The ladies free skate was the final event of the 2016 World Figure Skating Championships and they finished the competition out with a bang. It was an historic night for women’s figure skating as Evgenia Medvedeva from Russia skated brilliantly, breaking the world record for the ladies free skate score and winning her first World Championships. But that’s not all. The drought is finally over. After not having a U.S. woman on the podium at Worlds for a decade, Ashley Wagner skated her heart out tonight, bumping reigning national champion Gracie Gold, from third place to off the podium and capturing the silver medal.
Ashley Wagner skated directly after Gracie Gold and was last to skate. Wagner was in fourth place after the short, and she knew she had to skate brilliantly to overcome the performances that had come before her. Gracie Gold was in first after the short program, but she struggled in the free skate. Gold almost fell on the second part of her triple lutz-triple toe combination, putting her hand down and sitting on the landing, but what really cost her was doubling a planned triple lutz near the end of the program. Gold was in third place until Ashley skated.
Wagner knew that Gracie had left the door ajar, but she put it out of her mind and focused on the program before her. With the pressure squarely on her shoulders, she went out there and gave it all that she had, landing each of her elements. At the end her program the entire arena erupted. She was overwhelmed with emotion and excitement. It was a moment of redemption for her that she will never forget as she won her first-ever world medal—the silver. “It hasn’t hit me yet,” Ashley said. “Here I am, the silver medalist in the entire world, it’s insane! It’s been a 10 year drought, to be able to break through that, to be on the podium, I’m elated, I’m excited, and I feel like I’ve worked my butt off this season to be here.” It was a glorious moment for her and for U.S. figure skating.
This has been an outstanding debut season for Evgenia Medvedeva who has been collecting gold medal after gold medal. She landed each of her jumps effortlessly and overcame Yuna Kim’s 2010 Olympic world record score, today in the free skate at only sixteen years of age. “Right now I don’t have any emotions,” Evgenia said. “I left everything on the ice in my performance. I think I won’t realize soon that I won. One year ago I was still skating in juniors.”
Russian Anna Pogorilaya, was in second heading into the free skate and she surprised everyone having one of the best performances in her career and was able to capture the bronze medal. “I’m truly boiling inside,” Anna said. “This is an incredible moment. I am still processing that worlds is over and that this season is over.”
Gracie Gold finished in fourth place. “It was a really unfortunate and sad experience,” Gold said. “I feel really ashamed of how I skated and I want to apologize to my country and to the crowd here — there’s really no excuse for it.” It wasn’t the outcome that Gold was hoping for, but having three U.S. women in the top ten is an exceptional feat in this international field. Mirai Nagasu had a strong showing as well, finishing in tenth.
It was an incredible night of ladies figure skating that will forever go down in the history books and will hopefully only be built upon leading into the 2018 Olympic Games. The 2016 World Figure Skating Championships competition portion of the event has concluded today, but the exhibition gala will continue tomorrow, April 4, at the TD Garden.
Ladies final results:
1. Evgenia Medvedeva RUS – 223.86 WATCH NOW
2. Ashley Wagner USA – 215.39 WATCH NOW
3. Anna Pogorilaya RUS – 213.69 WATCH NOW
4. Gracie Gold USA – 211.29 WATCH NOW
5. Satoko Miyahara JPN – 210.61 WATCH NOW
6. Elena Radionova RUS – 209.81 WATCH NOW
7. Mao Asada JPN – 200.30 WATCH NOW
8. Rika Hongo JPN – 199.15 WATCH NOW
9. Gabrielle Daleman CAN – 195.68 WATCH NOW
10. Mirai Nagasu USA – 186.65 WATCH NOW
11. Zijun Li CHN – 184.52
12. Elizabet Tursynbaeva KAZ – 183.62
13. Nicole Rajicova SVK – 173.05
14. Da Bin Choi KOR – 159.92
15. Angelina Kuchvalska LAT – 158.99
16. Roberta Rodeghiero ITA – 158.41
17. Alaine Chartrand CAN – 157.82
18. So Youn Park KOR – 154.24
19. Anna Khnychenkova UKR – 154.02
20. Viveca Lindfors FIN – 152.93
21. Amy Lin TPE – 146.55
22. Niki Wories NED – 140.87
23. Ziquan Zhao CHN – 139.67
24. Anastasia Galustyan ARM – 136.07