BOSTON, April 3 — Russian teenager Evgenia Medvedeva underscored her status as the new star of women’s skating yesterday with a record-breaking victory at the World Figure Skating Championships.
The 16-year-old broke the record for the highest free skate score ever, amassing 150.10 points to surpass by .04 the mark set by Kim Yuna at the 2010 Olympic Games.
The teenager also scored a notable first by becoming the first world junior champion to win the senior title the following year.
Medvedeva’s spectacular performance set to the soundtrack of Madonna’s film W.E. launched her from third after the short programme to the top of the podium with 223.86 points.
Medvedeva — heavily tipped to win gold heading into the competition — lived up to expectations and then some, nailing every one of her seven triple jumps and two double Axels.
“I don’t have any emotions right now. I left it all on the ice with my performance today. I think I won’t realise soon that I won. One year ago I was still skating in juniors,”Medvedeva said through an interpreter.
“I was actually less nervous than usual and I felt very comfortable out there. I was focused and I took one element at a time.
“This is really an incredible moment for me and it’s going to be a remarkable moment in my life,” added Medvedeva who also won the Grand Prix and European titles this season.
When advised that her score was record-setting, the teen could say only “Wow.”
Veteran Ashley Wagner of the United States skated last and into the silver medal position with an emotionally-charged performance to the Moulin Rouge soundtrack.
She succeeded with seven triple jumps woven into masterful choreography which earned 142.23 on the night — her total score 215.39.
It was almost impossible to hear the music as Wagner entered her final combination spin with the capacity crowd at TD Garden in full roar and on their feet.
“This was absolutely incredible. I don’t think anyone can prepare you for skating last at the world championships after your rivals have skated a great performance,” Wagner said.
The bronze medal went to unheralded Russian Anna Pogorilaya who also skated her Sheherazade programme without any significant faults. Her finale earned 139.71, giving her a total of 213.69.
Overnight leader Gracie Gold of the United States saw her medal hopes evaporate with a fall on her opening jump combo and a planned triple lutz turned to a double.
Her free skate to Stravinski’s Firebird lacked its usual sizzle. She finished with 211.29 overall.
Satoko Miyahara, a gold medal favourite coming into the event, delivered an assured performance but with a total score of 210.61, the Japanese settled for fifth place.
Japanese superstar Mao Asada redeemed her subpar short programme with a sophisticated and technically superb performance to Madame Butterfly. She opened with a soaring triple Axel, although her free foot touched down briefly on the landing.
Asada’s only significant fault was turning a planned triple lutz to a double, but it cost her dearly. She scored 134.43 for the free skate and 200.3 overall, moving up two spots into seventh.
The women’s finale was the final act of this year’s championships, which saw titles go to skaters from four — Russia (women’s), Spain (men’s), Canada (pairs) and France (ice dance).
The 2017 world figure skating championships are to be held in Helsinki next March. — AFP