Polina Edmunds is just 15 years old, but the high school sophomore might just be America’s best hope to for a gold-medal drought in figure skating.
Edmunds just secured a spot in the Olympics by scoring a personal best 66.75 points in the short program at the U.S. Olympic trials at TD Garden in Boston, finishing second overall. It was a surprise for many who thought she might need a few more years to reach her peak.
“It couldn’t have been much better,” Polina told reporters after her performance. “I shouldn’t be surprised. I have all the elements. I just went out and did them.”
Edmunds came into this week’s US Olympic trials carrying high expectations, the best prospect from a long time in the Bay Area, which in the past has produced greats like Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano, and Kristi Yamaguchi.
When the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi next month, it will mark 22 years since the Bay Area skater won a gold medal for singles skating, won by Yamaguchi.
While many followers believe Polina Edmunds is better positioned to take on the 2018 games in South Korea, Olympic gold is not out of the question this year. She came into the qualifiers as the defending junior national champion, and recorded the three highest scores by an American this year.
“She has a very difficult program, and if she skates clean it could be enough,” said Nina Edmunds, Polina’s mother and coach.
Polina said at the qualifiers she was just focused on her routine.
“I’ve been training this program like this all year,” she said. “I’ve competed at a lot of competitions this year, internationally, so I know what happens and I know everything I need to do. When I came out here tonight, I knew how to get into the zone and go out there and skate like I’ve been training.”
Polina Edmunds will make her figure skating debut at the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi, with competitions slated to begin on February 6.