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Sochi Olympics 2014: Ladies Figure Skating Cheatsheet

Victoria Gordon |
February 18, 2014 | 4:03 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

2010 Olympic Champion Yuna Kim of South Korea hopes to defend her title in Sochi. (Caroline Paré/Wikimedia)
2010 Olympic Champion Yuna Kim of South Korea hopes to defend her title in Sochi. (Caroline Paré/Wikimedia)
Ladies' Skating is the best-known and most admired of the skating disciplines. Names like Tara Lipinski, Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill are permanently fixed in pop culture thanks to Olympic victories. For the first time in years, however, this competition has several potential winners and a host of ladies competing for the silver and bronze medals. Here's your guide to ladies' figure skating in Sochi. 

What You'll See

At the Olympics, ladies compete in a short program of nearly three minutes and a free skate of four minutes, each of which contains a certain number of required elements. Each lady is free to choose her own music and set the required elements in any order she chooses. Thirty will skate in the short program, with the Top 24 continuing to the free skate. 

The Skaters

The short program competitors are divided into five groups of six skaters each, known as "warm-up" groups. These are semi-randomly assigned, using a random draw and world rankings to figure out where each skater performs. Each group has something to watch. 

Group One: Keep an eye on Canada's Gabrielle Daleman, a 16-year-old with the potential to be a star in 2018. This group also features British Champion Jenna McCorkell, who will bid the sport farewell after the Olympics. 

Group Two: Kaetlyn Osmond, also a Canadian, emerged in 2012 as the Skate Canada Champion, beating superstars Akiko Suzuki and Gracie Gold. She spent most of this season injured and hopes to move forward as a strong contender for future events. Unexpected U.S. Silver Medalist Polina Edmunds will also skate in this group. This is Edmunds' senior international debut; she first caught international attention last fall as a two-time Junior Grand Prix Champion. 

Group Three: Reigning Olympic Champion Yuna Kim skates second to last in this group. Kim has only

Russian favorite Julia Lipnitskaya presents a formidable challenge to Kim. (kremlin.ru/Wikimedia)
Russian favorite Julia Lipnitskaya presents a formidable challenge to Kim. (kremlin.ru/Wikimedia)
competed in three major competitions since then: Worlds in 2010 and 2011 (winning the silver at each) and last year's Worlds (which she won easily). Whether Kim has the momentum in this competition remains to be seen. 

Group Four: Sweden's first-ever Grand Prix medalist, Viktoria Helgesson, leads off Group Four. This group also features reigning Four Continents Champion Kanako Murakami; newly-minted United States Champion Gracie Gold; and Akiko Suzuki, an international favorite who recently won her first Japanese National Title. 

Group Five: This is truly the group to watch. It begins with Russian darling Julia Lipnitskaya, a 15-year-old wunderkind with extraordinary spins and artistry, followed by 2012 World Champion and three-time Olympian Carolina Kostner. American sweetheart Ashley Wagner, who has won two U.S. National Championships and a host of international medals, also skates in this group, along with two-time Russian Champion Adelina Sotnikova and two-time World Champion and reigning Olympic Silver medalist Mao Asada. 

Overall, this particular competition showcases a brilliant slate of ladies. Be sure to tune in Feb. 19 and Feb. 20 for the competition in full. 

Contact Victoria Gordon here or follow her on Twitter



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