As soon as the final skate at the 2014 Winter Olympics is concluded, it immediately becomes time to think about who will win gold the next time around.
Russia's Adelina Sotnikova shocked the world with two outstanding performances to win the gold medal in her home country. Defending champion Yuna Kim took second and Italy's Carolina Kostner left with the bronze.
Meanwhile, America's trio of competitors finished outside of the podium in a rare occurrence, as noted by ESPN Stats and Info:
Here is a full look at the final top 10 in the women's competition, courtesy of Sochi2014.com:
|Ladies Singles Figure Skating Results|
|Place||Name (Country)||Short Program||Free Program||Total Score|
|1||Adelina Sotnikova (Russia)||74.64||149.95||224.59|
|2||Yuna Kim (Korea)||74.92||144.19||219.11|
|3||Carolina Kostner (Italy)||74.12||142.61||216.73|
|4||Gracie Gold (USA)||68.63||136.90||205.53|
|5||Julia Lipnitskaia (Russia)||65.23||135.34||200.57|
|6||Mao Asada (Japan)||55.51||142.71||198.22|
|7||Ashley Wagner (USA)||65.21||127.99||193.20|
|8||Akiko Suzuki (Japan)||60.97||125.35||186.32|
|9||Polina Edmunds (USA)||61.04||122.21||183.25|
|10||Mae Berenice Meite (France)||58.63||115.90||174.53|
Obviously, Sotnikova will remain a top competitor in international events going forward. However, a few other athletes should be back after solid showings to challenge for a medal in the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
These ladies did not medal in Sochi, but watch out for them in the future.
Julia Lipnitskaia, Russia
The past year has been quite a roller coaster ride for Julia Lipnitskaia. The 15-year-old only managed a second-place finish behind Sotnikova at the Russian championships before winning the European title later in 2013
After performing beautifully in the team competition, it seemed like she would be a favorite for gold in the individual event.
Unfortunately, a fall in the short program and again in the free skate cost her a spot in the podium. Nick McCarvel of NBC Olympics points out that she was pretty much out of it emotionally after the first mistake:
By the time her next skate came around, Lipnitskaia was seemingly worn out from the pressure:
Despite this relatively poor performance, she still managed a combined score of 200.57 to finish in fifth place. This is because her spins are simply sublime and they often help her component score.
At the next Olympics, Sotnikova will be the one under the pressure, and Lipnitskaia can simply go out and skate to her best ability. If she is able to get some more height on her jumps, this will lead to a gold.
Polina Edmunds, United States
Coming in without many expectations, Polina Edmunds came through with a great showing to finish in ninth place at the Olympics. This is not a bad showing for someone competing in her first ever senior international event, as noted by McCarvel:
Despite this inexperience, the 15-year-old skater did a great job of keep herself calm. She told Nancy Armour of USA Today, "It's just another competition. It's really cool to see the Olympic rings everywhere, of course. I just kind of tried to stay in the moment and remind myself that ice is ice."
Edmunds was flawless in her short program but fell once in the free skate. Still, that was the only mistake of her entire week, showing that she has the mentality necessary to handle the high level of competition.
At this point, all she needs to do is keep improving her technique. Edmunds started off with a base component score of 57.74, which is tough, but it was almost four points behind the eventual winner. This is difficult to make up, meaning that she must add some tougher combinations in order to get onto the podium.
With plenty of time left to get better and a long career ahead of her, there is a strong chance the California native can compete for a title in 2018.
Kaetlyn Osmond, Canada
Another of the young skaters, Kaetlyn Osmond entered the Olympics at 18 years old. While it seems like a 22-year-old female is ancient in this sport, the Canadian still has a chance to compete at the next games.
Osmond only managed 13th place at the Olympics, but she is capable of much more. She took eight at the 2013 world championships and could have done even better if not for some mistakes in each program.
Nevertheless, former bronze medalist Joannie Rochette saw a lot to like in the performance:
During the team competition, Osmond managed to post a score of 62.54 on her short program, a mark that would have placed seventh in the individual event. Unfortunately, a score of 56.18 kept her in 13th, and it seemed to ruin her confidence.
The good news is we know she is capable of much more. The two-time Canadian champion should be able to come back in the next Olympics and at least contend for a medal.
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