Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated 16-year-old Olympic gold medalist Alina Zagitova after she won the 2019 World Figure Skating Championships in Saitama, Japan, on Friday.
In a congratulatory note published on the Kremlin website, the Russian president spoke of his pride and admiration at the teenager’s performance, which wowed crowds in Japan.
Skating to an extract from Georges Bizet’s ‘Carmen,’ Zagitova added to the lead she had acquired on the short program with a free skate in which she appeared to pull out all the stops.
A stunning triple-lutz and triple-toeloop combination was among the highlights of the first half of her performance. Five more triple jumps would then come towards the latter stage, meaning she scored an impressive total of 237.50 points overall for both performances.
“You won beautifully, technically, and confidently,” Putin wrote. “Millions of fans and spectators were won over by your brilliant skill.
“Such achievements contribute greatly to the sporting glory of our country. Great job!”
Zagitova will add this championship to her ever-expanding trophy cabinet which already houses a 2018 Olympic gold medal, as well as Russian and European gold from the same year.
“I realized that I needed a clean skate and I went into each jump determined to land it,” Zagitova said after her performance.
“I was very nervous, but the experience from the Olympic Games helped me somehow.”
Zagitova is now unquestionably seen as one of the world’s best on the ice and it stands to reason that it won’t be long before the 16-year-old from Izhevsk adds to her already considerable trophy haul once more.