On Olympic Ice, a Huge First

Russia's Kamila Valieva, 15, is first woman ever to land quad at Olympics
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2022 9:00 AM CST
'We Will Be Talking About This Moment for the Next 100 Years'
Kamila Valieva, of the Russian Olympic Committee, reacts after the women's team free-skate program during the figure skating competition at the Winter Olympics on Monday in Beijing.   (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

"HISTORY MADE!" was NBC's excited tweet after a young Olympic figure skater from Russia landed a quadruple jump in Beijing during the women's team free-skate program. Sports Illustrated reports that Kamila Valieva, 15, pulled off both a quad salchow (watch her do it here) and a quad toe on Monday, making her the first woman ever to land a quad at the Games. Valieva did fall on her third quad attempt, but she threw in a triple axel for good measure to complete her program. Valieva's performance helped propel the Russian team to gold; the US team came in second, while Japan clinched the bronze.

Per NBC Sports, Valieva is only the third woman to even attempt the difficult move. At the 1992 Games in Albertville, France, French skater Surya Bonaly just missed fully completing one, though she says she'd landed them in practice. Then, at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Japanese competitor Miki Ando fell during her attempt. NBC notes Valieva likely won't be the last woman to complete a quad at these Games, as two of her teammates on the Russian Olympic Committee have one listed on their program.

Reaction to Valieva's feat was breathless. "We will be talking about this moment for the next 100 years," said former Olympic skating medalist Tara Lipinski, now an NBC commentator for the Games, per 11Alive. Johnny Weir, also an ex-skating Olympian turned commentator, noted, per USA Today: "If that performance didn't inspire the whole world to take up ice skating, I don't know what would." That outlet has more on Valieva, who switched to skating from other activities when she was younger, because "gymnastics was a bit painful and ballet bored her," per International Figure Skating. (More figure skating stories.)

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