As some expected, a Russian skater has emerged as the top challenger to Olympic gold medalist Yuna Kim in the ladies’ competition.
But that Russian skater isn’t the one most were expecting.
Adelina Sotnikova appears to have emerged from the shadow of Yulia Lipnitskaia after earning a personal-best 74.64 in her short program – putting her less than three-tenths of a single point behind the Queen after the first day.
Lipnitskaia, the reigning European champion at just 15 years old, had been having a superb Sochi Olympics. But tonight, she finally made a mistake with a fall on her triple flip.
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She now sits fifth after the short program, down more than three points to U.S. Nationals champion Gracie Gold, who should be pleased with a fourth-place performance and a berth in the final group for tomorrow’s free skate.
Ditto for Gold’s compatriot, Ashley Wagner, who also will be in the final group even though she was scored less than Lipnitskaia for her solid – and clean – program.
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Wagner runs sixth, one spot ahead of the third American in the field, Polina Edmunds, who went to the top of the scoreboard after her skate and stayed there until Kim’s arrival and subsequent score of 74.92.
U.S. men’s skater Jason Brown, who was live-tweeting the proceedings at the Iceberg, was happy with his teammates’ results:
Suffering perhaps the worst night of all was Japan’s Mao Asada, who won the silver behind Kim four years ago in Vancouver.
VIDEO: Comparing Yuna Kim’s performance to Gracie Gold’s
Asada fell on a triple axel and also doubled a planned triple loop. The mistakes were major, and they were reflected in her score: 55.51, good for 16th place among the 24 skaters remaining.
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FIGURE SKATING – LADIES’ SHORT PROGRAM (TOP 10)
1. Yuna Kim (KOR), 74.92
2. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS), 74.64
3. Carolina Kostner (ITA), 74.12
4. Gracie Gold (USA), 68.63
5. Yulia Lipnitskaia (RUS), 65.23
6. Ashley Wagner (USA), 65.21
7. Polina Edmunds (USA), 61.04
8. Akiko Suzuki (JPN), 60.97
9. Mae Berenice Meite (FRA), 58.63
10. Nathalie Weinzierl (GER), 57.63