Ladies figure skating: Kim, Sotnikova, Kostner vie for gold

Fourth-Place Medal

Will Yuna Kim continue her reign as the queen of figure skating?

The reigning Olympic champion heads into Thursday's free skate with the slightest of leads, ahead of a young Russian upstart and another veteran. Three American skaters are in the medal mix, as well.

Many expected Russian sensation Julia Lipnitskaia to vie for gold, but her teammate Adelina Sotnikova was the biggest surprise in the short program, placing second. Italy's Carolina Kostner finally skated up to her potential and is in third. Less than a point separate the top 3, meaning the gold is up for grabs.

[Photos: Ladies short program]

Speaking of gold, U.S. champion Gracie Gold is in fourth, while her teammates Ashley Wagner and Polina Edmunds sit in sixth and seventh, respectively. They have an outside chance for a medal; don't forget Denis Ten moved up from 9th to claim the bronze in the men's event.

Don't count of Lipnitskaia, who already won gold in the team event. She's in fifth. And Japanese veterans Mao Asada and Akiko Suzuki will want to turn in their best performances before retiring.

The ladies free skate begins at 10am PT/7am ET. You can get the skate order and results here.

[Photos: See what former skating stars look like today]

Live streaming of the event is here, and you can follow Yahoo Sports' Lawrence Yee for play-by-play and live analysis. Below are when the big names will skate:

8:41am PT / 11:41am ET – Mao Asada (JPN)
9:42am PT / 12:42pm ET – Polina Edmunds (USA)
10:06am PT / 1:06pm ET – Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS)
10:14am PT / 1:14pm ET – Carolina Kostner (ITA)
10:22am PT / 1:22pm ET – Adelina Sotnikova (RUS)
10:30am PT / 1:30pm ET – Gracie Gold (USA)
10:38am PT / 1:38pm ET – Ashley Wagner (USA)
10:46am PT / 1:46pm ET – Yuna Kim (KOR)

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