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Ladies figure skating short program takes center ice at Sochi Winter Olympics

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The crown jewel of the figure skating discipline, ladies’ singles, was finally on tap Wednesday. This marquee event has many ice skating fans waiting with baited breath.

Team USA has had great success in winning gold medals such as Peggy Fleming (1968), Dorothy Hamill (1976), Kristi Yamaguchi (1992), Tara Lipinski (1998), and Sarah Hughes (2002).

NBC waited till the last hour of their primetime coverage for this popular segment. It was worth the wait since it had beauty, grace, and drama. Each of the three Americans, Polina Edmunds, Ashley Wagner, and Gracie Gold, skated to clean and respectable programs.

A couple of times Gracie made some rough, but doable landings. Currently they stand at seventh (Edmunds), sixth (Wagner), and fourth (Gold).

If in the event Team USA doesn’t get onto the podium, it will be the second consecutive time USA comes home empty handed in ladies figure skating. The last time this happened was at the 1948 Winter Olympics.

Reigning gold medalist in Vancouver, Yuna Kim of South Korea, leads the pack of skaters. Kim skated a breath-taking short program, though her score didn’t beat her personal best set back in 2010.

Yuna has been away from international competition for nearly two years. Even though she’s in the lead, two other competitors are almost in a three-way tie, less than a point behind.

One of the three-way leaders, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, literally stole the show from her fellow teammate, the 15-year-old sensation, Yulia Lipnitskaya. Adelina skated flawlessly and wowed the hometown crowd, while Yulia started feeling the intense pressure falling on the ice.

Mao Asada of Japan, and silver medalist at the 2010 Winter Games, could not complete her legendary triple axel and fell in the landing. She was the first women to successfully land this feat in previous competitions. Asada was the last one to skate and is now in 16th place.

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