Winter Olympics: Who is history-making teenage figure skater Kamila Valieva?

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The Olympics never fail to produce tear-jerking moments as athletes from all over the world give their everything for their country.

Just days into Beijing 2022, we have already witnessed a teenage phenomenon make history.

Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee hitched the breath of every spectator both in China and at home as she completed her segment in the figure skating team event.

Her performance was nothing short of effortless — helping ROC clinch its second gold medal of the Games so far.

But nothing could take away the focus from Valieva, who made history by becoming the first woman to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics.

The 15-year-old completed not one but two quads, and she was unlucky not to manage a third towards the end of her routine.

Quadruple jumps are rarely seen in women’s figure skating, particularly at an elite level. However, Valieva has been performing them in Beijing as though they are her new bread and butter move.

While this landmark achievement is huge for both Valieva and ROC, setting records is not something the young skater is unaccustomed to.

BEIJING, CHINA – FEBRUARY 07: Kamila Valieva of Team ROC skates during the Women Single Skating Free Skating Team Event on day three of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 07, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)

Who is Kamila Valieva?

At just 15 years of age, Valieva is already a decorated name in figure skating.

The Russian has already smashed several records in the lead up to her Winter Olympic debut.

She made her international senior debut at the CS Finlandia Trophy last year, where she set a new world record of 174.31 points in the free skate.

This groundbreaking performance tallied towards another world record Valieva set for points scored overall — 249.24.

BEIJING, CHINA – FEBRUARY 06: Kamila Valieva of Team ROC skates during the Women Single Skating Short Program Team Event on day two of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 06, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Just last month, the teenager won gold at the European Championships after finishing first in the short programme. She became the first woman to score more than 90 points in the discipline.

Valieva helped Russia complete their whitewash at the Europeans, adding to their four gold medals, three silver and two bronze.

Valieva is also the former junior world champion, having clinched the title in 2020 when she was just 13.

Living up to Olympic expectation

Ahead of her Olympic debut at the Beijing Winter Games, a lot of expectation was already riding on Valieva’s performances.

Despite being thousands of miles away from home, and still technically just a child, the pressure of the Games did not break the young trailblazer.

Valieva stepped out onto the ice and gave a performance that will be remembered for years to come.

BEIJING, CHINA – FEBRUARY 06: Kamila Valieva of Team ROC reacts during the Women Single Skating Short Program Team Event on day two of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Capital Indoor Stadium on February 06, 2022 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Skating to In Memoriam by Kirill Richter, the Russian dedicated her performance to her late grandmother, who passed away in 2019. And certainly, there was not a dry eye in the house after she completed her breathtaking routine.

Valieva and the two Russian female Olympic champions before her are all trained by the same coach, Eteri Tutberidze. Adelina Sotnikova was 17 when she won gold at Sochi 2014, and Alina Zagitova followed up with her win at Pyeongchang 2018 when she was also 15.

This new generation of female Russian figure skaters are taking the Olympics by storm. After such a spellbinding debut, it can only be expected for Valieva to continue her dominance.

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