Evgenia Medvedeva didn’t have her best stuff on Saturday at the ISU Grand Prix of figure skating Final in Marseille, France. In fact, the 17-year-old Russian turned in far from her top performance in the free skate, recording an uncharacteristic error on a triple flip to start her program.
“I expected more from myself,” Medvedeva told reporters after her performance. “I wanted to do more and I could have done more. The mistake was hard to overlook.”
But the mistake didn’t prevent Medvedeva from standing atop the podium by the Final’s conclusion. In fact, the Russian skater has topped the podium at every event she’s participated in since November 2015—even when she fell near the start of her free skate program last month at Trophée de France—continuing to prove that her bad days are still better than her competitors’ best.
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“The Grand Prix Final is the most important competition of the season, because it is the only one that has the juniors and the seniors and only the best skaters,” said Medvedeva, who also won the Grand Prix Final in 2015. “I am proud to have qualified for my fourth Grand Prix Final, twice as a junior and now twice as a senior. Here, [there] are a lot of talented people you can learn from.”
Medvedeva is the one who seems to be doing the teaching, however. Despite her miscue, she turned in a total score of 227.66 points, finishing nearly 10 points ahead of Japan’s Satoko Miyahara and just shy of Yuna Kim’s world-record total of 228.56 from 2010.
The teenager has remained perfect since last year’s Final in Barcelona, when she posted a then-personal best 74.54 in the short program, as well as a then-personal best in the free skate with a 147.96 for a 222.54 total.
What ultimately propelled Medvedeva to a repeat win of the event was Friday’s short program. Medvedeva’s 79.21-point routine to “River Flows in You” by Lorenzo de Luca granted her a new world record, eclipsing Mao Asada’s short program mark of 78.66 from 2014.
“I’m happy with the world record, but the world record isn’t my goal,” Medvedeva said. “I came close to beating it in Paris (with 78.52 at the Trophée de France in November). It’s one step further and it gives me confidence.”
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Newfound confidence is likely a scary reality for her opponents—Medvedeva has won nine straight events. She hasn’t even let her competitors come within five points of her total score since last year’s Rostelecom Cup Grand Prix.
Still, Medvedeva is focused on improvement.
“I can do better in the interpretation of my programs and my spins. I’d like to spin faster,” she said Saturday. “Everything has plusses and minuses and I always strive for perfection. I cannot stop because when you stop doing that you stop improving.”