Evgenia Medvedeva: Russia’s Doping Troubles Inspire Record SP At PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games

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It was the doping issue that made Evgenia Medvedeva stronger.

The Russian figure skater’s broken foot and spirit is stronger at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018, pushing her to break her own personal best and world record for ladies short program in figure skating.

After skating beautifully to the tune of Nocturne in C-sharp minor, Op. posth., Evgenia Medvedeva was awarded a record-breaking score of 81.06 during the ladies figure skating team event, Reuters reported. Before her Olympic record, Medvedeva was also the first woman to score about 80 points in a short program, and the only woman who has ever scored above 160 points in a free skate. Both records were made during her performances at the 2017 World Team Trophy held in Japan.

Medvedeva overcame two major hurdles before making it into the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018. At the Grand Prix Final and the Russian National Championship last year, Medvedeva had to drop out after hurting her fractured metatarsal bone. Her injured foot had many people afraid that she might not make it into the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Medvedeva also had to anxiously await the decision of the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport before the Winter Olympics with over 100 hundred Russian athletes. Before competing under the banner Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR), Russia was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) from participating in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018 to penalize the country for its government-run doping scheme that enabled them to cheat during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and the 2016 Rio Olympics. The ban was overturned right before the Olympics, which enabled the Russian athletes who were proved to be clean to compete–albeit under the OAR.

Russian athletes at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony
Featured image credit: Paul ChiassonThe Canadian Press via AP Images

After Medvedeva skated her record-breaking program, she said that she was able to push through her foot injury and the Olympic pressure because Russia’s doping troubles have made her and her teammates stronger, CBS News reported.

Last December, Medvedeva was one of the Russian athletes who responded emotionally to the IOC ban and said that she can’t “accept” the fact that she would be competing for a neutral flag instead of Russia.

Evgenia Medvedeva performs in the ladies single figure skating short program
Featured image credit: Julie JacobsonAP Images

According to the translated speech by Medvedeva to the IOC Executive Board, published by Ice Network, Medvedeva calls the IOC to let her pursue her dream to represent her country at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018.

“I can not accept the option that I would compete in the Olympic Games without the Russian flag as a neutral athlete. I am proud of my country, it is a great honor for me to represent it at the Games. It gives strength and inspires me during the performances…The Olympics is a dream! Everyone has dreams, and you probably already had a chance to fulfill your own. Let me do the same! I do not know if there will be other Games in my sports life after Pyeongchang.”

Despite Medvedeva’s heartfelt statement about the doping issue, saying “If I perform without a national flag, I will not be able to compete in the team,” she and her teammates pushed through with the team event and made their fellow Russians proud.

Medvedeva’s win at the ladies short program event pulled the Olympic Athletes from Russia into second place, right behind the leading team Canada. Medvedeva’s flawless short program pushed Italian veteran Carolina Koster to second place at 75.10 points, and Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond to third with 71.38 points.

Evgenia Medvedeva reacts after breaking world record
Featured image credit: Morry GashAP Images

Evgenia Medvedeva is a two-time and the reigning world champion, two-time and reigning European champion, two-time Grand Prix Final champion, and a two-time and reigning Russian national champion. Medvedeva will get back on the ice on February 12 for the Team Event Ladies Single Skating Free Skating, on February 21 for the Ladies Single Skating Short Program, and then on February 23 for the free skate.

Check out the Pyeonchang 2018 website for the full schedule of events for the 2018 Winter Olympics.