World record holder Zagitova blames post-Olympic events for poor performance at worlds (PHOTOS)
The Russian newly , who finished ahead of her field at the 2018 Winter Games, failed to impress at the post-Olympic world championships in Milan, Italy, where she only managed a disappointing fifth place.
Zagitova gave a stunning performance in South Korea in February, delivering flawless and technically sophisticated routines which brought her the Olympic crown.
The skater, who was just 15 at that time, captivated judges with her mesmerizing programs, outscoring Russian teammate and and pre-tournament frontrunner Evgenia Medvedeva, who had to settle for silver.
However, entering the recent world championships as favorite, Zagitova committed several mistakes in the free program, which contributed to her below par finish.
“In Milan, I dealt with an accumulation of problems. Obligatory post-Olympic social events and my preparation for the world championship were combined,” Zagitova was quoted as saying by Sport-Express.
“Plus I got sick right after my return from Korea. I remained focussed for the entire season, keeping my temper under control all the time. And when I relaxed a little bit, I immediately caught a cold. Fatigue and constant pressure finally affected me,” she added.
Despite her battles against exhaustion and life as the new darling of skating in Russia, Zagitova received some redemption for a poor worlds at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany on Thursday, where she broke a short-program world record in her season-opening event.
Skating to the ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ theme, the 16-year-old posted the highest score of the meeting with a total of 79.93 points, finishing a full eight points ahead of her closest rival.