Updated: 02/21/2014 05:29 | By Agence France-Presse

Sotnikova stuns Kim to win dramatic figure skating gold

Adelina Sotnikova won Russia's first ever women's Olympic figure skating gold in dramatic circumstances on Thursday as defending champion Kim Yu-Na was dumped into the silver medal position.


Sotnikova stuns Kim to win dramatic figure skating gold

Russia's Adelina Sotnikova performs in the Women's Figure Skating Free Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 20, 2014 - by Yuri Kadobnov

The 17-year-old took her first major title ahead of South Korean superstar Kim with Italy's Carolina Kostner winning the bronze after the free skating final.

"I can't do anything about this. I did all I could," said Kim, 23, who later confirmed it was her final competition. 

"The result was good because I made no mistake. The scores are given by the judges so I'm not in the right position to comment and there is nothing that will change with my words. The most important thing for me is to participate in these Games."

Despite an error when she two-footed a double loop in her combination jump Sotnikova improved her free skate score by a massive 18 points from her previous best a month ago at the Europeans.

"Any questions are for the judges, not for me. I did my job. I gave a gift to Russia," said the skater from Moscow.

It was a third title in Sochi for hosts Russia, with shouts of "Spassiba, Spassiba' (thanks) resounding around the Iceberg Skating Palace.

"I didn't see the performance of Yu-Na, but I did see her score. When I saw them, I just ran to my coach. I couldn't believe it," said Sotnikova.

She achieved the second best score ever in the free skate and was just 0.11 off the world record mark Kim achieved on her way to gold in Vancouver four years ago.

In contrast, both Kim and Kostner gave error-free performances.

- 'My last competition as a skater' -

"I just have faith that the judges made the right decision," said former world champion Kostner.

Kim said: "I'm so happy to be here. That was my last competition as a skater. I didn't watch the skaters so I didn't know about the other scores or how they skated."

The reigning world champion's season had been hampered by a right foot injury.

"I didn't feel any pressure but it has been four years since Vancouver so I was exhausted," said Kim.

"I'm so glad it's over. Training is so hard for any athlete. When I finished I was so tired."

Kim had been bidding to become just the third woman to win back-to-back titles after Norway's Sonja Henie, triple winner between 1928 and 1936, and Germany's Katarina Witt in 1984 and 1988.

She had watched in tears as the scores came up putting her second, 5.48 points behind four-time Russian national champion Sotnikova, who finished runner-up at the Europeans behind countrywoman Julia Lipnitskaia last month.

Lipnitskaia, 15, finished fifth on Thursday after she fell on a triple Salchow jump.

Sotnikova landed seven triples including a triple Lutz-triple toeloop to score 149.95 points for her skate to "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" for an overall 224.59 points. 

- 'Atmosphere was wonderful' -

"I smashed my highest score for my whole career and I did it at the Olympics. I didn't think I could skate like I did today," said Sotnikova, who had been overlooked for the team event in which Russia won gold with Lipnitskaia.

"The atmosphere was wonderful. I felt something amazing coming from the crowd. I could hear shouts and screams the whole time of 'keep going Adelina', and 'you can do it'. I just couldn't skate badly."

Kim scored 144.19 points for her free skate to Astor Piazzolla's tango "Adios Nonino", which included six triples, for an overall 219.11. 

Kostner's stunning skate to Ravel's "Bolero" included seven triples and she achieved 142.61 for her skate for an overall 216.73 to give Italy their first Olympic singles medal in figure skating. 

Sotnikova had been just 0.28 behind Kim after the short programme with  Kostner, 27, a further 0.52 adrift going into Thursday's free skating final.

It was a third figure skating title for Russia at the Sochi Games after winning the pairs and team events.

"I think we're all very surprised," said American Ashley Wagner of Sotnikova's success, after having watched Kim skate.

"I saw a lot of very nice, decent landings (from Kim) and I am speechless."

Wagner finished seventh as the US women finished off the podium for a second straight Olympics.

US champion Gracie Gold finished fourth after a fall with Japan's Mao Asada moving up to sixth from 16th after the short programme, with a stunning free skate in which she landed a triple Axel jump, to become the first woman to do so at consecutive Olympics.

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