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Fourth-Place Medal

Olympic figure skating preview: 10 ladies to watch

Fourth-Place Medal

The ladies figure skating field in Sochi is deep, with two returning medalists and a slew of talented teens all vying for podium placements. Yahoo Sports breaks down the contenders:

1. Yuna Kim (KOR)

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Yuna Kim of South Korea. (Song Kyung-Seok-Pool/Getty Images)

The reigning World and Olympic champion is favored to repeat, despite limiting her number of competitions in recent years. Although she's been hampered by a foot injury, Kim's performances have been getting stronger as the season progresses. She's never finished lower than third in her entire skating career. If she wins, she joins Sonja Henie and Katarina Witt as the only repeat gold medalists.

2. Mao Asada (JPN)

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Mao Asada of Japan. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The silver medalist from Vancouver will need to land her signature jump -- the triple Axel -- in both programs to challenge her longtime rival Kim. Asada's programs are very well-choreographed, but she'll need the big points from the Axel -- a jump only she is attempting.

3. Carolina Kostner (ITA)

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Carolina Kostner of Italy. (Oleg Nikishin/ Getty Images)

The 2012 world champion has had two miserable Olympic experiences, finishing 9th in Torino and 16th in Vancouver. The Italian skates as fast as a Ferrari, but she'll need to reign in her speed and land her jumps. When she's on, she's spectacular; when she's off, she's a disaster.

4. Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS)

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Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia. (Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

The 15-year-old has three things going for her: youth, fearlessness, and the home-country advantage. She recently claimed the European title and is hungry for more gold. Keep an eye out for her astounding flexibility moves.

5. Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)

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Adelina Sotnikova of Russia. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

Lipnitskaia's 17-year-old teammate also has the talent to medal. She's the more powerful of the two Russians but still lacks the maturity of Kim or Asada.

6. Gracie Gold (USA)

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Gracie Gold of the United States. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

The newly crowned U.S. champion has the perfect name -- and look -- to be the next skating megastar. With her reliable triple-triple combination, improving artistry and growing confidence, Gold might just win gold in Sochi.

7. Ashley Wagner (USA)

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Ashley Wagner of the United States. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

All eyes will be on the 22-year-old, who was controversially named to the Olympic team over Mirai Nagasu after placing fourth at the U.S. Championships. Wagner is the most experienced of the American trio, but her confidence has been shaken. To bolster her confidence, she's returned to an old routine, a move that may ... or may not ... pay off.

8. Akiko Suzuki (JPN)

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Akiko Suzuki of Japan. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The 28-year-old veteran had the skate of her life at the recent All Japan Figure Skating Championships, dethroning Mao Asada. Suzuki possesses a maturity and musicality the rest of the field lacks -- two qualities that may propel her to the podium.

9. Kanako Murakami (JPN)

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Kanako Murakami of Japan. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The youngest member of the Japanese squad is coming off a recent win at the Four Continents Championship. Her enthusiasm and energy are excited to watch, and she could be a wild card in Sochi.

10. Polina Edmunds (USA)

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Polina Edmunds of the United States. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The surprise silver medalist from the U.S. Championships has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. The Olympics will be Edmunds' first senior-level international competition, but she has already shown she can rise to the occasion.

[ Photos: Iconic figure skating costumes ]

Who do you think will medal? Share your predictions in the comments below.

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