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2014 Olympic figure skating: Odds favor Yuna Kim, Julia Lipnitskaia (photos)

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Figure skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia continues Feb. 19 with the highly anticipated women's short program round. According to betting odds posted to SkyBet on Feb. 17, reigning world champion Yuna Kim of Korea is favored to defend her 2010 title with 1/1 odds, but she'll face stiff competition from several young competitors.

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Most likely to deny Kim the gold medal is Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia, the 15-year old skating phenom who made her Olympic debut during the team event. Her first place finishes in both segments of the competition helped to secure Russia the event's inaugural gold medal. The reigning European champion and Grand Prix Final silver medalist carries 6/4 odds of winning gold into the short program round of the singles event.

Ranked third with 4/1 odds of victory is Japan's Mao Asada, the former two-time world champion who claimed silver at the 2010 Vancouver Games behind Kim and gold at the 2012-14 Grand Prix Final in her home nation. World silver medalist Carolina Kostner of Italy is next in line with 12/1 odds, while U.S. national champion Gracie Gold follows with 22/1 odds of her own.

Tied with 25/1 odds of a gold medal outcome are Russia's Adelina Sotnikova and Kanako Murakami of Japan, while another pair of competitors, former U.S. national champion Ashley Wagner and Japan's Akiko Suzuki, both have 33/1 odds of victory.

The last three skaters who enter the competition with posted odds attached to their names all possess a 50/1 chance of standing atop the podium at competition's end. Included are Natalia Popova of Ukraine, Italy's Valentina Marchei, and U.S. national silver medalist Polina Edmunds.

Women's figure skating at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi begins at 7 a.m. Pacific time on Feb. 19. Cable subscribers can watch the action live via NBCOlympics.com or on NBC Sports Network.

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