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10 Figure skating leading ladies to watch at the Olympic Games

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The Olympic Games are finally here and the ladies will be taking to the ice for the figure skating short program team event on February 8 and the individual event, which begins on February 19. Ladies from all over the world will be competing, so who should you watch and which ladies are really contenders? Here's my top 10 list that will not only inform you on who to keep an eye on, but will also give you backgrounds for each of the skaters. Here's the 411 on the leading ladies in these 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

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Yuna Kim working to continue her reign
Yuna Kim working to continue her reign Photo by Song Kyung-Seok-Pool/Getty Images

Yuna Kim working to continue her reign

Known in South Korea as the “queen” reigning Olympic Champion, Yuna Kim has come back for yet another crown for her career. Yuna took some time off after winning gold at the 2010 Olympic Games and then began her come back about two years ago.

Her first major competition back was the World Championships in 2013 where she easily won. It looked like she would be able to sail into another Olympic Games remaining flawless, yet some issues have begun to plague her. Yuna had an injury earlier this season that sidelined her for part of the season. She has since recovered, but it has cast a shadow on her comeback.

Yuna’s programs this season do not seen to have that same spark that she had previously, but she is still a favorite and a contender. She could easily slip back into her pattern of perfection, winning yet another Olympic medal.

Yuna Kim: WATCH

Mao Asada hungry for gold
Mao Asada hungry for gold Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Mao Asada hungry for gold

Japan’s Mao Asada won the silver at the 2010 Olympic Games and she is hungry for gold. She has come out stronger then ever this season, armed with a triple axel. Mao has had a solid season, winning the Grand Prix events along with the Grand Prix Final, but then faltered at nationals where she placed third.

It will be a battle of nerves for Mao as she has the ability and the skill and now she will need to harness her strengths and not allow everything else to get to her. She has won the world title twice and now she wants to add “Olympic Champion” to her resume.

Mao Asada: WATCH

Julia Lipnitskaia: Youth and athleticism working in her favor
Julia Lipnitskaia: Youth and athleticism working in her favor Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Julia Lipnitskaia: Youth and athleticism working in her favor

Only 15-years-old this Russian skater has stormed onto the skating scene. Julia Lipnitskaia has won two Grand Prix events this season along with the European Championships just a few weeks ago, surpassing some of the best skaters in the world. Her athletic and technical abilities are mind-blowing. There’s still room for growth within her artistry, but overall she is an incredible skater and a force to be reckon with.

Julia Lipnitskaia: WATCH

WATCH

Powerhouse Adelina Sotnikova
Powerhouse Adelina Sotnikova Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Powerhouse Adelina Sotnikova

Another young Russian lady on the hunt is Adelina Sotnikova. Adelina has had some ups and downs this season, but when she is on, she is fabulous. Adelina and Julia seem to go back and forth on the podium, winning first and second place.

Competing in her home country, on home ice, with all of the expectations on her may prove difficult to handle, as nerves to be an issue for Sotnikova. Yet Adelina is a strong and determined competitor and she will not go down without a fight.

Adelina Sotnikova: WATCH

The new Gracie Gold
The new Gracie Gold Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The new Gracie Gold

A transformed Gracie Gold took to the ice at the U.S. Championships and displayed both confidence and stability. Her recent pairing with renowned coach, Frank Carroll, seems to have brought about a calm to her. Though she has only had minor victories on the international stage thus far, she seems to be building and peaking at just the right time. It’s difficult to say if this new Gracie is temporary or permanent, but if she preforms the way she did at the U.S. Championships then she might just be a contender.

Gracie Gold: WATCH

Italy's Carolina Kostner attempt to make history
Italy's Carolina Kostner attempt to make history Photo by Oleg Nikishin/ Getty Images

Italy's Carolina Kostner attempt to make history

Italy has never won an Olympic ladies figure skating medal, and Carolina Kostner is back again for her second Olympics to make history. Kostner, now 26, is considered a veteran in ladies figure skating. Though she lacks some of the athletic abilities that the younger ladies possess, Carolina makes up for her it with her stunning artistic abilities, which helped her win the world championships in 2012. This season Kostner has a beautiful program set to Bellaro for her free skate. With such depth in the women’s field, Carolina will really have to be at the top of her game if she hopes to medal.

Carolina Kostner: WATCH

Ashley Wagner sets out to prove herself
Ashley Wagner sets out to prove herself Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Ashley Wagner sets out to prove herself

Never underestimate the underdog who is known for her fierce fight. Ashley Wagner had a nightmare unravel before her at the U.S. Championships as she fell twice in her free skate. Although still named to the Olympic Team after finishing fourth, Wagner is going in hoping to prove to the world that she deserves to be on the Olympic Team. That angst inside of her could either cause her to break under the immense pressure or it could cause her to emerge and grab a hold of the moment before her.

Wagner has been fairly successful on the international scene, but she seems to trail behind the main leading ladies like Asada, so even if she does her best it is difficult to know if there is real potential for her to medal.

Ashley Wagner: WATCH

Akiko Suzuki will be fighting her way into the spotlight
Akiko Suzuki will be fighting her way into the spotlight Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Akiko Suzuki will be fighting her way into the spotlight

Another beautiful Japanese skater is Akiko Suzuki. Akiko is a veteran who is absolutely beautiful to watch. From her bright smile to her soft artistic touches, Akiko is not one to be forgotten. She has announced that this will be her final season and she is giving it everything she’s got. Though she typically finds herself on the podium, it not usually in first place. Yet at this year’s national championships, she overcame Mao Asada taking the national title. This could be Akiko’s moment where she finally gets the spotlight all to herself.

Akiko Suzuki: WATCH

Polina Edmunds: U.S.A's budding future
Polina Edmunds: U.S.A's budding future Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Polina Edmunds: U.S.A's budding future

For Polina Edmunds, this is her first international competition. She’s quite an athletic skater who has a nice triple lutz-triple toe combination in her arsenal, and without the pressure of the other ladies she, she carries a lot of potential. She is yet to possess the quality and maturity of some of the other ladies, which will make it challenging for her to be a true contender, but it will mainly be a chance for her to gain some experience at her first Olympic Games.

Polina Edmunds: WATCH

Kanako Murakami: Japan's rising star
Kanako Murakami: Japan's rising star Photo by Victor Fraile/Getty Images

Kanako Murakami: Japan's rising star

Japanese skater, Kanako Murakami, is another skater that might just find herself in the mix as she recently won first at Four Continents. Kanako came in fourth at world’s last year and has a lot of beautiful qualities. It would not be surprising to see her sneak into the spotlight as she has so much potential just waiting to be unlocked at just the right time.

Kanako Murakami: WATCH

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