Kamila Valieva made history as she completed her — and Russia’s — dominant charge towards the team figure skating event gold medal.
The 15-year-old sensation became the first woman to land a quad in the Olympics. A few moments later, for good measure, she then became the first to do it twice.
“We will be talking about this moment for the next 100 years,” NBC Olympics commentator Tara Lipinski said on the broadcast.
Valieva opened her performance with a quad salchow before landing a triple axel. She followed with her second quad shortly after. She scored 178.92 points, netting Russia 74 points to clinch the gold medal — its second in three editions of the team event.
“My goodness. If that performance didn’t inspire the whole world to take up ice skating, I don’t know what would,” NBC analyst Johnny Weir said.
The United States captured the silver medal after taking home back-to-back bronze medals the past two Olympics. Japan claimed its first-ever meal in the team event with the bronze.
Valieva’s highlight-grabbing debut wowed both her teammates and rivals in the competition. Just 15, Valieva has been stoic as he tore through competition many years her senior.
“All the best qualities of a figure skater come together in this fragile girl,” Russian ice dancer Nikita Katsalapov previously said of his team mate.
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“She motivates the whole team … It’s just a pleasure to watch her performances. She improves from one competition to the next.”
All three Russian skaters entering the competition were known for the gravity-defying quad jumps that Valieva pulled off. The move was thought to be nearly impossible just a few years ago. For the Americans, it’s a move that still seems beyond reach.
“I’m not capable of doing what they are doing,” U.S. skater Karen Chen previously told reporters.
Clearly, Valieva and the Russians found the answer to the eye-catching move. Now, the challenge is for the move to be replicated, or improved.
“I don’t know how they train elsewhere,” Valieva said in response to Chen’s comments. “But the training we receive is enough to perform these difficult elements.”