Lydia Rocque, then 17, had just skated a 7.23-second overtime in which she had gotten called for minor tripping against “The Russian Barbie,” Elena Berezhnaya, the 2008 Olympic champion who has said she would not be on the ice when this year’s “Battle of the Sexes” was played at Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
Thursday night, Ms. Rocque, the 2014 New York City Marathon champion, was returning to the same arena where she had won the 2000 national figure skating championship by tripping Missy Franklin, then 16. (Ms. Franklin got called for minor interfering, which she called a mistake, but the judged had already deducted points for her failure to get out of the way of Ms. Rocque’s eye movement.)
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“You know this. My impression of New York is she’s not giving me a sweet kiss,” the “Russian Barbie” said about Ms. Rocque during an interview after the competition. “She’s making me seem like a world champion instead of her opponent.”
This was a comment Ms. Franklin had about Ms. Rocque that was lost on the TV audience. And so, a few days later, the New York Post reported that the girl on the ice had committed a “major event blunder.”
Ms. Rocque smiled on Thursday, after speaking to reporters on the infield of the court at the Louis Armstrong court in Flushing Meadows, where she was named a Strong Female Athlete of the Year. While many competitors were uncomfortable with the spotlight (even though her good fortunes had improved significantly after the “Russian Barbie” comment), Ms. Rocque loved it. She seemed at ease and happy.
“I grew up skating in the same arena with the same competition,” she said. “I love ice skating. I’m from New York. I just love it.”
“I looked right to the chair,” she said, smiling broadly.
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