Polina Edmunds was simply not as good as her competition in the individual women's figure skating competition and finished in ninth place in Sochi on Thursday at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The Santa Clara, Calif., native finished with a final score of 183.25, which was 33.28 points away from a medal. Russian Adelina Sotnikova took home the gold, South Korean Yuna Kim took home the silver and Italy's Carolina Kostner won the bronze.
However, this can still be considered a strong showing for the 15-year-old skater with little experience heading into these games. She scored a very solid 122.21 in the free skate, and Bleacher Report's Dan Levy puts her youth and inexperience in perspective.
15 year old Polina Edmunds just had a personal best at the Olympics for USA in figure skating. I can’t even get my kids to help me shovel— Dan Levy (@DanLevyThinks) February 20, 2014
As Nick McCarvel of NBC Olympics notes, this was by far the most high-profile event for Edmunds:
First-ever senior event for 15-year-old Edmunds comes at the OLYMPICS. Skated as steady as she could w that kinda pressure #Sochi2014— Nick McCarvel (@NickMcCarvel) February 19, 2014
However, commentator and former champion Tara Lipinski was impressed by the youngster's efforts in her short program:
In her first run, Edmunds showed no nerves and landed every jump with excellent grace. The music of "Pink Cherries (Cha Cha Cha)" seemed to help her relax and stay cheerful in front of the judges.
The score of 61.04 was well beyond her personal best of 57.78 at the JGP Mexico Cup, and it put her in the early lead after the first set of competitors.
When asked about the performance, she was able to put it in perspective:
By the end of the short programs, Edmunds was in seventh place but within striking range of a medal. This kept up with her mindset from the start of the Olympics. According to Elliott Almond of the San Jose Mercury News, the figure skater explained, "Everyone has a chance at winning it. Everyone has different natural talents. Yulia's flexibility works for her, but everyone has a chance."
Although she was unable to earn a medal, she still performed as well as anyone could have expected in this competition. It's not hard to see Edmunds has a bright career ahead of her.
This performance surely puts Edmunds on the map as a top contender at the international level going forward. While the career of a female skater is often extremely short, Edmunds is just entering her prime.
With Yuna Kim and Carolina Kostner performing at a such high level into their 20s, it is clear that a longer run is possible.
The American has shown she can compete with the best in the world, and she will only get better with more practice and experience. If she continues to improve, she could be a top contender in the 2018 Olympics.
Until then, the rest of the world will have to look out in all other competitions.
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