In the "little war" between top Russian women skaters, generation next - Alina Zagitova - wins first skirmish at Olympics

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GANGNEUNG, South Korea - Last year, the Russian television network RT did an illuminating documentary on how coach Eteri Tutberidze trains her two enormously talented skaters, Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova, and on the relationship between the two teenagers.

At one moment in the 26-minute film, Medvedeva talked about keeping up with the burgeoning technical abilities of the many younger girls whom Tutberidze and her assistants also coach at the Crystal Rink in southwest Moscow.

"I don't want to lag behind the younger generation," Medvedeva said.

Then she laughed about the irony in her words.

"I'm 17, and I'm talking about the younger generation," she added. "Isn't that terrible?"

It is even more ironic that one skater in that generation may have arrived so soon she may take the 2018 Olympic gold medal away from Medvedeva, now 18, winner of the last two world titles.

That would be Zagitova, 15, who beat Medvedeva in a game of "Can you top this?" during the ladies short program Wednesday at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

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