BEIJING – Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva’s pristine performance in her Olympic debut at the Beijing Games on Sunday drew pure awe from rivals and teammates who praised her prodigious athletic talent and maturity as the gold medal favorite.
Still only 15, Valieva holds the world records for the short program, free skate and total score.
At Beijing’s Capital Indoor Stadium on Sunday, Valieva scored 90.18 points, 0.27 below her short program record of 90.45, to help the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) to first place in the team competition with three events remaining.
“All the best qualities of a figure skater come together in this fragile girl,” Russian ice dancer Nikita Katsalapov said of his team mate.
“She motivates the whole team … It’s just a pleasure to watch her performances. She improves from one competition to the next.”
Valieva, who clinched the European title last month in a Russian podium sweep, has been reticent to discuss her own success.
When asked on Sunday if she was unbeatable, the teenager simply shrugged and refused to answer.
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