The 2014 Olympics is full of exhilarating events—none more anticipated than women's figure skating. One of the most graceful and thrilling highlights in Sochi so far, figure skating has been the center of attention for many Olympic viewers.
Now that the team competition has concluded, it's time to focus on the upcoming individual competition. There are many talented athletes who will be participating in these events—some have already captured the public's adoration with stellar early performances.
Let's take a closer look at the stars to watch throughout the duration of the Winter Games in Sochi, as well as the remaining full event schedule for women's figure skating.
Be sure to keep track of the remaining events, as each is sure to deliver tantalizing performances. You most certainly do not want to miss any of the upcoming action on the ice in Sochi.
|Tuesday||Feb. 11||Pairs Short Program||NBC||10 a.m. ET|
|Wednesday||Feb. 12||Pairs Free Skating||NBC||10:45 a.m. ET|
|Sunday||Feb. 16||Ice Dance Short Dance||NBC||10 a.m. ET|
|Monday||Feb. 17||Ice Dance Free Dance||NBC||10 a.m. ET|
|Wednesday||Feb. 19||Ladies Short Program||NBC||10 a.m.. ET|
|Thursday||Feb. 20||Ladies Free Skating||NBC||10 a.m. ET|
If you are unable to catch the action on NBC, live streaming is available on NBCOlympics.com.
Stars to Watch
Yulia Lipnitskaya, Russia
Fifteen-year-old prodigy Yulia Lipnitskaya of Russia became the second-youngest athlete ever to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics on Sunday. She put on a dazzling performance in the team free skating event that resulted in a dominating score of 141.51.
Needless to say, it was a flawless Olympic debut for the young athlete.
Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya won the short and long programs in the women's team event. Photo: Chang W. Lee/NYT pic.twitter.com/G6ijTtr7WZ— NYT Olympics (@SochiNYT) February 9, 2014
Lipnitskaya's performance was astonishing, as she did not seem nervous, even though she had never skated on such a large stage. Her flexibility, technically sound spins and flawless jumps contributed to a performance that earned a standing ovation from the audience at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
After Russia claimed the gold medal in the team competition, Lipnitskaya said that she was focused on improving going forward, according to an interview with RT.com:
For me, this skate was not the best. We will work on mistakes so that on the individual championship there are no flaws. It was annoying that I failed the last rotation. And, yes, I could strengthen jumps. In the individual tournament, I set the highest goals.
If we have yet to see her best, we are certainly in for a treat in the events to come.
Gracie Gold, United States
Another teenager made her debut at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Eighteen-year-old American skater Gracie Gold put together a mesmerizing performance during Sunday's long program. Unfazed by the big stage, Gold nailed all 11 of her jumps on the way to a score of 129.36.
The score was good enough to finish in second place in the event—just behind Lipnitskaya.
During an interview with Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News, Gold noted she is looking forward to the continued competition, "I think I'm getting my stride. I'm thrilled, definitely relieved. Each experience I learn something more about myself. Someone named Gold has never won gold, I'm told."
In the same interview, she even showed the maturity to praise Lipnitskaya's performance, "She's dynamite, guys. She's completely unfazed. She has no spine, but she has iron in her bones. She goes 'Ding, ding, ding. I'm not tired.'"
Lipnitskaya and Gold blew away the rest of the pack, as Italy's Valentina Marchei finished third with a score of 112.51—29 points shy of Lipnitskaya and just under 17 points shy of Gold.
Meryl Davis, United States
Ice dancing specialist Meryl Davis kept Team USA in the team competition by producing amazing performances with partner Charlie White. With a fluid twizzle, picture-perfect lines and crisp spins, Davis is a sight to behold on the ice.
She has a great rapport with White, as they have been skating together since 1997. The couple finished first in the ice dance short dance and then upped the ante by producing a score of 114.34 in the ice dance free dance to earn the top spot once again.
NBC analyst Scott Hamilton explained that Davis and White are the favorites this year, according to an interview with Jeff Seidel of the Detroit Free Press:
I would say it sends a message. I don't think Scott and Tessa were at their best. But it shows Charlie and Meryl are prepared and ready to take on anybody here. I think, with Scott and Tessa, skating stronger performances, they will be closer. The fact that the score was so high sends a message that Charlie and Meryl are the favorites to win.
Tessa Virtue, Canada
Possibly Davis' biggest rival, Canadian Tessa Virtue is one of the most flawless ice dancers in the world. Back in Vancouver in 2012, it was Virtue and partner Scott Moir who earned the gold medal, with the Davis-White combo taking home the silver.
This year, the tables have turned so far, as Moir points out that they were beaten handily in the team free skate event during an interview with Jeff Seidel. Said Moir, "We got smoked. We got beat by eight points in the free. We weren't even close."
However, Virtue is still an immensely talented ice dancer and has what it takes to overtake the Americans in the individual competition. These two couples are no strangers, as they have been competing against each other for years.
Look for the dramatic conclusion to this rivalry when individual ice dancing takes place later this month in Sochi.