Russian prodigy Valieva makes history in Beijing
Russian teen sensation Kamila Valieva has marked her Olympic debut in Beijing by setting a number of records during the team event, which the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) won comfortably.
The 15-year-old skater, who is widely regarded as the top contender to claim the Olympic gold, mesmerized fans with her spellbinding skating, earning a standing ovation from her rivals.
Valieva – whose display completed not only her squad’s performance, but the team event overall – put on a magical routine on Monday, solidly nailing two quads and a triple axel.
Skating to ‘Bolero’ by Ravel, Valieva wowed pundits with her dominant skating, finishing 30 points ahead of Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto despite committing an error in the second part of her program.
The skater opened her routine with a perfectly executed quadruple Salchow, which was followed by a flawless triple axel.
She also landed a quad toe loop-triple toe loop combo before falling on another attempt to execute a quad toe loop, which she had done perfectly during training.
Even with mistake, Valieva posted an imposing score of 178.92, underlining her status as the main contender for individual gold.
Along with winning the Olympic gold with her teammates, the skater set several records by becoming the first female competitor to land a quad at the Winter Games.
She is also the first woman to execute two quads at the Games, and the first female skater to complete a quad Salchow and a quad toe loop.
A day earlier, Valieva became the first European and only the fourth woman in Olympic history to hit a triple axel.
Valieva, the newly crowned European champion, also holds the world record for the highest scores achieved in the women’s short and free programs.
As the competition continues, more records are expected to be registered, given that Russian quad-jumping star Alexandra Trusova will take to the ice in the ladies’ singles event next week.
On February 15, female skaters will open the race for the Olympic gold, with Russian competitors being tipped to sweep the podium in Beijing.