Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia competes in the women's team free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia competes in the women's team free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
World, meet Julia Lipnitskaia.
Julia Lipnitskaia? Meet the world.
The diminutive 15-year-old Russian figure skater positioned herself to become the darling of the Sochi Games after a great routine during Saturday's team event. Lipnitskaia scored a 72.90 to record the highest total among individual women skaters. The home crowd roared when the 2014 European champion was finished and Twitter instantly erupted into praise for the tiny teenager.
"People are saying you only like her because she's also 15 years old," said NBC analyst Tara Lipinski, who became the youngest women's Olympic champion in 1998 at age 15. "But no, she has a good shot to win a gold medal ... she has something special, a star quality."
Here's some additional reaction from other luminaries in the skating community:
— Elvis Stojko (@Therealestojko) February 8, 2014
Russias Julia Lipnitskaia brings down the house with chants of "Julia! Julia!" Could she be the one who dethrones Kim Yuna? #Sochi2014
— Joe Lago (@joelago) February 8, 2014
Aaaand that was why you shouldve watched Julia Lipnitskaia. Whole stadium on their feet. NBC cameramen flee bouquets. Pandemonium.
— Ollie Williams (@OllieW) February 8, 2014
Julia Lipnitskaia, 15, deservedly brings down the house
— Philip Hersh (@olyphil) February 8, 2014
Deafening roar after a great skate from the 15-year old! #Olympics2014
— U.S. Figure Skating (@USFigureSkating) February 8, 2014
Best short of the night so far, Julia Lipnitskaia gets home crowd on its feet. Wouldnt be surprised if she leaves Sochi w gold
— Kelly Whiteside (@KellyWhiteside) February 8, 2014
— Amanda Shank (@team_swan) February 8, 2014
Some believe Lipnitskaia could upset favorite (and reigning Olympic champion) Yuna Kim of South Korea when the individual program rolls around on February 19. If she does, she would become the second-youngest women's figure skating gold medalist in Olympic history.
And not that the achievement needs any more perspective, but consider this: Lipnitskaya was still a few months from being born when Lipinski won the gold medal in Nagano in 1998.
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