Will Gracie Gold Win Olympic Gold in Sochi Following Yulia Lipnitskaya's Fall?
The figure skating competition in Sochi was dealt a surprising hand when Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya fell during her short program. Lipnitskaya, 15, was a favorite in the Sochi Olympics after a stunning performance that helped Russia clinch gold in the team figure skating event. Following her stumble on Wednesday, however, she's ranked fifth in the women's figure skating standings, trailing South Korea's Yuna Kim, fellow Russian Adelina Sotnikova, Italy's Carolina Kostner, and the United States' Gracie Gold.
The fall could hamper her chances of getting a gold medal, but she may be able to place if she scores big in her free skate program on Thursday. That's some pretty hefty pressure to place on a 15-year-old. (What were you up to when you were 15? Oh, that's right, not competing in the Olympics.)
Now here's the question everyone's dying to know: Can the U.S. women pull themselves up by their laces and win this whole thing? In particular, will bubbly Gracie Gold be able to secure the gold for America? She's already got the name part down, that's for sure.
The short answer to that is: Maybe. Because Gold certainly is determined:
Gold was solid, though she had to fight mightily to save both the opening jump in her triple lutz-triple toe combo and her double axel. But with cat-like reflexes, she managed to stay on her feet – something she might not have done before switching to coach Frank Carroll in the fall.
"When I did the double axel I thought I've come too far not to land this stupid double axel," she said. "I did not train that hard to go down and mess up this one jump. I am landing it with a smile on my face. And, you know, thinking to trust my training and just kind of jumping ability. But I did it."
Everyone's favorite Olympic GIF Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds trail in 6th and 7th place, respectively, with Wagner, once again, taken aback by the results.
Gold will be hard-pressed to win against South Korea's Yuna Kim, dubbed "Queen Yuna" in her home country. Kim is on a quest to nab her third Olympic title, joining the ranks of Katarina Witt and Sonja Henie.
Silver-medal favorite Mao Asada had a hard fall in the short program, dropping her to 16th place.
Nevertheless, as seen with the men's program, falls don't necessarily lead to ruin. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu fell twice during his program on Friday, but he still managed to nab gold.
Just remember, Putin is watching. Always.