Figure Skater Polina Edmunds’ Remarkable Journey
She was the surprise addition that few saw coming.
After the scores had been tallied from the U.S. Women’s Figure Skating Championships, 15-year-old Polina Edmunds had won the silver medal and secured a spot on the Olympic team.
Grace and Grit
She was a surprise contender that few had counted on, yet her skating demanded to be taken seriously. Weighing less than one hundred pounds, the petite 5’4 athlete lit up the rink with her bold performance. The San Francisco native, just barely old enough to compete in the Senior division, danced across the ice with grace and elegance akin to a much older skater. Her routines were a fluid movement of ballet and effortless skating, punctuated by the joyous expression of someone who lives to be on the ice. “She is a beautiful skater,” her coach David Glynn said. “She has the technical skill of the best ladies in the world. She skates with a maturity beyond her 15 years. She is light and delicate and balletic while doing the hardest technical elements in skating. That’s a rare quality to have – to skate with power and speed and look delicate.” And yet somehow the prodigy pulls it off, citing years of ballet lessons with helping her master a routine filled with both grace and grit.
Her mother Nina, a Russian emigrant, first put Polina in a pair of skates at twenty months. After realizing that her daughter had a natural talent for skating, she enrolled her in lessons. In 2011, she replaced 7th at the 2011 U.S. Championships. The next year, she placed 6th. The following year, she won the national title in the Junior division. Her first time on the international stage was at the Mexico City-based Junior Grand Prix assignment. She finished first in both segments and won the gold medal. Her first time competing in the senior level was at the 2014 U.S. Championships, where she finished second to Gracie Gold and was named to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. “I knew if I skated well I’d have a chance to get on the podium and make the Olympic team,” Edmunds after the Championship. “I was very happy with my skating. After the short program when I ended up in second place, that was the moment I knew I had a shot and it wasn’t a dream.” She’s now embarking on a three-week trip to Sochi, hoping to help the women’s figure skating team skate to success. Her program begins on February 19 and goes through the 20. Stay up-to-date with her journey with the latest coverage.
From a young age, Polina knew what she wanted. When the New York Times interviewed her after the 2011 placing at the U.S. Championships, she stated that her biggest dream was to go to the Olympics and win. It wasn’t all smooth skating, though. In the same article, Polina acknowledged that the rigors of competitive skating were draining, and that sometimes she didn’t want to have to get up and go to lessons. Sometimes, she added, she just wanted to sleep in or go to a birthday party. In the end, though, her hard work paid off as she qualified for the Olympics at the tender age of 15. The world will have to watch to see how the talented young skater will place at the Olympics. On her Facebook profile, Polina has a quote that reads, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” This much is clear: she isn’t going to sacrifice the gift.
Will Chavez is a sports blogger who enjoys writing about everything happening in the sports world. He’s excited to keep up with coverage of the Sochi Winter Olympics.
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