USA women's figure skating struggling to generate interest

Here's What You Need to Know Before Watching Women's Figure Skating Tonight

It's Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova, then a race for the bronze medal

Women's singles, free program (Thursday, 8 p.m. ET/Friday, 10 a.m. local time): As expected, the fight for gold in women's singles figure skating is between Russian athletes Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva, both of whom were competing at a different level.

With the gold medal on the line, the women take to the ice in the final figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

So far this season, it's worked: the 15-year-old Russian performed her backloaded Don Quixote program in the team competition at these Olympics, earning a season's-best free skate score of 158.08 points.

It began on February 17, when Japan placed two athletes atop the podium in the men's single free skating event, medals obtained with a combination of short program and free skate scores.

Before Wednesday, the world record for the short program had been set by Medvedeva earlier this year, Medvedeva in 2017, Medvedeva in 2016 and Mao Asada from Japan in 2014. Another is looming heading to Friday's free skate to conclude Olympic figure skating.

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"I know what I can do better", she said. "It was a special sort of challenge for me and I'm excited for [the free skate]".

"I had good training in Seoul", Sakamoto stated.

It's a testament to the strength of her teammates, Medvedeva and Zagitova, that Sotskova flies under the radar. When the women's competition begins Wednesday at the Pyeongchang Olympics, Mirai Nagasu, Bradie Tennell and Karen Chen will be trying to get the USA back on the Winter Games podium for the first time since 2006. She's been seen awaiting scores while holding a plush toy of Luna, Sailor Moon's cat and companion.

Nine days after becoming the first US woman and third overall to land a triple axel in the Olympics, Mirai Nagasu came down on two feet on the jump, then fell to the ice.

"I hear so many news that Alina Zagitova and Yevgenia Medvedeva are opponents on the ice and off the ice", she said. The 31-year-old is twice Zagitova's age and is competing in her fourth Winter Olympics.

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Both Zagitova and Medvedeva are already medalists in PyeongChang, capturing silver for their contributions to the team event. Watch a clip from her masterful skate above and the full program over on NBC. She won the Grand Prix final earlier this season with Medvedeva out injured. No other female skater - not Zagitova, not Medvedeva - had gone fall-less this season.

Zagitova won last year's World Junior title and became the first junior woman to surpass the 200-point barrier. That capitalizes on a scoring system that awards a 10% bonus to hard moves performed toward the end, based on the idea that it's easier to land jumps early in a program when the skater is fresh.

Americans Nagasu and Tennell wish their recent success could have carried over into the short program. She continues to up her scores.

"I'm trying not to think about medals", Medvedeva told a news conference. "I'm not very fond of being in the first warm-up [group]". "I just wanted her to skate well so that she (had) strength and confidence in the individual event".

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