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Russian dark horse raises country’s hopes

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The ladies short program commenced today, February 19 at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games and brought with it some surprises.

Going into this event the clear favorites were Yuna Kim from South Korea, Mao Asada from Japan and Russian, Julia Lipnitskaia. Some of the skaters brought their best to the table, while others fell prey to their nerves and will be unable to recover and make the podium.

Reigning Olympic Champion, Yuna Kim was absolutely magnificent, landing a gorgeous triple lutz-triple toe combination and putting her into the lead. One would never guess that she had only competed five times internationally since the 2010 Olympic Games. Yuna displayed such elegance and even showed more emotion than we have seen from her in the past. She was absolutely stunning, yet she has two skaters who are hot on her tail, less than a point behind her.

The weight of the nation was on Julia Lipnitskaia’s shoulders entering the short program, as she has quickly become the new Russian superstar. Julia rarely, if ever, falls in competition yet the pressure must have gotten to her as she fell on her triple flip after landing a solid triple lutz-triple toe loop combination. The crowd seemed stunned and Julia Lipnitskaia’s disappointment was evident.

Following Julia Lipnitskaia’s performance was Italy’s Carolina Kostner. Kostner has not really been in the medal conversation, yet after her beautiful skate today, she is currently in third place with less then a point away from Yuna Kim. Going into the free skate, the question will be if she can have the endurance to pull off another amazing performance.

Russia's Adelina Sotnikova, was more than ready to come out from behind the shadow of her countrymen, Lipnitskaia. Adelina skated aggressively, attacking each jump with vigor. It was a fabulous performance, which interestingly enough put her in front of Carolina and into second place, less then 0.28 points away from Yuna Kim. Adelina has struggled with nerves in the past, so with the spotlight now back on her it will be interesting to see if she can hold up under the weight of this new pressure.

The disappointment came when Japan’s Mao Asada fell on her opening triple axel and doubled her triple loop. The result was devastating. Mao Asada, who has won two world championships, is currently in 16th place. She seemed absolutely shell-shocked as she sat in the kiss and cry.

It will be a fight to the finish as the top three skaters are less then one point away from each other and Gracie Gold is just six points away, so she is also in medal contention. If there is anything we can take way from today it is that you never know what will happen. It’s anyone’s medal to win or lose tomorrow, February 20 in the free skate.

Short program standings:

1. Yuna Kim KOR - 74.92
2. Adelina Sotnikova RUS - 74.64
3. Carolina Kostner ITA - 74.12
4. Gracie Gold USA - 68.63
5. Julia Lipnitskaia RUS - 65.23
6. Ashley Wagner USA - 65.21
7. Polina Edmunds USA - 61.04
8. Akiko Suzuki JPN - 60.97
9. Mae Berenice Meite FRA - 58.63
10. Nathalie Weinzierl GER - 57.63
11. Zijun Li CHN - 57.55
12. Valentina Marchei ITA - 57.02
13. Kaetlyn Osmond CAN - 56.18
14. Kanako Murakami JPN - 55.60
15. Kevin Zhang CHN - 55.80
16. Mao Asada JPN - 55.51
17. Elene Gedevanishvili GEO - 54.70
18. Haejin Kim KOR - 54.37
19. Gabrielle Daleman CAN - 52.61
20. Elizaveta Ukolova CZE - 51.87
21. Nicole Rajicova SVK - 49.80
22. Brooklee Han AUS - 49.32
23. So Youn Park KOR - 49.14
24. Anne Line Gjersem NOR - 48.56
25. Jenna McCorkell GBR - 48.34
26. Kerstin Frank AUT - 48.00
27. Viktoria Helgesson SWE - 47.84
28. Natalia Popova UKR - 47.42
29. Elena Glebova EST - 46.19
30. Isadora Williams BRA - 40.37

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