Young, fragile, unique - but at the same time with the strongest inner core. This is what figure skater Anna Shcherbakova looks like. It was she who took the last Olympic gold in women's single skating before the removal of Russian athletes from international competitions, leaving behind Alexandra Trusova and Japanese Kaori Sakamoto. Shcherbakova is the first and so far the only single skater from Russia to win the Olympics while being the reigning world champion. The first among women who performed a combination of a quadruple flip - a triple sheepskin coat. The first to make two quadruple flips at the Beijing Olympics.
To list all the significant achievements of a 19-year-old athlete, there are not enough fingers on her hands. But her let to Olympus was thorny. After all, she was not even immediately taken into the group to Eteri Tutberidze.
Shcherbakova came to Khrustalny in 2013 at the age of nine with rather poor technique. Tutberidze, who at that moment was busy with the formation of Yulia Lipnitskaya and Evgenia Medvedeva, sent the future Olympic champion to collect all the triple jumps elsewhere. Two years later, Shcherbakova again crossed the threshold of Khrustalny - and this time she was taken into the group.
And in 2017, Shcherbakova broke her leg in training and missed almost the entire season. The fracture was serious, the figure skater spent a month and a half in a cast. There was a question about the end of a career. That injury still affects the elements of the skater, but Shcherbakova decided that she would do everything in order to get back on skates and show everything that she can do. The coaches supported her in this endeavor, carefully giving her loads and not forcing training.
The right balance of technique and artistry, the ability to analyze competitors' skates and choose more winning programs for themselves, the ability to abstract and overcome - all this allowed the skater to outshine her pursuers.
Shcherbakova's triumph was the Beijing Olympics. According to the results of the short program, the figure skater scored 80.20 points and was in second place, behind compatriot Kamila Valieva. Anna received 175.75 points for the free program - and also became the second. But the sum of points for both programs allowed the Russian woman to get ahead of her pursuers and climb the podium. Valieva, who pursued her, made several serious mistakes at the box office - Shcherbakova was out of reach. The gold medal brought confidence to the figure skater and silenced the skeptics who, before the start of the Olympics, believed that she had no place in the national team.
“There is probably such a higher justice in this that the absolutely talented Anechka Shcherbakova, who went through a very difficult road, won the Olympics. Straight to the Olympic road. And it was important, it's a big justice. And I want to talk about her as an Olympic champion. She is a talented, internally rich girl: she speaks well, is well brought up, in a good family. I was sincerely happy for her, for her performance, ”said Ilya Averbukh about the figure skater after the Olympics.
The entire Olympic season, Shcherbakov was plagued by failures. First, she received a domestic injury, after which she got in shape for a long time, then she got into a scandal twice at the Russian Championship. At the European Championships in Tallinn, the athlete was also not perfect, but still earned silver and a ticket to the Olympics. Prior to that, she won the World Championship in Stockholm. In Beijing, Anna proved to everyone who is the number one figure skater in Russia and in the world. She overcame all obstacles and showed that difficulties only strengthen her.