by George Rossano
(22 February) Rivals for the Gold, Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova are are poised to be the first Russian athlete at these Games to win a Gold Medal. These two skaters last competed against each other at the European Championships in Moscow in January, where Zagitova outscored Medvedeva in both the short and the long.
In the Short Program both skaters have very similar programs, except that Medvedeva executed a lower base value group of jumps. This spotted her rival 1.87 points in the technical score. In the components Medvedeva was able to make up only 0.80 points of that.
In the Free Skate, Medvedeva leaves even more base points on the table, spotting Zagitova 3.25 points of base value. The jump content of the two skaters, listed in order of value of the eleven jumps in a program is this:
As in the short, Zagitova has a second triple Lutz vs. a second triple toe loop for Medvedeva, and in addition a double loop vs. a second double toe loop. In addition, Zagitova puts all her jumps in the second half for the bonus, while Medvedeva has two jumps in the first half, giving away the bonus on those two jumps.
For GoE points, Zagatova outscored Medvedeva at Europeans in both the short and the long, and here in Gangneung in the short. On the other side of the scoring, Medvedeva outscored Zagitova in components in the same segments.
If both ladies skate their best, Zagitova has the clear technical advantage and could well outscore Medvedeva by up to 5 to 10 technical points in the free. Given that both skaters are already scoring in the mid 9s, there are not enough additional component points available to Medvedeva to make up the technical deficit in that case, even if she scores perfect 10s in the components.
Medvedeva's Gold medal hopes hang on her skating better than her best in the free, and Zagitova cracking in the free. Zagitova's personality, as we have thus far observed it, suggest her cracking is not a likely scenario.
Copyright 2018 by George S. Rossano