(Reuters) - Julia Lipnitskaia’s youthful exuberance shone out as the 15-year-old Russian trumped five-times gold medalist Carolina Kostner to win the women’s title on her debut appearance at the European championships in Budapest on Friday.
She was the youngest competitor in the field but easily outclassed her more experienced rivals with a spellbinding routine to John Williams’ score from “Schindler’s List”.
Lipnitskaia produced a near-flawless skate as she combined soaring jump combinations with dazzling spins to wow the judges who rewarded her with 209.72 points.
She beat compatriot Adelina Sotnikova, who had a narrow lead after the short programme, by more than seven points. Sotnikova paid the price for failing to land a triple lutz cleanly.
Italy’s Kostner, the 2012 world champion, will have to improve drastically to have any hope of winning an Olympic medal after trailing a distant third with 191.39 points.
Writing by Pritha Sarkar in London; editing by Ken Ferris