Russia’s Samodurova stuns compatriot Zagitova to win European figure skating title
Trailing in second behind her compatriot after the short program, Samodurova, 16, produced a superb free program routine to push reigning champion Zagitova into second.
Dancing to a musical backdrop of ‘Burlesque’, Samodurova put on a show for the judges with a score of 140.96 for her free program.
That added to her personal best mark of 72.88 from earlier in the event to put her top of the leaderboard on a season’s best 213.84 points.
For Samodurova, the victory came at her debut European Championship and announces the arrival of yet another budding star in Russia’s seemingly bottomless pool of female skating talent.
“I am overwhelmed by emotions now,” she said afterwards.
“I can’t find words to describe what I am feeling now. I am European Champion and that’s so awesome! My coach told me to stop crying, but I can’t.
“These are just my sincere emotions. Probably I am more happy about the fact that my coach is pleased with me.”
She had clear daylight ahead of fellow 16-year-old Zagitova, the defending champion, who only managed 123.34 points from a disappointing free routine in which she finished fourth.
That left her second overall on 198.34 points in total when added to her 75 points from the short program.
After storming to the Olympic title in South Korea last year, silver in Minsk is another setback for Zagitova in recent big events, after her second-placed result behind Japan’s Rika Kihira at the Grand Prix Final in Canada in December.
''I don’t know exactly what has happened today, but I do hope that the best is yet to come for me,'' Zagitova said after the competition.
''Second place is still good because it could have been worse.''
Finland’s Viveca Lindfors clinched third with 194.40 points, while Russia's Stanislava Konstantinova came in fourth with 189.72 points.
Samodurova’s win means Russian women have clinched the European ladies' title in each of the last six editions of the event.