Women's Figure Skating Olympics 2014: Complete Leaderboard Entering Free Program

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Women's Figure Skating Olympics 2014: Complete Leaderboard Entering Free Program
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

The marquee event of Olympic figure skating got underway on Wednesday in Sochi, as 30 women took to the ice for the short program. While it's not expected to see 2010 gold medalist Yuna Kim atop the leaderboard, there were some notable disappointments as well.

Chief among them was Japanese star Mao Asada, who entered as a legit medal contender but stumbled her way to a 16th place standing after the short program, per Joe Lago of Yahoo! Sports.

While the American group of women face an uphill battle to earn medals, the trio of Gracie Gold (fourth, 68.63), Ashley Wagner (sixth, 65.21) and Polina Edmunds (seventh, 61.04) are all still in the top 10. Wagner once again made some waves with her reaction to her score, as she was controversially outdone by 15-year-old Russian Julia Lipnitskaia by 0.02 points.

Christine Brennan of USA Today offered a reason behind Wagner's displeasure.

While the top three finishers have separated themselves from the pack, there's still plenty to be decided on Thursday. Here's a look at the entire leaderboard after Wednesday's short routines, the schedule for the free program and quick takes on the leaders so far. For complete event information, visit Sochi2014.com.

Leaderboard Women's Figure Skating
Rank Country Name Score Thursday Order
1 KOR Yuna Kim 74.92 24
2 RUS Adelina Sotnikova 74.64 21
3 ITA Carolina Kostner 74.12 20
4 USA Gracie Gold 68.63 22
5 RUS Julia Lipnitskaia 65.23 19
6 USA Ashley Wagner 65.21 23
7 USA Polina Edmunds 61.04 17
8 JPN Akiko Suzuki 60.97 15
9 FRA Mae Berenice Meite 58.63 14
10 GER Nathalie Weinzierl 57.63 18
11 CHN Zijun Li 57.55 13
12 ITA Valentina Marchei 57.02 16
13 CAN Kaetlyn Osmond 56.18 7
14 CHN Kexin Zhang 55.80 11
15 JPN Kanako Murakami 55.60 10
16 JPN Mao Asada 55.51 12
17 GEO Elene Gedevanishvili 54.70 8
18 KOR Haejin Kim 54.37 9
19 CAN Gabrielle Daleman 52.61 3
20 CZE Elizaveta Ukolova 51.87 4
21 SVK Nicole Rajicova 49.80 6
22 AUS Brooklee Han 49.32 2
23 KOR So Youn Park 49.14 1
24 NOR Anne Line Gjersem 48.56 5
25 GBR Jenna McCorkell 48.34 --
26 AUT Kerstin Frank 48.00 --
27 SWE Viktoria Helgesson 47.84 --
28 UKR Natalia Popova 47.42 --
29 EST Elena Glebova 46.19 --
30 BRA Isadora Williams 40.37 --


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Women's Figure Skating Free Program

Date: Thursday, Feb. 20

Time: 10 a.m. ET

TV: NBC Sports Network

Live Stream: NBC Live Extra

Additional TV: NBC Prime time (8 p.m. / 7 p.m. CT)

1. Yuna Kim, Korea

Queen Yuna will have to be sharp on Thursday if she wants to defend her crown from the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

She's in the driver's seat for now with a score of 74.92, but there's only 0.80 points between her and third place. But on Wednesday, she nailed her high-skill routine without any slip-ups and showed why she's still the gold standard when it comes to women's figure skating.

Nancy Armour of USA Today passed along comments from Kim after she finished Day 1 of the competition in first place:

"I was really nervous when I was in the warm-up," Kim, 23, said through an interpreter. "I just said, `Let's believe in myself,' and that's how I tried to relax. I'm satisfied that I did everything well without a mistake."

As Armour also noted, only Sonja Henie and Katarina Witt have ever repeated as Olympic gold medalists, so Kim is on the verge of joining some elite company. Since she has the 24th and final starting spot in Thursday's order, Kim will know the magic number she needs to win before she even steps on the ice.

That will be a lot of pressure for Kim, but if she masters her long routine, it could serve as the ultimate curtain call to her Olympic career.

2. Adelina Sotnikova, Russia

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

While everyone was fixated on Lipnitskaia, the 15-year-old starlet of the Winter Games so far, fellow Russian Adelina Sotnikova stole the stage on Wednesday with a flawless routine.

Tony Manfred of Business Insider described the budding rivalry between these two emerging Russian ladies:

Sotnikova actually beat Lipnitskaia at the Russian nationals last year. But with the fanfare around Julia, she was considered the "other Russian" going into the individual event.

Her score of 74.64 was just just 0.32 points behind world record holder Yuna Kim, putting them in a virtual tie going into the long program. Despite a slightly less difficult program than Kim's, Sotnikova outscored the South Korean in the technical score area and stayed within 0.3 points in the subjective component score area.

She could ease the pain from a series of Russian disappointments at this Olympics with a good free skate Thursday night.

Like Kim, Sotnikova will face immense pressure as she starts late in Thursday's competition (21st) in front of her home crowd.

But Sotnikova rose to the occasion on Wednesday and made her home fans proud, as captured by Scott Russell of CBC.

With a career-best score of 74.64, nearly four points better than her previous high, Sotnikova is right behind Kim in the chase for the 2014 gold. A good free program on Thursday would put a lot of pressure on Kim to be perfect in her routine to cap off the evening.

3. Carolina Kostner, Italy

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

Checking in right behind the two leaders and less than a point off the pace of first place is Italian Carolina Kostner.

The 27-year-old has been a major force in international competition during the 2013-14 season, as she is currently ranked the world's top skater, via ISUResults.com. On Thursday, she was also mistake-free, as she was able to put some breathing room between her and Gold, who sits 5.49 points behind in fourth place.

As Peter Schrager of Fox Sports noted, Kostner is an Olympic veteran but is still seeking her first trip to the podium on women's figure skating's brightest stage.

Given her success this season and precision on Wednesday, it looks like the third time could be the charm for Kostner.

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