Ladies figure skating always is one of the most popular events at the Winter Olympics, but this year has fans even more excited for the action to start in Sochi.
Thanks to the first-ever team event in figure skating, we were able to get a small taste of each skater before he or she competes at an individual level. This gave many watching their first view of Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia, who dazzled the home crowd and earned first place in both the short and long programs.
All of a sudden, the 15-year-old phenom is a fan favorite and one of the stars of the Olympics. According to OddsChecker.com, Lipnitskaia trails only South Korea's Yuna Kim as a favorite to win gold. Mao Asada, of Japan, also has a good chance of medaling.
However, other competitors are capable of taking home a gold if everything goes right.
Ashley Wagner, United States
There are many who did not believe Ashley Wagner even deserved a place on the Olympic team. She finished in fourth at the 2014 United States Championships, but she earned her spot thanks to her previous success.
Wagner is a two-time U.S. champion and has been in contention for a medal at the World Championships multiple times. She is ready to prove that her most recent poor performance in Boston was just a fluke.
The Californian is certainly not lacking confidence, according to Nick McCarvel of NBC Olympics:
Even when she earned fourth place in her short program during the team event, Wagner was not happy about it, giving this face when the score came out:
She now has a chance to do even better in the individual event, and you can be certain she will be aiming to prove everyone else wrong.
Adelina Sotnikova, Russia
While Lipnitskaia stole the show during the team event, it is important to note that Adelina Sotnikova is actually the reigning Russian champion after winning the title in December. She also proved to be the best in her country in 2009, 2011 and 2012.
Her teammate might be the biggest star of the moment, but Sotnikova has proven herself over a long period of time. This is impressive considering she still is only 17 years old.
The only problem is that Russian officials decided Lipnitskaia was so much better that she would be the one skating both the short program and free skate in the team event. This could end up killing Sotnikova's confidence, especially after coming in second at the European championships.
Still, she has loads of talent and has proven it on the international stage in the past. If she can perform at her best, a gold medal is not out of the question.
Kaetlyn Osmond, Canada
Although Kaetlyn Osmond has not had the success of some of her competitors, she still has the chance to put up some high scores if things go well.
The Canadian had a solid showing in both the short program and free skate at the team event, impressing many including fellow skater Misha Ge:
What a Great Opening Performance of TeamLadies by Kaetlyn Osmond (That 3T+3T Lading was wow ! She… http://t.co/0uDIcKRJnG— Misha Ge (@Sk8Prince) February 8, 2014
Interestingly, she left Sochi after receiving her silver medal to train in Mannheim, Germany. Osmond explained this gives her a chance to refresh, via Andrew Bucholtz of Yahoo! Sports:
It gives me a chance to focus on what I have ahead, and not be overwhelmed by the entire experience. I’ve been there for a few days already and I’ll have some more time after my event is over. Overall now I’m really excited to be going to Germany to get ready.
If she can tweak a few things and come back ready to compete, Osmond can at least get onto the podium.
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