Figure skating champion Zagitova gets dog for gold

May 26, 2018
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Russian Women's Olympic Figure Skating Gold medalist Alina Zagitova holds An Akita Inu puppy named Masaru presented by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in Moscow, Russia, Saturday, May 26, 2018. Abe is in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin in hopes of making progress on joint economic projects on disputed islands as a step toward resolving a decades-old territorial row. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)

MOSCOW (AP) — Olympic figure skating champion Alina Zagitova has been given a Japanese akita dog in a ceremony involving Japan’s prime minister.

Zagitova said at this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that she had fallen in love with the akita breed — which she calls a “devoted friend” — while training before the Games.

Her parents said they would consider having a dog if she won in Japan.

Japanese dog enthusiasts then rallied round to send the 16-year-old the puppy, named Masaru, or “victory”.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife Akie attended Saturday’s ceremony in Moscow during a visit for talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Zagitova won gold in February, beating her friend and fellow Russian Evgenia Medvedeva.

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