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.
- 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© REUTERS / Damir Sagolj
- Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova© Sputnik / Alexander Vilf
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.
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.
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.
She lives in Moscow with her grandmother, who takes care of Alina's chinchilla while she's away competing.