptional new talents.

“I truly do not believe that anyone seriously thought a lady would deliver four quads so quickly and especially at such a young age,” Ted Barton of Canada, who was involved in the creation of IJS, said in a text message last month. “Alysa Liu is a good American example of what the present is and future might be.”

(And, yes, there is an elephant in the room: whether the young talents are getting exaggerated PCS scores from judges smitten by their jumping. That’s a question for another day – or lifetime.)

Yet there is every indication the Troika are only the leading edge of a blizzard of jumping phenoms, not only from Russia. After all, Junior Grand Prix Final silver medalist Liu, 14, last season became the youngest singles champion in U.S. history with three triple Axels, and she has added a quad Lutz this season.

“The factoring and calculations were developed on what was being done at that point,” Barton said. “Now that skaters have shown new possibilities, the technical committees will look to see what adjustments can and should be made. Interesting times, indeed.”

For now, though, we are seeing in real time the unsettling effect revolutions can have.

And it seems surreal.

Philip Hersh, who has covered figure skating at the last 11 Winter Olympics, is a special contributor to NBCSports.com/figure-skating.

MORE: What’s next for Nathan Chen after third consecutive Grand Prix Final win?

As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

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Full results from the 2020 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Greensboro, N.C. …

Women’s Final Results
Gold: Alysa Liu — 235.52
Silver: Mariah Bell — 225.21
Bronze: Bradie Tennell — 220.86
4. Karen Chen — 193.65
5. Amber Glenn — 186.57
6. Starr Andrews — 181.78
7. Sierra Venetta — 176.37
8. Courtney Hicks — 175.28
9. Gabriella Izzo — 174.41
10. Rena Ikenishi — 171.81
11. Maxine Marie Bautista — 171.46
12. Gracie Gold — 161.75
13. Emily Zhang — 158.36
14. Paige Rydberg — 150.12
15. Sarah Jung — 149.38
16. Alex Evans — 142.70
17. Caitlin Ha — 139.37
18. Alyssa Rich — 138.54

MORE: World championships team named | Why retired Adam Rippon was at nationals

Men’s Final Results
Gold: Nathan Chen — 330.17
Silver: Jason Brown — 292.88
Bronze. Tomoki Hiwatashi — 278.08
4. Vincent Zhou — 275.23
5. Andrew Torgashev — 260.64
6. Aleksei Krasnozhon — 241.32
7. Camden Pulkinen — 236.08
8. Dinh Tran — 220.88
9. Sean Rabbitt — 213.46
10. Yaroslav Paniot — 209.79
11. Ryan Dunk — 199.45
12. William Hubbart — 195.87
13. Jimmy Ma — 193.85
14. Jordan Moeller — 191.25
15. Joonsoo Kim — 177.03
WD. Emmanuel Savary

Pairs’ Final Results
Gold: Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Christopher Knierim — 216.15
Silver: Jessica Calalang/Brian Johnson — 213.57
Bronze: Tarah Kayne/Danny O’Shea — 204.07
4. Ashley Cain-Gribble/Timothy LeDuc — 197.12
5. Haven Denney/Brandon Frazier — 186.25
6. Audrey Lu/Misha Mitrofanov — 181.49
7. Olivia Serafini/Mervin Tran — 171.21
8. Jessica Pfund/Joshua Santillan — 165.93
9. Nica Digerness/Danny Neudecker — 164.12
10. Laiken Lockley/Keenan Prochnow — 147.07
11. Maria Mokhova/Ivan Mokhov — 143.29
12. Allison Timlen/Justin Highgate-Brutman — 135.10

Ice Dance Final Results
Gold: Madison Chock/Evan Bates — 221.86
Silver: Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue — 217.19
Bronze: Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker — 201.16
4. Christina Carreira/Anthony Ponomarenko — 194.16
5. Caroline Green/Michael Parsons — 180.25
6. Lorraine McNamara/Quinn Carpenter — 173.67
7. Eva Pate/Logan Bye — 155.82
8. Livvy Shilling/Alexander Petrov — 133.93
9. Bailey Melton/Ryan O’Donnell — 96.02

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MORE: 2020 figure skating season TV schedule

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As a reminder, you can watch the events from the 2019-20 figure skating season live and on-demand with the ‘Figure Skating Pass’ on NBC Sports Gold. Go to NBCsports.com/gold/figure-skating to sign up for access to every ISU Grand Prix and championship event, as well as domestic U.S. Figure Skating events throughout the season. NBC Sports Gold gives subscribers an unprecedented level of access on more platforms and devices than ever before.

Figure Skating at the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Games

The United States had been the dominant nation in singles skating since World War II, winning every men’s Olympic title, and all the women’s titles since 1952. But their great skaters of the 50s, and among the women, and and the Jenkins brothers, and , had all retired. There were a number of younger skaters expected to move up, notably , who won the 1961 US Ladies’ Championship and the North American title. The 1961 World Championships were scheduled for Praha. The US team was travelling to Praha from New York, with a stopover in Brussels. Tragically, on their approach to Brussels, the Sabena Boeing 707 crashed near the airport, killing all 73 people on the plane, including the entire US figure skating team, coaches, officials, and family members. As a consequence, the World Championships were cancelled. The United States figure skating program had to start from scratch, and they would win only one medal at the 1964 Winter Olympics, even that somewhat of a surprise.

The three standard events – men’s, ladies’, and pairs – were held indoors at the Olympic Ice Stadium. Men and women skated compulsory figures and a free skating program, with the compulsory figures counting towards 60% of the final score, while pairs skated a single free skate program. Overall placements were determined by the majority placement system. This was the last international competition in which pairs skating consisted of only a single program. The 1963 and 1964 European Championships had seen the pairs skate a compulsory and free program, and at the 1964 World Championships, held shortly after the Innsbruck Olympics, this would become the standard. By 1968, the Olympic pairs program would consist of two phases, later to be renamed the short and long program. Controversy enveloped the medal standings in the 1964 pairs program, and it would not be resolved until the 1980s (some participants would say it is still not resolved) – details can be found in the description of the pairs event.