SOCHI (AFP) - Adelina Sotnikova won Russia's first ever women's Olympic figure skating gold in dramatic circumstances on Thursday as defending champion Kim Yu-Na was dumped into the silver medal position.
The 17-year-old took her first major title ahead of South Korean superstar Kim with Italy's Carolina Kostner winning the bronze after the free skating final.
"I can't do anything about this. I did all I could," said Kim, 23, who later confirmed it was her final competition. "The result was good because I made no mistake. The scores are given by the judges so I'm not in the right position to comment and there is nothing that will change with my words. The most important thing for me is to participate in these Games."
Despite an error when she two-footed a double loop in her combination jump Sotnikova improved her free skate score by a massive 18 points from her previous best a month ago at the Europeans.
It was a third title in Sochi for hosts Russia, with shouts of "Spassiba, Spassiba' (thanks) resounding around the Iceberg Skating Palace.
"I didn't see the performance of Yu-Na, but I did see her score. When I saw them, I just ran to my coach. I couldn't believe it," said Sotnikova.
She achieved the second best score ever in the free skate and was just 0.11 off the world record mark Kim achieved on her way to gold in Vancouver four years ago.
In contrast, both Kim and Kostner gave error-free performances.
"I just have faith that the judges made the right decision," said former world champion Kostner.
Kim said: "I'm so happy to be here. That was my last competition as a skater. I did a clean short and a clean long. I didn't watch the skaters so I didn't know about the other scores or how they skated." The reigning world champion's season had been hampered by a right foot injury.
"I didn't feel any pressure but it has been four years since Vancouver so I was exhausted," said Kim.
"I'm so glad it's over. Training is so hard for any athlete. When I finished I was so tired." Kim had been bidding to become just the third woman to win back-to-back titles after Norway's Sonja Henie, triple winner between 1928 and 1936, and Germany's Katarina Witt in 1984 and 1988.
She had watched in tears as the scores came up putting her second, 5.48 points behind four-time Russian national champion Sotnikova, who finished runner-up at the Europeans behind countrywoman Julia Lipnitskaia last month.
Lipnitskaia, 15, finished fifth on Thursday after she fell on a triple Salchow jump.
Sotnikova landed seven triples including a triple Lutz-triple toeloop to score 149.95 points for her skate to "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso" for an overall 224.59 points.