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Medvedeva captures gold in dominant fashion

New world-record scores put 17-year-old on top; Pogorilaya secures silver
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Evgenia Medvedeva entered the free skate with a sizable lead, and after collecting a new world-record 150.79 points for her Alexandre Desplat free, the talented Russian departed Ostrava with her second straight European championships gold medal. Her event total of 229.71 was also a new record, replacing the previous mark of 228.56 held by Kim Yuna. -Getty Images

Evgenia Medvedeva won her second straight European championship Friday night at the 2017 European Figure Skating Championships in Ostrava, setting new world records in the process. Her free skate score of 150.79 points was 2.34 clear of her previous personal best and more than enough to help her secure the top spot on the podium. That mark also set a new world record for the free skate.

Fellow Russian Anna Pogorilaya managed to hold on to the second spot after a rough free skate, and Italy's Carolina Kostner picked up the bronze medal with the second-strongest free program of the evening.

Medvedeva, the 2016 world gold medalist, skated to music from the Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close soundtrack, playing the life of a person who realizes that the plane of her beloved one is being hijacked. Time and time again, Medvedeva manages to present perfect programs with precision and accuracy, and on Friday, she moved from her opening triple flip-triple toe combination and straight into five additional triples.

Her 150.79 free skate points raised her overall score to 229.71, which was also a new world record, surpassing the previous mark set by Yu-Na Kim at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

"I did not beat the record in my short program, so I definitely wanted to do it in the free program," Medvedeva said as she left the ice. "I was in a good mood today, and everything felt fantastic. I just realized how much I like this competition and wanted to enjoy it to the fullest. Four triple jumps in a combination is my limit, so I have to work more and there is room for improvements. I have to overcome myself; everyone in big sports has to. I want to try various things because that's what sports are all about."

Pogorilaya had a rough night, but she managed to hold on during her program. The talented Russian had to redesign the performance with intricate mathematics as she was delivering her elements, though some eluded her in an interesting, yet unexpected, domino effect. Her opening triple lutz didn't allow her to combine the planned triple toe, so she placed it one minute later after her second triple lutz (the toe was subsequently deemed under-rotated). Pogorilaya then added a triple salchow to her triple loop, and a planned double toe came after her second triple loop.

"I did more than I had planned," she said while laughing. "I certainly didn't plan on so many changes, but I was quite happy actually: First, because I found lots of power in my skate, and second, because I could change those combinations throughout."

Pogorilaya garnered 137 points for her routine, 1.12 behind Kostner, but still good enough to secure the silver medal.

Kostner remained completely focused throughout her program, while also skating with a heightened sense of inspiration. Performing to a Vivaldi piece, Kostner moved along with the same soul from start to finish. Her jumps were delicate and light in a way only she is capable of. She landed them smoothly, so as not to disturb the pure line of Vivaldi's music. Opting for a simpler triple toe-triple toe combination, which added 10 points to her tally, Kostner amassed 138.12 points for her free program -- the second best of the evening -- to beat her season's best by 11.84 points.

The talented Italian skater, who remains a figure skating icon, said after her short program that she needed to stay calm and focused to be successful. After accomplishing that mission, she was able to deliver a strong free skate, which ultimately led to the claiming of another medal.

"It was a tough fight, and I'm glad the ladies can put on such a good fight," she said shortly after her free program. "There was some amazing skating tonight, and I feel honored to be part of this. I hope we can encourage young people. I didn't make any major mistakes, but there is always something you could do better, of course. It was not an easy task to skate after Evgenia."

Russia's Maria Sotskova had what could be considered an off-night. The opening triple lutz of her first combination was too slow for her to land the subsequent triple toe, and she fell. Sotskova put a hand down on her triple loop and fell again while landing her intended triple lutz. She nonetheless skated a delicate rendering of Alfred Schnittke's "Adagio," displaying the actions of a butterfly moving about the sky with freedom. Her strongest element of the night may have been her triple salchow-loop-triple toe, which amassed 11.92 points, helping her earn a free skate score of 120.35 and an event score of 192.52.

France's Laurine Lecavelier was a hit with the audience, as she delivered a nearly perfect package that included a strong triple lutz-triple toe combination and five additional triples. Her main trick came immediately after her layback spin, as she changed costumes in the middle of her routine. Or, more precisely, as she uncovered her black dress from her light pink and green spring outfit. The crowd, feeding off the emotion of the Grease soundtrack playing throughout the arena, didn't stop cheering and clapping until the end of her program. The French champion amassed 124.28 points for her free and 188.10 points overall.

Nicole Rajičová ended her European championships experience in sixth place with 179.70 points, while Leona Hendrickx finished seventh with 172.71 points.