With the Olympic opening ceremony just a few days away, fans throughout the world will soon have the chance to watch their favorite athletes compete. And, like in every Olympics, there will probably be a few unheard of athletes who will become standout stars (such as gymnast Gabby Douglas during the London 2012 Olympics, who captured both the individual all-around gold and our hearts with her gigantic smile and incredible talent.)
This year, three talented women will be representing the United States in the figure skating department. Here are a few things you’ll want to know about them.
1.) Ashley Wagner
At 22, Wagner was the most experienced ice skater vying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team. She won back-to-back U.S. Championships in 2012 and 2013 and has more international experience than any of the other girls. However, during the U.S. Championships in 2014, she fell twice during the freestyle skating program, raising doubts about whether she would be selected to represent America in Sochi. However, she was eventually given a spot on the team because of the “body of her work.” “I am happy my federation was able to see beyond one bad skate,” an emotional Wagner stated. The U.S. ice skating federation is hoping that Wagner’s experience on the international field can help lead the team to success.
2.) Gracie Gold
The 18-year-old figure skater from Chicago was hailed by NBC as the new “face of the games.” The bubbly athlete—known for her signature red lipstick that she wears during every competition—made headlines recently when she won the gold medal at the 2014 U.S. Championships. Gold is currently being coached by Frank Carroll, who previously worked with Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek. Carroll has brought added grace and maturity to Gold’s programs. “I remember a couple of years ago, I was watching my role models in the Olympics. And now to be that role model, it’s so wonderful,” Gold said. “You just remember why you do what you do. The passion in your sport is so important.” Gold’s ready smile and effortless skating are destined to make her a household name in a matter of days.
3.) Polina Edmunds
At only 15, no one believed that Edmunds had a serious chance of making it to the Sochi Olympics. However, she skated the best performances of her life during the U.S. Championships, walking away with the silver medal and a spot on the Olympics team. Although Edmunds was an unknown, the wispy Californian has the most difficult routines of anyone on the women’s skating team. She practically dances across the ice with well-choreographed moves that make ice skating seem like second nature to her.
Edmunds’ mother Nina grew up in Russia, and encouraged her to begin skating after seeing that she had a natural talent for it. Edmunds began skating at age 2 and won junior Grand Prix events this season. Legendary coach Frank Carroll told reporters, “She is the future. She’s like an iron butterfly.” Edmunds has stated that Tara Lipinski is her inspiration. “My biggest dream would be to go to the Olympics and win,” Edmunds told The New York Times four years ago. That seems unlikely, given the quality of skaters that she will be competing against. But the magic of the Olympics is that anything can happen. And as we watch the women skate and keep up with the coverage of the Games, we can only hope that they will, in fact, be able to achieve their dreams.
Ivy McDowell enjoys writing about fashion and entertainment. She loves watching the Olympics and can’t wait to see the figure skating routines.
- Photo Credits: Wikipedia
- Polina Edmunds: usatoday.com