It's undeniable. Julia Lipnitskaia is a star. The 15-year-old Russian figure skating princess electrified spectators in Sochi on Saturday. Veteran male figure skater Evgeni Plushenko called her a "genius"-- a sentiment shared by many of Lipnitskaia's colleagues.
Retired American figure skater Tara Lipinski, who was also a gold medal winner at age 15, understands first hand what it takes to perform at an elite level at such a young age. "Judging from how prepared she looks - I can see it when they step on the ice - she looks like she believes this is her moment," Lipinski said, "she is the real package."
Julia Lipnitskaia skating was hauntingly beautiful, as she performed to the melodramatic tunes of the John Williams’ soundtrack. Her seemingly effortless routine involved maneuvers considered a technical tour de force. She floated on air, as she performed the lightest of triple jumps, triple Lutz, and combinations of these all while maintaining the grave demeanor of her character.
Her winning performance helped Russia win the gold medal for the team figure skating event in front of a cheering home crowd . The team of figure skaters were congratulated immediately by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as soon as they got off the ice. Teammate Evgeni Plushenko received a warm embrace from the President, while Lipnitskaia got a fatherly pat on the head as the President shared words and gave thanks to each member of the team. The team's win marked Russia’s first medal of the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Plushenko was flooded in flowers and stuffed animals after his winning performance. He has garnered three Olympic medals in his career, and after undergoing his 12th surgery last year, the 31-year-old decided that the Sochi Olympics would be the last chapter of his stellar career. He scored 19 points for his country while Julia Lipnitskaia led Russia with 20 points.
Julia Lipnitskaia At 2014 European Figure Skating Championship
Image via Wikimedia Commons