Olympic queen Zagitova opens up on ‘hate’ after claims she ‘stole’ gold from Russian rival
Russian figure skating star Alina Zagitova has revealed she couldn't fully savor her Olympic gold medal in 2018 because some observers believed she had 'robbed' it from her teammate, Evgenia Medvedeva, who had been expected to take the title.
“When it was announced that I was the new Olympic champion, I couldn’t believe it. I was in a state of euphoria without truly realizing that I won. Of course, there was a story [going around] that I took this medal from someone, that’s why I couldn’t enjoy it,” the skater said.
Zagitova, who edged out her compatriot and training partner by only one point, was accused of stealing the Olympic gold from Medvedeva by fans who bombarded her with angry messages.
The two-time world champion Medvedeva, who had been undefeated for more than two years, couldn’t hide her disappointment about only taking silver.
She left Eteri Tutberidze’s camp, adding fuel to the conflict that erupted after the Olympic tournament.
A year later, Zagitova claimed the world crown, adding the sole missing title to her huge collection of awards.
She once again finished above Medvedeva, who settled for bronze at the tournament.
Despite the fact that their rivalry has come to a logical end, as the two skaters halted their professional careers, haters are still hounding Zagitova and she can’t find any reasonable explanation for such hostility.
“I’m still wondering why there is so much criticism. I didn’t do anything bad to those people. I think they suffer from low self-esteem. It’s difficult to say what their hate is driven by, but I definitely didn’t do anything bad,” the 19-year-old concluded.
Zagitova is the only Russian skater who has managed to win all the existing titles in modern figure skating, including Olympic, world, and European gold medals.