In the packed field of Russian ladies’ figure skating, Yevgenia Medvedeva (pronounced yev-GHEN-ee-yuh med-VED-yev-uh) wasn’t an obvious pick to become one of the most dominant skaters today. She failed to make the podium at her first three Russian Junior Championships, but broke out in her last junior season, capturing both the Russian and the world championships junior titles. Medvedeva seamlessly made the transition to senior international competition in the 2015-16 season, going practically undefeated: She won four straight golds at the Grand Prix Final, Russian Championships, European Championships and world championships. She was the first became the first skater in history to win a world championship title the year after capturing a world junior title. She maintained her spot at the top of both Russia’s deep talent pool and the world’s ranks for the 2016-17 season when she won both her Grand Prix events, the Grand Prix Final, the Russian Championships and a second World title. She was the first skater to win back-to-back world titles since Michelle Kwan did so in 2000 and 2001. She holds all three scoring records (short program, free skate and overall) in ladies’ figure skating, and has broken her own records several times.
Medvedeva showed she wasn’t superhuman this season, though. After winning both of her Grand Prix assignments, it was revealed she had a stress fracture in her foot. She was forced to withdraw from the Grand Prix Final and Russian nationals. She returned in time for the European Championships, where her two-year winning streak was snapped. She captured silver behind her 15-year-old training partner, Alina Zagitova.