Contrary to popular belief, Russia’s 16-year-old figure skating sensation Evgenia Medvedeva isn’t perfect. The reigning World and European champion does, at times, take spills on the ice—like the one she endured on a triple lutz near the start of her free skate program Saturday in Paris at Trophée de France—to let us all know she’s flawed like the rest of us.
But just because Medvedeva is human doesn’t mean she accepts less than her best as a figure skater, even if she still finds herself on top of the podium.
Despite her victory in Paris, Medvedeva told reporters she was “absolutely not satisfied” with her performance, which also included her landing six other triples after her fall to seize the gold by nearly 22 points.
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“I was too slow, not only on lutz, where the lack of speed was the reason for the error, but in general,” she said of her showing at Trophée de France. “I also need to improve my component score.”
These comments, though, coming from a young woman who totaled 221.54 points at the Paris event to fall just 0.14 points from achieving the short program world record on Saturday, seem to be in jest. But they’re not, as Medvedeva truly believes there is room for improvement ahead of the Grand Prix Final, which is set to take place Dec. 8–10 in France.
Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva performs during the Ladies short program at the Trophee Eric Bompard ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating in Paris on November 11, 2016. (LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)
“I will go back and work on it for the Grand Prix Final,” Medvedeva said. “Mistakes push you further and make you work harder.”
Medvedeva, the first ladies’ singles figure skater to capture the gold medal at senior Worlds just one year after winning the junior version of the tournament, will attempt to defend the Grand Prix Final title she captured last year in Barcelona. After becoming age-eligible to compete at the senior international level in 2015, Medvedeva placed first in the short program in Barcelona with a then-personal best 74.54 points in the short program. She also recorded a then-personal best in the free skate with a 147.96 mark, bringing her gold medal–worthy total to 222.54 for the event.
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Medvedeva’s personal records wouldn’t hold there for long, however, as she eventually shattered her free skate mark in March at the 2016 World Championship with a 150.10 to become the new world record holder. She improved upon her personal best in the short program throughout 2016 and set a new personal high on Saturday with 78.52 points, which left her just short of Japan’s Mao Asada’s world record of 78.66 points from the 2014 World Championship.
Her eight straight gold medals since finishing in second place at last year’s Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix makes her future success seem all but guaranteed, especially with Pyeongchang 2018 nearing view. But that’s not how Medvedeva sees it, as she is constantly reminding the world—and herself—that she has not yet reached her limit.
“This is still not the limit,” Medvedeva said last week after her nearly flawless short program.
And with her uncanny track record, we have every reason to believe her.