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Get to Know Russian Olympic Hope Alina Zagitova

© Sputnik / Vladimir Pesnya / Go to the photo bankOlympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova performs her short program during the women's figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova performs her short program during the women's figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang - Sputnik International
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The new figure skating short program world record holder Alina Zagitova once almost transitioned to pair's skating. Ahead of the free dance finals on February 23, get familiar on one of the youngest athletes at the Olympics.

15-year-old Zagitova (she turns 16 on March 16) was born in Izhevsk, Udmurtia, where she trained up to 2015. Her father coaches the local hockey team, Izhstal.

Alina's mom was never involved in athletics, but she used to dream of becoming a figure skater and made sure her daughter lived out her dream.

© REUTERS / Damir SagoljFigure Skating – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Team Event Women's Single Skating Free Skating competition final – Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea – February 12, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, competes
Figure Skating – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Team Event Women's Single Skating Free Skating competition final – Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea – February 12, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, competes - Sputnik International
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Figure Skating – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Team Event Women's Single Skating Free Skating competition final – Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea – February 12, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, competes
© Sputnik / Alexander Vilf / Go to the photo bankRussian figure skater Alina Zagitova
Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova - Sputnik International
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Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova
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Figure Skating – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Team Event Women's Single Skating Free Skating competition final – Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea – February 12, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, competes
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Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova

It's a well known fact she was named after the famous rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabayeva. But Zagitova actually remained nameless for almost a year until one day, her parents saw Kabayeva performing on TV and the decision was made.

© Sputnik / Alexander Vilf / Go to the photo bankOlympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova performs her short program during the women's figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova performs her short program during the women's figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang - Sputnik International
Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova performs her short program during the women's figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

Zagitova's old Izhevsk coach Natalya Antipina admits she didn't immediately recognize the future star's potential, and credits Alina's success to her work ethic and determination.

READ MORE: Russian Figure Skater Alina Zagitova Claps Back at American Ashley Wagner

At the 2017 Junior Grand Prix Final, she became the first junior lady to achieve a total score of above 200 with 207.43 points.

In 2018 Zagitova began to step out of the shadow of teammate and motivator Evgenia Medvedeva. She finished first at the European Championships in Moscow, marking the first time Medvedeva had been beaten in over two years, and bested her mate again for the world record at the Olympics.

© Sputnik / Alexander Vilf / Go to the photo bankOlympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova, left, after performing her free program during the women's team figure skating competition at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Right: Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva
Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova, left, after performing her free program during the women's team figure skating competition at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Right: Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva - Sputnik International
Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova, left, after performing her free program during the women's team figure skating competition at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Right: Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva

She lives in Moscow with her grandmother, who takes care of Alina's chinchilla while she's away competing.

 

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