Kamila Valieva stumbled and fell her way through a nervy performance to end her controversial Beijing Olympics, while Russian Olympic Committee teammate Anna Shcherbakova won the gold medal Thursday in the women's free skate.
Valieva's mistake-filled skate left her in fourth place, without a medal and in tears. The 15-year-old was heavily favored to win the gold but heads home with nothing from the women's program and still faces investigation for a positive drug test.
In the end, her ROC teammate Shcherbakova won the gold in stunning fashion, but she also appeared devastated when the final scores came in.
The Beijing Games were supposed to be Valieva's coronation as the sport's next superstar. But after the revelation of her failed drug test in December due to the banned heart medication trimetazidine, and the Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision earlier this week to allow her to compete, the competition has been overshadowed by Valieva's participation.
If Valieva had won a medal, there would not have been a ceremony due to the ongoing investigation, and the figure skating community was outraged that she was allowed to compete.
No one seemed happy with the result Thursday. Shcherbakova, who finished with a 255.95 combined score from the two days of competition, stood alone while much of the ROC team consoled Valieva.
Valieva didn't speak to reporters in the mixed zone after her performance, instead quickly making her way through the room without stopping.
Shcherbakova, who did speak to reporters, didn't offer much insight into what had happened with Valieva but insisted she herself had no mixed emotions after earning the top spot on the podium.
"No, I am just happy. I am only happy," Shcherbakova said. "I still haven't realized what happened. I can't believe the Olympics are already over for me."
Alexandra Trusova, also representing the ROC, won the silver medal after a performance with five successful quad jumps. But a sobbing Trusova said she didn't want to participate in the medal ceremony, although she ultimately did attend the event.
Japan's Kaori Sakamoto won the bronze medal.
"I don't even know what to feel or what to think," Tara Lipinski, the 1998 Olympic gold medalist, said on the NBC broadcast. "You're watching [Valieva] go through this pain -- she's 15. I blame the adults around her to even be put in this position -- and all of the other athletes, what they've gone through this week. The possibility of there being no medal ceremony, or podium -- that's what every little girl dreams of when they think of the Olympics."
Alysa Liu, 16, had the best result among the trio of American women in the competition with a 208.95 combined score and seventh-place result. Mariah Bell, who had a clean skate, finished in 10th place and Karen Chen in 16th. Several Team USA members sitting in the stands walked out before Valieva took the ice Thursday.
Valieva tested positive for a banned heart medication at the Russian championship in December, but the result was not revealed until last week, shortly after she helped to win a team gold medal that is now also in doubt.
Valieva was cleared to compete in the free skate when the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that she had protected status as a minor and would suffer "irreparable harm" if she was not allowed to perform. The court did not rule on the full scope of the case, leaving that to anti-doping investigators.
"Do I feel sorry for her? I don't think so. I wouldn't say so," Sakamoto said after her short program. "Of course, there were moments where I thought: 'What's going to happen? What's happening?'"
Valieva has claimed the trimetazidine entered her system accidentally. But the World Anti-Doping Agency filed a brief stating that two other substances she acknowledged taking, L-carnitine and Hypoxen -- though both legal -- undercut the argument that a banned substance could have been ingested in error.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.