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Fourth-Place Medal

Julia Lipnitskaia's incredible debut shows she could become sweetheart of Sochi Games

Kevin Kaduk
Fourth-Place Medal

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:

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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Kevin Kaduk is a writer for Yahoo Sports.. Have a tip? Email him at kevinkaduk@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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