SOCHI, Russia — Many expected a Russian to win a gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Sochi Games, but hardly anyone expected that it would be Adelina Sotnikova.
Overlooked by her country earlier at the Olympic team event, Sotnikova, 17, waited patiently for the singles competition and delivered a sophisticated and aggressive performance Thursday to score a major upset over the 2010 champion, Yuna Kim of South Korea.
Sotnikova landed seven triple jumps to six for Kim and won the long program with 149.95 points. She finished with 224.59 overall points and became the first Russian or Soviet woman to win an individual gold medal.
Even with her grace, maturity, composure and soaring jumping ability, Kim led by less than a point after Wednesday’s short program. On Thursday, she skated a poised and flowing tango routine and finished with 144.19 points in the long program.
“It was totally fair,” said Elvis Stojko, a two-time Olympic silver medalist from Canada. “Adelina was ready. Kim didn’t have enough technical ammunition.”
In the men’s skicross, Jean Frederic Chapuis won the gold to lead France to its first 1-2-3 finish in Olympic histry. Arnaud Bovolenta won silver and Jonathan Midol captured bronze.
Norway finished third in the ski jumping and had to start the 20-kilometer race behind. But cross-country ski specialist Mangus Moan made up the deficit on the first leg and Norway outdueled Germany and defending champion Austria in the relay. Germany, which had the lead after the ski jump, took silver and Austria got the bronze.
Canada’s 6-3 gold medal victory in women’s Olympic curling came at the expense of Sweden, which had beaten the Canadians for the title in Vancouver four years ago. Britain won the bronze by beating Switzerland 6-5.