Shcherbakova wins figure skating gold as Valieva collapses

A Russian woman was standing atop the figure skating podium at the Beijing Games on Thursday night.

It just wasn’t the one anyone expected. Even the fact that there was a podium was a surprise.

Anna Shcherbakova, the overlooked world champion, delivered a clean performance in her free skate at Capital Indoor Stadium to win a stunning gold medal

While teammate Kamila Valieva — at the center of the latest Russian doping controversy — tumbled out of the medals altogether with a mistake-filled end to her Olympic dream.

“I still haven’t realized that my Olympic Games have ended. I just know that I skated clean,” said Shcherbakova

Who was second behind Valieva after the short program. “I am so happy that I still haven’t realized the result.”

In tears, the 17-year-old Trusova cried out rink-side after learning of her silver medal: “I hate this sport! I won’t go onto the ice again!” 

Trusova then shouted invectives at her controversial coach, Eteri Tutberidze, with whom she split before returning to last May. 

It wasn’t clear whether Trusova was flipping off her coach, the judges or the entire world.

“I am not happy with the result,” she said. “There is no happiness.”

Kaori Sakamoto of Japan was happy. She took bronze to break up an expected Russian sweep of the Olympic podium.

“I don’t have the big jumps as others would have, which is a big handicap,” said Sakamoto

 who may not have the four-rotation quad in her arsenal but whose artistry was virtually unmatched. “That means I had to have perfect elements.”

He did Thursday night, too. Just like Shcherbakova.

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