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Olympics / Sports

Women's figure skating: A look at the leading contenders

Yuna Kim, 23, South Korea

Major achievements: 2010 Olympic champion, 2013 and 2009 world champion.

Music: Short: "Send in the Clowns" by Stephen Sondheim. Long: "Adios Nonino," tango by Astor Piazzola.

The skinny: For the second straight year, Kim has entered a major championship having competed in only one minor international meet. Last season, she still won the world title easily. Her jumps look as secure as ever, but her programs are very inward-looking and not as likely to engage crowds as they did in Vancouver.

Odds: 1/1

Mao Asada, 23, Japan

Major achievements: 2010 Olympic silver medal, 2010 and 2008 world champion.

Music: Short: Chopin Nocturne in E-flat major. Long: Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 2.

The skinny: Asada often is undone by failures on the triple axel, her signature jump (she is the only woman in the field doing it.) That happened in the team event short program. "I don't consider the triple axel to be a burden," she said Monday. "It gives me something to shoot for."

Odds: 4-1

Carolina Kostner, 27, Italy

Major achievements: 2012 world champion, five-time European champion.

Music: Short: Schubert's "Ave Maria." Long: Ravel's "Bolero."

The skinny: An elegant, flowing skater, Kostner has been, in Scott Hamilton's words, "allergic to the Olympics." Her free skate flop in Vancouver, where she finished 16th (after a ninth in Turin four years earlier) was among the worst performances ever by a talented and highly decorated skater. Kostner's task in controlling her nerves here was complicated by a short program draw that has her skating right after the crowd goes wild for Russian baby ballerina Yulia Lipnitskaya.

Odds: 12/1

Yulia Lipnitskaya, 15, Russia

Major achievements: 2014 European champion.

Music: Short: "You Don't Give Up on Love" by Mark Minkov. Long: Sound track from "Schindler's List" by John Williams.

The skinny: Became the sensation of the 2014 Olympics by winning the short and long programs in the team event. The home-country pressure has ramped up exponentially on Lipnitskaya in the past 10 days. Clean skates may not be enough for Lipnitskaya to win if Kim is at her 2013 world title level.

Odds: 6/4

Odds from British gambling site Sky Bet.

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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