2 Russian figure skaters are embroiled in the greatest rivalry since Nancy and Tonya — and they're poised to take gold and silver at the Olympics

  • Accomplished Russian figure skaters Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova both train together under the same coach.
  • They're also set to face off at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games.
  • Medvedeva has long been a dominant presence in figure skating. However, she was recently hobbled by a broken foot.
  • Zagitova is fresh off a victory over Medvedeva at the 2018 European Figure Skating Championships.

An intense showdown is heating up the world of ice skating at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

This year, the battle for gold has seemingly come down to Russian figure skaters and training partners Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova.

Zagitova won the women's short program with a world record-breaking 82.92 points, while Medvedeva took second with 81.61 points. They're now favored to take the gold and silver after Friday's long program.

Before the Olympics, Medvedeva, 18, was long been regarded as the favorite. She's twice swept the world, European, and Russian championships. The Muscovite was also named one of Business Insider's 50 most dominant athletes.

RELATED: Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova

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Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova
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Russian figure skater Alina Zagitova
Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ladies Single Skating Short Program - Gangneung, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, performs. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ladies Single Skating Short Program - Gangneung, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, reacts after her performance. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ladies Single Skating Short Program - Gangneung, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, performs. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Figure Skating ? Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Team Event Women's Single Skating Free Skating competition final ? Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea ? February 12, 2018 - Alina Zagitova, an Olympic athlete from Russia, competes. REUTERS/John Sibley
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Ladies? Victory Ceremony - Moscow, Russia - January 20, 2018 - Gold medallist Alina Zagitova of Russia (L) and bronze medallist Carolina Kostner of Italy attend the ceremony. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Ladies? Victory Ceremony - Moscow, Russia - January 20, 2018 - Gold medallist Alina Zagitova of Russia (R) and silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia attend the ceremony. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Ladies Short Program - Moscow, Russia - January 18, 2018 - Alina Zagitova of Russia competes. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Ice Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final - Ladies Victory Ceremony - Nagoya, Japan - December 9, 2017. Silver medalist Maria Sotskova of Russia, gold medalist Alina Zagitova of Russia and bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada show their medals. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Figure Ice Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final - Ladies Victory Ceremony - Nagoya, Japan - December 9, 2017. Gold medalist Alina Zagitova of Russia poses on the podium. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Russia's Alina Zagitova (front 2nd R) reacts after competing in the figure skating team event women's single skating free skating during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Gangneung Ice Arena in Gangneung on February 12, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 21: Alina Zagitova of Olympic Athlete from Russia competes during the Ladies Single Skating Short Program on day twelve of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena on February 21, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Audi Cup of China - Ladies short program - Beijing, China - November 3, 2017 - Alina Zagitova of Russia in action. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 27, 2018: Russia's figure skaters Evgenia Medvedeva (C front) and Alina Zagitova (C back) high five young athletes during an Olympic farewell ceremony in which Russian sports officials, athletes, and supporters wished them good luck in PyeongChang, the host city of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games; 169 Russian athletes have been approved the International Olympic Committee to compete at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games under the Olympic flag as 'Olympic athletes of Russia' due to the sanctions imposed on the Russian Olympic Committee following a doping scandal. Sergei Savostyanov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 21: Alina Zagitova of Russia prepares in the Gala Exhibition during day five of the European Figure Skating Championships at Megasport Arena on January 21, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Joosep Martinson - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 21, 2018: Russia's figure skater Alina Zagitova performs during the exhibition gala at the 2018 ISU European Figure Skating Championships, at Megasport Arena. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JANUARY 21, 2018: Russia's figure skater Alina Zagitova performs during the exhibition gala at the 2018 ISU European Figure Skating Championships, at Megasport Arena. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, RUSSIA DECEMBER 24, 2017: Figure skater Alina Zagitova performs during an exhibition gala at the 2018 Russian Figure Skating Championships. Alexander Demianchuk/TASS (Photo by Alexander Demianchuk\TASS via Getty Images)
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - MARCH 17: Alina Zagitova of Russia competes in the Junior Ladies Short Program during the 3rd day of the World Junior Figure Skating Championships at Taipei Multipurpose Arena on March 17, 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
TAIPEI, TAIWAN - MARCH 17: Alina Zagitova of Russia competes in the Junior Ladies Short Program during the 3rd day of the World Junior Figure Skating Championships at Taipei Multipurpose Arena on March 17, 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
SAINT-GERVAIS-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - AUGUST 27: Alina Zagitova of Russia performs in the Gala Exhibition on day three of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating on August 27, 2016 in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, France. (Photo by Joosep Martinson - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
SAINT-GERVAIS-LES-BAINS, FRANCE - AUGUST 27: Alina Zagitova of Russia performs in the Gala Exhibition on day three of the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating on August 27, 2016 in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, France. (Photo by Joosep Martinson - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
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Zagitova, however, spoiled Medvedeva's winning streak at the 2018 European Figure Skating Championships, the Japan Times reported. The 15-year-old also scooped up gold at the last Russian Championships, which Medvedeva missed due to a broken foot.

The two Russians train with the same coach and are competing at the Winter Games as neutral athletes. They're two of the 169 Russian athletes who have been cleared to compete in Pyeongchang in the wake of their home country's massive, government-sponsored doping scandal.

RELATED: Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva

22 PHOTOS
Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva
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Russian figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva
Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ladies Single Skating Short Program - Gangneung, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Evgenia Medvedeva, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, performs. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson SEARCH "OLYMPICS BEST" FOR ALL PICTURES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ladies Single Skating Short Program - Gangneung, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Evgenia Medvedeva, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, performs. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ladies Single Skating Short Program - Gangneung, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Evgenia Medvedeva, an Olympic Athlete from Russia, performs. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Figure Skating - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Ladies Single Skating Short Program - Gangneung, South Korea - February 21, 2018 - Evgenia Medvedeva, an Olympic Athlete from Russia. REUTERS/John Sibley
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Exhibition Gala - Moscow, Russia - January 21, 2018 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia performs. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Ladies? Free Skating - Moscow, Russia - January 20, 2018 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia competes. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Ladies? Victory Ceremony - Moscow, Russia - January 20, 2018 - Gold medallist Alina Zagitova of Russia (back) and silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia embrace during the ceremony. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Ladies? Victory Ceremony - Moscow, Russia - January 20, 2018 - Gold medallist Alina Zagitova of Russia (C), silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia (L) and bronze medallist Carolina Kostner of Italy attend the ceremony. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Skating - ISU European Championships 2018 - Ladies? Free Skating - Moscow, Russia - January 20, 2018 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia react? after her performance. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating NHK Trophy - Ladies Winners Ceremony - Osaka, Japan - November 11, 2017 - Winner Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia celebrates during the victory ceremony. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup 2017 - Ladies? Free Skating - Moscow, Russia - October 21, 2017 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia competes. REUTERS/Alexander Fedorov
Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix Rostelecom Cup 2017 - Ladies? Short Program - Moscow, Russia - October 20, 2017 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia reacts after the performance. REUTERS/Alexander Fedorov
Figure Skating - ISU World Championships 2017 - Exhibition Gala - Helsinki, Finland - 2/4/17 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia applauds. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor
Figure Skating - ISU World Championships 2017 - Ladies Free Skating - Helsinki, Finland - 31/3/17 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia reacts after her performance. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Figure Skating - ISU World Championships 2017 - Ladies Short Program - Helsinki, Finland - 29/3/17 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia competes. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Figure Skating - ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Trophee de France 2016/2017 - Exhibition Gala - Paris, France - 13/11/16 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia performs. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
Figure Skating - ISU World Figure Skating Championships - Ladies Free Skate program - Boston, Massachusetts, United States - 02/04/16 - Gold medalist Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia (L) congratulates bronze medalist Anna Pogorilaya of Russia at the awards podium. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Figure Skating - ISU World Figure Skating Championships - Ladies Short Program - Boston, Massachusetts, United States - 31/03/16 - Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia competes. - REUTERS/Brian Snyder Picture Supplied by Action Images
TALLINN, ESTONIA - MARCH 04: Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia performs during the Women's Short Program on Day 1 of the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships at Tondiraba Ice Arena on March 4, 2015 in Tallinn, Estonia. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)
FUKUOKA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 06: (L to R) Serafima Sakhanovich of Russia, Maria Sotskova of Russia and Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia stands on the podium for the junior ladie's single award ceremony during day two of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2013/2014 at Marine Messe Fukuoka on December 6, 2013 in Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
FUKUOKA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 06: Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia compete in the Junior ladies's free program during day two of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2013/2014 at Marine Messe Fukuoka on December 6, 2013 in Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 12: Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia competes in the Junior Ladies Free Skating Final during day two of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final 2014/2015 at Barcelona International Convention Centre on December 12, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
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By all accounts, the training partners get along, but they're two monster talents from the same country.

The New York Times reported that Medvedeva has referred to their rivalry as "a little war," while Zagitova added, "It's not bad or negative like a malicious feeling of rivalry, but it is there."

Here's a look at what's shaping up to be one of the rivalries that's come to dominate the 2018 Winter Olympics:

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Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova embroiled in greatest rivalry since Nancy and Tonya
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Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova embroiled in greatest rivalry since Nancy and Tonya

Medvedeva first took to the ice at the age of three. She said her parents encouraged her to continue to pursue the sport in order to improve her figure and posture. The 18-year-old loves K-Pop, "Sailor Moon," and actors Grant Gustin, David Tennant, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

REUTERS/John Sibley

The daughter of an ice hockey coach, Zagitova hails from Izhevsk, but lives with her grandmother in Moscow in order to train. She has a pet cat and two chinchillas, enjoys drawing and rhine-stoning, and has expressed interest in one day opening a Japanese restaurant.

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Both skaters have long been favorites. Sports Illustrated predicted Zagitova would take home gold, while Medvedeva would snag silver. International Figure Skating Magazine predicted the opposite. And, sure enough, the two are in first and second after the women's short program.

REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

UPI reported that Zagitova's Olympic routine has a "higher base value." She has a tendency to accrue more points by backloading her program with jumps — a tactic she's employed at the Olympics, so far.

 REUTERS/Robert Pratta

UPI's analysis gave Zagitova the technical edge but argued that Medvedeva's artistry and storytelling abilities will likely balance things out.

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Either way, both skaters are on even ground when it comes to coaching. They both train with Eteri Tutberidze and Sergei Dudakov. Tutberidze told Ice Network she strives to get her athletes to trust her. "They are my life," she said. "They are my kids on ice."

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Tutberidze has said that Medvedeva is Zagitova's "role model," and that both athletes play off of one another in training. "I can sometimes show Zhenya and say, 'Look, how Alina is working,' and I tell Alina, 'Look, how Zhenya is working,'" she said, according to NBC.

REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Zagitova told the AP that she and her training partner are good friends. "There's obviously a rivalry at the training sessions, but it's not a bad one. It's playful. We encourage each other. It's good motivation."

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

"We are not only skating at the same rink, but in the same group at the same time," Medvedeva told the International Skating Union. "I love competition, the healthy competition that we have now in our group. The athletes have an absolutely normal and friendly relationship. When you feel that someone next to you is improving you start moving forward."

 REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

At the same time, both athletes are careful to not focus too much on one another. Zagitova has said that while she looks up to Medvedeva in trainings, she only competes with herself.

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

"Time has taught me that you don't need to watch others," Medvedeva told The Associated Press. "There are moments where, like Alina said, competition can stimulate you, but you need to concentrate on your own elements, and that's especially important for me."

REUTERS/David W Cerny

That's not the only thing the athletes agree on. Medvedeva and Zagitova are two of the 169 Russian athletes who have been cleared to compete in Pyeongchang. Both have made statements indicating that they disagree with the ban.

REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Russia was banned from the Games after its state-sponsored doping program was uncovered. The scandal implicated two Russian figure skaters, Ksenia Stolbova and Ivan Bukin.

(Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Medvedeva and Zagitova are competing as "Olympic athletes from Russia." They won't march behind the Russian flag at the Opening Ceremony, and, if either of them clinches the gold medal, the Russian national anthem will not play as they stand on the podium.

REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

Both skaters have criticized the IOC's ruling. In a letter arguing that the ban has harmed clean Russian athletes, Medvedeva said she would not want to compete beneath a "neutral" flag, if given an option: "I am proud of my country. It is a great honor for me to represent it at the Games. It gives strength and inspires me during the performances."

REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

Zagitova echoed these sentiments, saying that it was unfortunate that the ban happened. "Everyone knows which country they represent, and I know which country I will represent," she said.

REUTERS/Issei Kato

Either way, it's a good idea to keep an eye on these two figure skaters as they battle it out during the long program on Friday.

REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

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