Polina Edmunds is in seventh place following the 2014 Winter Olympics ladies' figure skating short program on Wednesday at Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi, Russia.
There is still time for Edmunds to improve her standing before medals are awarded and results are final, as the free program will take place on Thursday. No matter what happens, though, Edmunds has done well just to qualify and compete in these Winter Games.
Edmunds registered a score of 61.04 for the segment, as Yuna Kim of South Korea, who scored 74.92, Adelina Sotnikova of Russia, who scored 74.62, and Carolina Kostner of Italy, who scored 74.12, lead the event in the hopes of reaching the podium.
Fellow USA Olympians Gracie Gold and Ashley Wagner also partook in this event, with Gold sitting fourth, notching a score of 68.63, and Wagner placing sixth at 65.21.
Despite her youth and inexperience, Edmunds wasn't phased by the big stage, and delivered one of the best performances of her young career, nailing her jumps. Kelly Whiteside of USA Today summed up her performance nicely.
Nice skate from @PolinaEdmunds, nice to be so young and so oblivious to pressure— Kelly Whiteside (@KellyWhiteside) February 19, 2014
Who will have a more decorated figure skating career?
Wagner fell twice at the U.S. championships, which made her selection to the team a source of controversy.
This marks Edmunds' first international competitive appearance at the senior level, but that fact hasn't caused her to relent. As reported by Philip Hersh of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, Edmunds was eager more than anything to showcase her talents on the Sochi ice:
.@PolinaEdmunds,15, making senior intnl fig debut at Oly, says "I can't wait to show everyone in the crowd and the judges what I can do."— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) February 16, 2014
Another USA figure skating star in Peggy Fleming made her debut at age 15 in 1964, finishing sixth before winning the gold in the subsequent Winter Olympics. Fleming weighed in on what Edmunds would be facing in her first Olympic experience, per the San Jose Mercury News' Mark Purdy:
This experience will open Polina's eyes to another world. I just remember what it was like for me. There's a whole lot going on. It'd be great if she could win a medal. But it will be good for her to see what it feels like at an Olympics, to get her feet wet, to observe the different skaters from around the world and their styles.
The opportunity for growth in Edmunds' future should bolster the excitement surrounding the progress she makes in Sochi. With Gold and Wagner drawing a lot of attention with their longer stead as senior competitors, Edmunds has burst onto the scene in a seamless manner and lived up to the hype that has accompanied her.
That's a tall order for any teenager to handle amid the Olympic atmosphere. Edmunds has proven to be up to the task, and how she matures and grows from this outing in Sochi will help shape her career as she embarks on the quest to fulfill her immense potential.
Even if a medal isn't squarely within her sights, it should only drive Edmunds to make the podium next time around—perhaps even the top of it.