Friendship on ice as skate buddies Medvedeva, Zagitova prepare for war

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The first-ever Russian gold medal in ladies' figure skating wasn't captured until Sochi 2014, when Adelina Sotnikova pulled off the feat. The only question is whether Zagitova can hold off teammate Evgenia Medvedeva, who had set the previous scoring record perhaps 15 minutes earlier at the Gangneung Ice Arena. The gold medal could go either way in the free program, but unless something weird happens, the two athletes will win the top two medals.

Two-time world champion Evgenia Medvedeva and fellow Russian skater Alina Zagitova are close friends who talk to each other about everything, but when they take to the ice for Olympic medals on Friday, it's going be nothing short of war. Medvedeva, 18, broke the world record with her poignant and near-perfect free skate (she scored 81.61). Since becoming the first American woman - and third overall - to land a triple axel at the Olympics at the team event, she's been congratulated by Reese Witherspoon, complimented on her looks by Leslie Jones and dream cast on one of her favorite shows, "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

"I could have had more speed going into the jumps, the landings of the jumps could have been smoother, there could have been more emotions", she said. "It was a special sort of challenge for me and I'm excited for [the free skate]".

"Today wasn't my day, but my triple triple was still pretty good so I'm happy about that", Nagasu said.

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The four-time national champion from Kyoto appeared confident throughout and notched her best score of the season. The free skate is a long 4 minutes, 30 seconds, though. She is the top ranked US woman headed into the free skate in ninth place with 66.93 points. "Today I felt better than in the team event, but I still could have had a higher score if the (jump) combination would have been better". "Now my name will connected to that record", the 15-year-old said. She finished second to Medvedeva in two Grand Prix events this season, as well as in the team short last week. A foot injury kept her from defending her Grand Prix title in December, and the next month, at the European Championships (at home in Moscow), she lost her title to the new Grand Prix champion: her training-mate Alina Zagitova. While the rest of her program was clean, Nagasu's chances for an individual medal are damaged.

It was a tough short program for the Team USA ladies. This is Zagitova's first season competing as a senior (or elite-level) skater. She is in 11th place with a score of 64.01. Karen Chen, 18, was fourth at the world championships past year. Two of the country's most recognizable skaters did not even make the team for the Pyeongchang Olympics; Wagner finished fourth at the US championships and was not chosen, and Gracie Gold did not compete this season.

"I very rarely make a mistake", she said. She was able to recover to complete her triple flip-triple toe combination and her triple loop and is now in 9th place with a score of 66.93.

"I'm not one of those women who can stop a horse at a gallop and enter the burning house", she told a Russian skating magazine.