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    Olympic Athlete from Russia Alina Zagitova performs her short program during the women's figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

    Get to Know Russian Olympic Hope Alina Zagitova

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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.

    • 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
      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
      Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova
      © Sputnik / Alexander Vilf
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    © REUTERS / Damir Sagolj
    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

    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.

    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 / Alexander Vilf
    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.

    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 / Alexander Vilf
    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.

     

    Related:

    Russian Figure Skater Zagitova Sets World Record in Short Program at Olympics
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    2018 Winter Olympics, figure skating, Alina Zagitova
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