Russian figure skating phenom Yulia Lipnitskaya threw down the performance of the night in the women’s short program portion of the team event on Saturday.
Lipnitskaya is 15 years old. She made the minimum age cutoff for the Olympics by just 26 days. Her score of 72.90 gave her first place.
She’s a prodigy. She won two international events last fall before seriously breaking onto the scene by becoming the youngest skater to ever win the the European Championships in January.
A New York Times story by Patrick Reevell on the Russian figure skating renaissance described her as intense and less expressive than her teammates and competitors. Her trainer told the NYT, “She set herself an adult’s task as a child. That’s why she seems closed.”
Her mum, who moved Yulia to Moscow to focus on her skating career, said it all comes down to training.
“You can teach a bear to dance on ice if you train a lot,” she told the NYT.
Reevell says her biggest strength is her freakish elasticity:
The fall of the Soviet Union was not kind to Russian figure skating. Funding dried up, and the country lost its clutch on figure skating dominance.
Lipnitskaya is at the forefront of a renewed Russian push in the sport. She could be a force for years to come.
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