SOCHI, February 21, 2:34 /ITAR-TASS/. Russian figure skater Adelina Sitnikova won Olympic gold on Thursday, February 20, in tight competition, Minister of Sport Vitaly Mutko said.
“This medal was hard to predict as competition in ladies’ figure skating is unbelievably tight. Carolina Kostner of Italy, Kim Yuna of the Republic of Korea, and Ashley Wagner of the United States put up tremendous performances. Mao Asada of Japan would have competed for the pedestal too had she not made a mistake in the short programme. But Adelina won it despite such fierce competition. She is great! I know she was upset to have not been included in the team event, but she was the best in singles,” the minister said.
Mutko also lauded another Russian skater, Yulia Lipnitskaya, 15, who had earlier won gold in the team event but was fifth in ladies’ singles.
“Yulia did her best to win the team competition and was first twice in the short and free programmes. She was stronger than her competitors both physically and morally. She snatched the victory for the team. At the age of 15 she has already achieved so much. She is great and very talented. She has a very strong character,” Mutko said.
Sotnikova broke her streak of bad luck this season by winning her first Olympic gold medal, having scored 224.59 points after the short and free programmes. Her medal is also the first gold ever won by Soviet and Russian figure skaters in ladies’ singles at the Olympic Games.
“The whole Olympic season was quite bumpy, but we coped with that,” Sotnikova said, referring to the European Figure Skating Championships in Budapest where she had lost her gold medal to Lipnitskaya.
Sotnikova said she was very angry when she had not been included in the team competition. “I said to myself after the team competition that I must win the Olympics in singles. I was fighting only with myself. Maybe it helped that Yulia Lipnitskaya participated in the team event. This made me angry,” the skater said.
She thanked the fans for their support at Sochi’s Iceberg Arena. “I wanted to thank the fans and make it interesting for them. I was overwhelmed with emotions in the end,” she recalled.
Mutko said he had hoped deep down at heart that the figure skaters would win more medals at the Sochi Olympics than was initially expected. On Thursday, they won the third gold medal to add to the silver and bronze ones won earlier.