The Iceberg Skating Palace erupted in cheers and an array of all things red and white, as Russia’s own Adelina Sotnikova skated her way to an Olympic upset Thursday, beating out a field that included South Korean favorite Yuna Kim and American hopefuls Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner.
The crowd clapped along to the music as hometown favorite Sotnikova, in a sparkly gray dress, flawlessly leaped into the air and delivered a near-perfect routine. The Russian swiftly spun like a top, seeming like she would never stop and making us feel like we were watching the end of Inception. She capped her performance with some celebratory tears right there on the ice.
The new champion dethroned Kim, the 2010 reigning ice queen, forcing the South Korean athlete to settle for the silver medal. Kim came out on top in the ladies’ short program and was expected to nab the gold again but despite a magnificent series of Lutzes, loops and Salchows (or in ice-skating-for-dummies terms, twists, turns and leaps), she could not repeat her gold-grabbing past.
Italy’s Carolina Kostner delivered an artistic and elegant performance, leading her to the third place spot and also giving Italy its first-ever figure skating medal.
Americans had to put on their best Wagner faces when the USA failed to make it onto the podium, with Gold falling into fourth place and Wagner dancing into seventh. Gold’s extremely high jumps were not enough for a medal, and Wagner’s glitzy, gold costume and intense facial expressions left her with a “not bad” (but not good enough) performance, as she said when her score was posted.
Meanwhile, not far away, Canada’s national women’s hockey team looked like it was going to lose the gold medal to its American adversaries. The U.S. team had a 2-0 advantage until late in the game, when their neighbors to the north staged a comeback that forced the match into overtime.
Ultimately, Canadian forward Marie-Philip Poulin scored a goal that brought the final score to 3-2, bringing home the gold and dashing the Americans’ hopes for the medal that has eluded them for years.
What was your favorite moment from Thursday’s coverage of the games? Whose figure skating routine blew you away? Did you catch Maddie Bowman nab the gold in women’s skiing half pipe? Sound off in the comments!