A loaded field will compete for Olympic gold in women's figure skating, beginning with the short program Wednesday and concluding with Thursday's free skate. The main contenders:
Olympic experience: Gold medalist, 2010
ISU world standings: 29
Outlook: Kim won her second world championship in 2013 but missed the Grand Prix season this fall because of a foot injury, which is why her world ranking is low. She is a six-time world championship medalist and three-time Grand Prix Final champ. She won the gold in Vancouver with a record score of 228.56.
Olympic experience: first
ISU world standings: 3
Outlook: The hot pick heading into the competition, Lipnitskaya wowed the crowd--and the judges--in January when she became the youngest woman to win the European Championships. Her score of 209.72 points is the highest of any competitor this season. Lipnitskaya won both Grand Prix events she entered this season, was second in the Grand Prix Final, captured the Russian championship and topped the field in both the short program and free skate in the Olympic team competition.
Olympic experience: Silver medalist, 2010
ISU world standings: 2
Outlook: Known for her triple axels, Asada plans to do that challenging jump once in her short program and once in her free skate at the Olympics. She finished third in the short program of the Olympic team event and said she was nervous, but she added Monday that she is feeling confident again. Asada, who will retire after the Olympics, won two Grand Prix events and the Grand Prix Final this season and was third in the 2013 world championships.
Olympic experience: ninth, 2006; 16th, 2010
ISU world standings: 1
Outlook: Kostner has been on the podium at the world championship in each of the past three years, winning in 2012 and finishing second to Kim last year. She placed second and third in her two Grand Prix events this season. The five-time European champion is the first Italian woman to win a world title.
Olympic experience: first
ISU world standings: 4
Outlook: Though Wagner fell twice during her free skate at the U.S. championships and finished in fourth place, a selection committee named her to the Olympic team because of her international resume. She placed fifth at the world championships last year and fourth in 2012; this season, she placed first and second in her two Grand Prix events and was third behind Asada and Lipnitskaya at the Grand Prix Final. She has been working to perfect her combination of two triple jumps, citing that as key to winning an Olympic medal.
--The International Skating Union's world standings rank skaters according to results from the current season, plus the past two seasons.
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