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01 Feb 2016
Lillehammer 2016 , YOG , IOC News

Sotnikova builds foundations in Innsbruck for success in Sochi

After winning a silver medal at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012, Adelina Sotnikova became Russia’s first-ever female Olympic figure skating champion in Sochi two years later.

Born in Moscow on 1 July 1996, Adelina Sotnikova (RUS) showed great promise in the skating rink in her youth. Her impressive artistic and technical attributes came to the fore in 2009, when she became Russian figure skating champion at the tender age of 12. She continued to excel in the years that followed this breakthrough, winning three additional national titles (in 2011, 2012 and 2014) and a junior world crown (in March 2011) in Gangneung (KOR), where she finished ahead of her compatriot, Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.

Sotnikova was selected to represent Russia in the ladies’ singles at the Winter Youth Olympic Games Innsbruck 2012, where she was regarded as one of the favourites.

On the 15 and 17 January in Innsbruck’s Olympiahalle, the Moscow-born skater, battling nerves and an on-form Tuktamysheva, had to content herself with a silver medal once the short programme and free skate were complete. “It’s all about what goes on in your head,” she said, disappointed but nevertheless satisfied to have perfectly executed her triple-triple combinations.

After finishing second in the 2013 ISU European Figure Skating Championships behind Carolina Kostner (ITA), Sotnikova began focusing all of her efforts on the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, where she would perform in front of her friends and family. “All that I do, I do for my family, who I love deeply,” she said. “I want my mother, father and little sister to be proud of me and happy for me. It’s a goal that helps me a lot, because I’ve been dreaming of an Olympic gold medal since I was 12, when I became Russian champion for the first time.”

© Getty Images

Sochi triumph

In February 2014 in Sochi, she was initially overshadowed by 15-year-old starlet Yulia Lipnitskaya, who was chosen ahead of her in the new team trophy event, and who then put in a sensational performance to help Russia claim a very popular gold medal. Ten days later, it was Sotnikova’s time to step back into the limelight.

With Camille Saint-Saëns’s Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso in A minor playing in the background, the talented 17-year-old proceeded to produce a technical masterclass that included a triple lutz-triple toe combination, triple flip, triple loop, triple Salchow, and triple lutz, as well as a variety of pirouettes, in a free programme that enthralled the fans in the Iceberg Skating Palace, who clapped along throughout. The young Olympian, trained by the legendary Tatiana Tarasova, improved on her best score of the season by a remarkable 18 points to secure the gold medal.

© Getty Images

“I won. The gold is mine; I can’t believe it,” she exclaimed. “Two years ago, nothing went right for me. I wondered if I had what it takes to succeed. But now, I know that I do. I’m surprised, and my coaches are surprised. I feel so lucky and happy to have won; it was my dream to win in Sochi.

“I’m very happy that the Games are being held here in Russia, because my fans provide me with a massive level of support. I gave my country a gift – I knew that I could do it. I wanted the gold, and now it’s mine.”

Following the disappointment of losing out on gold at Innsbruck 2012 and being replaced by Julia Lipnitskaya in the team trophy at Sochi 2014, Sotnikova bounced back to become the first Russian Olympic champion in ladies’ figure skating, proving that she really does have YOG DNA. 

© Getty Images

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