Last night, Evgenia Medvedeva, a Russian figure skater expected to win the gold medal in the ladies singles event later in the Games, skated for the Russian team in the short program. Yes, Russian team. As the commentators noted during the first night of the team skating event, it’s easier to say “Russia” than “Olympic Athlete from Russia” and who are we fucking kidding anyway.
Anyway, Medvedeva, the two time defending world champion, was almost flawless, save for a hiccup on her double axel. Her score, 81.06 was the best in the women’s field and gave Russia 10 points in the team competition.
If you’ve been watching the figure skating with NBC’s enhanced features, you’re able to learn information about the rules of skating and about the skater you’re viewing onscreen. This is how viewers caught onto the fact that they weren’t simply watching perhaps the best female skater in the world at the moment do difficult jumps and spins; they were watching a skater perform a program about “’the flight of the soul’ as it leaves someone’s body at the point of ‘clinical death.’”
This is not the first time that Medvedeva has chosen an interesting theme or piece of music to perform to. During the 2016-2017 skating season, Medvedeva performed her long program to music from the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which centers around the events of 9/11 and their aftermath and the cut of music the skater used included sounds of the sirens from that day as well as a snippet of President Bush’s speech. Medvedeva won her second consecutive world title with that program. So why not win an Olympic gold with a program about clinical death?
I’m just happy that the skaters from Russia are at these Olympics. The figure skating competition would be so much more boring without them.