x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sotnikova surges to earn historic women’s figure skating gold for Russia

Canada celebrate momentous day with victories in women's curling and ice hockey

Adelina Sotnikova of Russia made an unexpected improvement on her earlier score to win the women's figure skating gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 20, 2014.  Paul Gilham / Getty Images
Adelina Sotnikova of Russia made an unexpected improvement on her earlier score to win the women's figure skating gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 20, 2014. Paul Gilham / Getty Images

Adelina Sotnikova gave Russia their first Olympic gold medal in women’s figure skating with a stunning upset of defending champion Kim Yu-na of South Korea on Thursday.

Sotnikova was considered the Olympics host nation’s No 2 skater behind Julia Lipnitskaia, but she soared while her teammate struggled.

Kim won silver, followed by Carolina Kostner of Italy, who claimed bronze. Kim was trying to be the first repeat winner of the women’s skating gold medal since Katarina Witt of Germany in 1988. The American Gracie Gold finished fourth, followed by Lipnitskaia. Mao Asada of Japan recovered from a disastrous short programme to finish sixth after the free skate.

Despite an error when Sotnikova two-footed a double loop in her combination jump, the teenager improved her free skate score by a massive 18 points. Kim and Kostner gave error-free performances.

“I have faith that the judges made the right decision,” the former world champion Kostner said.

In women’s curling, Canada denied Sweden a third straight Olympic title with a tension-filled 6-3 victory, completing an unbeaten campaign of 11 wins – an unprecedented achievement in the women’s game.

“I thought, ‘Wow, just wow’,” said Jennifer Jones, the Canada skip. “We did it. We did it in a way that we played so consistent all week on the biggest stage for the sport. We came out and played our best.”

Canada, who ended a 16-year wait for women’s curling gold, broke up a scrappy, error-strewn final by stealing two points in the ninth end when Maria Prytz, throwing Sweden’s final rock, was short with a draw and bumped another of her rocks away from the button.

In women’s ice hockey, Marie-Philip Poulin scored the equaliser and the game winner in overtime to lift Canada to a 3-2 win over the United States in the gold-medal game on Thursday.

It was Canada’s fourth Olympic women’s title. The United States had led 2-0 with less than eight minutes to go in the third period, only to see their lead slip away.

Switzerland beat Sweden 4-3 to win bronze, rallying from a two-goal deficit to make the podium.

sports@thenational.ae