News / Europe

    Young Russian Skater Lipnitskaya is Sochi Sensation

    Yulia Lipnitskaya of the gold medal-winning Russian figure skating team poses with her medal during the medal ceremony for the figure skating team ice dance free dance at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 10, 2014.
    Yulia Lipnitskaya of the gold medal-winning Russian figure skating team poses with her medal during the medal ceremony for the figure skating team ice dance free dance at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Feb. 10, 2014.
    Reuters
    Kim Yuna has chosen to avoid the hustle and bustle of the Olympic city. Present or not, the South Korean's showdown with Julia Lipnitskaya is the talk of Sochi and come Feb. 19, the women's short program will be the hottest ticket in town.
     
    Lipnitskaya has already shown the world what her pint-sized, 15-year-old frame is capable of by leading the host country to glory in the team competition.
     
    “Amazing, unbelievable,” gushed Robin Cousins, the 1980 Olympic men's champion, in an interview with Reuters.
     
    “It's her first year as a senior, first time out, home country, a lot of pressure - how does somebody cope?
     
    “It [Sunday's gold-winning display] was a practice session. To have that maturity on shoulders that are so young was unbelievable. Potentially she could be in three Olympics.”
     
    Lipnitskaya is fearless on the ice and lifts off into soaring triple-triple jumps without much build-up or warning.
     
    The Russian is so fast around the rink that she probably covers twice as much ground during her programs as her rivals. As for her spins, she disappears into a blur that does not seem to make her dizzy but leaves everyone else in a whirl.
     
    “She's an incredible talent. That type of talent does not come along anywhere, in any country, that often,” Cousins, who is commentating for the BBC in Sochi, said at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
     
    “It's thrilling to have been able to watch it. The scary thing is that there is still a lot she has to learn and there's still a lot more she can offer. It ain't there yet but, my goodness, she has a solid base to work from.”
     
    Lipnitskaya is fortunate to have made it to the Olympics. If she had been born 25 days later she would have been ineligible for the Games because rules state that only skaters who turned 15 before July 1, 2013, can compete.
     
    Her date of birth enabled the Russian to become the youngest figure skater in 78 years to win Olympic gold and she could join American Tara Lipinski in a select club of 15-year olds who have captured individual Olympic gold.
     
    Lipnitskaya leads the season's standings in the free program, with her stirring portrayal of the doomed little girl in the red coat from Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List earning her 141.51 in the team event.
     
    Kim, in contrast, is somewhat of an unknown quantity this season. She has not competed against her main rivals at any top-level events, having opted to skip the grand prix series.
     
    However, four years after two breathtaking programs earned her world-record scores - 78.50 in the short and 150.06 in the long - she will be back at an Olympics as the world champion.
     
    Some think the 23-year-old may have the upper hand because she is more rested - South Korea did not participate in the team competition - and she may also catch her rivals by surprise as she has yet to perform in Sochi.
     
    Cousins dismisses the notion. “The beauty of YouTube is that you can see everybody skate. There is no hiding anywhere now,” he said.
     
    “It's not going to change that much at the Olympics than it would have been at the national championships or any other event.
     
    “Yuna will do what she always does when she steps on the ice. I'm hoping she will perform the way she did at her national championships as it was glorious.”

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: ally from: US
    February 12, 2014 12:16 PM
    The only way Yuna Kim loses in this game is that she makes a mistake. Yuna is a great skater and I will root for her!
    In Response

    by: qasim ali shah from: Hyerabad sindh pakistan
    February 18, 2014 8:28 AM
    good news and report
    In Response

    by: Andy from: US
    February 14, 2014 12:47 PM
    I would like to see the Queen end her career in high notes, she should win Gold. Yulia will be a good test for her. Vegas odds as of today Queen -200, Yulia -125. My money on the Queen!
    In Response

    by: DES from: Boston
    February 12, 2014 10:09 PM
    Agreed.

    Re to Jonesy--julia will eventually be the past too...the future is unknown but the past is already engraved in stone.
    In Response

    by: Jonesy from: US
    February 12, 2014 8:57 PM
    Julia will win either way....Julia is the future and Yuna Kim is the past

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora