Russian teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva made history at the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Monday as she became the first woman to land a quad at the Games.
The 15-year-old Valieva landed two quads in the team event as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) secured gold ahead of USA in silver and Japan in bronze at the Capital Indoor Stadium.
“It’s been quite overwhelming. I was very nervous, but I am just glad I was able to execute all of my elements well,” Valieva told reporters.
“To perform with a team like this means everything. We all did such a good job. I’m very proud of my team.”
Valieva executed a quad Salchow – which involves four complete rotations in the air – while performing to Ravel’s “Bolero” in the free skate.
She then went on to land a quad toeloop and triple Axel in the same routine, though she fell on her second quad toeloop attempt.
Canadian Kurt Browning became the first person to land a quad jump in competition at the 1988 World Figure Skating Championships, according to Team Canada’s official Olympic website.
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Valieva, who only made her senior debut last year and is now tipped to go on to win gold in the singles, won the free skate with 178.92 points – more than 30 points ahead of Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto in second.
The dominant display took the ROC’s total to 74 points to wrap up its second gold of Beijing 2022. The USA finished on 65 points and Japan on 63.
“I am more than happy. This is a fantastic feeling. I had a burden of responsibility, but I came out a winner,” said Valieva.
“I do feel this burden a bit and this pressure. This is my first season among adult skaters and I believe I am coping with this pressure; sometimes it even pushes me forward and helps me.”
Earlier in the competition, Valieva scored 90.18 points with her short program – outside her world record of 90.45 points set at the European Championships in Estonia last month.
On Sunday, the reigning European champion said she was performing at the Olympics in memory of her late grandmother, motivation that gave her “so much energy.”
She will now prepare to compete in the singles event, which gets underway on February 15.