The women's individual figure skating competition reached its conclusion on Thursday with the free skating program. After Wednesday's short program, in which 24 competitors qualified for Thursday's final event, South Korea's Yuna Kim sat atop the leaderboard with an impressive score of 74.92. Kim, the 2010 gold medalist, held a slim lead over Russia's Adelina Sotnikova (74.64) and Carolina Kostner (74.12) of Italy.
Three Americans, Gracie Gold (68.63), Ashley Wagner (65.21) and Polina Edmunds (61.04), also sat within striking distance heading into Thursday, while Russia's Yulia Lipnitskaya (65.23) still had a chance at the medal podium despite a disappointing performance during Wednesday's short program.
With only 9.71 points separating the top six contenders, there was little margin for error during Thursday's event.
Sotnikova wins gold for Russia
Russia's Adelina Sotnikova took home the gold medal on Thursday to earn her country's first women's individual gold medal in the event. Coming into Thursday in second place after the short program, Sotnikova put together an impressive performance in the free skate, receiving the day's best score at 149.95 and taking the gold with a combined score of 224.59.
Sotnikova's victory was a minor upset over reigning gold medalist Yuna Kim of South Korea. Kim won the silver medal with a score of 144.19 on Thursday, finishing just behind Sotnikova with a total score of 219.11. Italy's Carolina Kostner, the 2012 world champion, followed up her strong skate on Wednesday with another impressive performance, earning a 142.61 from the judges in the free skating program and grabbing the bronze.
The top finisher from Team USA was Gracie Gold, who earned a score of 136.90, putting her in fourth place overall with a 205.53 combined score in both events. Right behind Gold was Ashley Wagner, finishing in seventh place with a 127.99 mark in the free skating program and 193.20 combined score. Thursday's first American skater, Polina Edmunds, posted a solid score of 122.21, her season-best mark in the free skate. She came in ninth place overall.
Yulia Lipnitskaya, who starred for Russia in the team skating event, received a 135.34 from the judges, vaulting her into fifth place with a combined score of 200.57.