15 facts about Alina Zagitova - Russia's first gold medallist at the 2018 Winter Olympics

Heidi Yeung |

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She's so much more than just an amazing skater.

Alina Zagitova has won the women’s figure skating competition, becoming the first Russian gold medallist at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

The 15-year-old Zagitova edged out her friend and training partner Evgenia Medvedeva to end the gold drought for the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR). That’s the designation given to the nation’s competitors after Russia was officially banned by the IOC over a doping scandal.

Zagitova and Medvedeva tied in the free skate, a rare occurrence, but Zagitova had won the short programme on Wednesday, so she got gold.

Here are some fun facts about Alina Zagitova:

1. She was born on May 18, 2002, in Izhevsk, Russia.

2. She is older sister to Sabina, who is seven years younger.

3. Her father is an ice hockey coach.

4. She is named after Russian rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva, but before that, because her parents couldn't decide on a name, she was nameless for a year!

5. She lives in Moscow with her grandmother, who she moved in with when she was 13 years old.

6. She began skating at five years old.

7. At Pyeongchang, she perfectly executed a triple lutz–triple loop combination, which is the highest-scoring combination in the field.



via NBC

8. She's a tough cookie. At around 12 years old, Alina entered a youth event with a broken arm ... and then broke a leg at that event. 

9. She was coached by Eteri Tutberidze in Moscow along with other young skaters, including fellow Olympian Evgenia Medvedeva.

10. When she's not hard at work training on the ice, you can find her working out at the gym.

11. Or treating herself to a manicure.



12. She has a pet chinchilla.

13. She's also just an animal lover in general.

14. She wanted to quit skating, it was her coach Tutberidze who convinced her to "give it another try".

15. When she won gold at the 2017 World Junior Championships and at the 2016-17 Junior Grand Prix Final she became the first junior to score above the 200 mark with 207.43 points.