Alina Zagitova Is the 15-Year-Old Russian Figure Skating Phenom We Can't Stop Talking AboutGet the Full StoryThe 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics are in full swing, but if you've had your eyes glued to the TV, like I have, during the team figure skating competition, chances are you experienced many mouth-dropping and eye-bulging moments, as skaters from all over the world took to the ice. But some of the most wow-worthy moments came from skaters most of us have never heard of before, until now. One those people is Alina Zagitova, a 15-year-old from Russia whose performance in the team competition freestyle skate bumped her country up to win a silver medal. She's projected to rival with her teammate Evgenia Medvedeva for gold in the individual competition, and before she does, here are the five things you need to know about her.
She Began Skating at Age 5
Though Alina is new to the Olympics, she isn't new to the ice. She began figure skating at age 5, and by age 13, she had moved into an apartment in Moscow with her grandmother so she could train with a new coach. Since then, Alina has won gold medals at the exclusive 2016-2017 Junior Grand Prix Final, the 2017 European Youth Olympics, and the 2017 World Junior Championships.
She's Named After Another Olympian
Her parents decided to name her after another Russian Olympian, Alina Kabaeva, who was a rhythmic gymnast in the Salt Lake City Olympics.
She Has Cats and a Chinchilla as Pets
When Alina isn't on the ice, she enjoys hanging out with her animals. She has pet cats and a chinchilla. She also enjoys drawing and watching American TV shows.
She Shares a Coach With Another Major Olympian
There's that saying, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer," and apparently in figure skating, it rings true when it comes to competitors. Alina shares a coach with Evgenia, who is her number one competitor and also after the gold medal at this year's Olympics.
Athletics Run in Her Family
She's not the only member of her family who craves being on the ice. Alina's younger sister, Sabina, has also competed in figure skating, and her father, Ilnaz Zagitov, played ice hockey at the national level and has worked as an ice hockey coach in Russia.
Watch Alina skate as the Olympics air live on NBC.