Last night kicked off women's figure skating short program in typically riveting fashion

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Last night kicked off women's figure skating short program in typically riveting fashion
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Gracie Gold of the United States competes in the Figure Skating Ladies' Short Program on day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Gracie Gold of the USA after performing in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Gracie Gold of the USA performs in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Yuna Kim of South Korea performs in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Yuna Kim of South Korea competes in the Figure Skating Ladies' Short Program on day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Yuna Kim of South Korea performs in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
South Korea's Kim Yu-Na performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
South Korea's Kim Yu-Na performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
US Ashley Wagner waits for her marks in the Kiss and Cry zone after performing in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
US Ashley Wagner performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
US Ashley Wagner performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Ashley Wagner of the United States competes in the Figure Skating Ladies' Short Program on day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Ashley Wagner of the USA performs in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Polina Edmunds of the United States competes in the Figure Skating Ladies' Short Program on day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Polina Edmunds of the USA performs in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Adelina Sotnikova of Russia celebrates at the end of her performance in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Adelina Sotnikova of Russia performs in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Russia's Adelina Sotnikova performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's Adelina Sotnikova performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Adelina Sotnikova (R) of Russia celebrates her score with her coach in the Figure Skating Ladies' Short Program on day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia falls as she performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia waits for her marks in the Kiss and Cry zone after performing in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)
Carolina Kostner of Italy reacts after performing in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Carolina Kostner of Italy performs in the ladies' short program figure skating at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014. (Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
Italy's Carolina Kostner performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
SOCHI, RUSSIA - FEBRUARY 19: Carolina Kostner (C) of Italy waits for her score with her coaches in the Figure Skating Ladies' Short Program on day 12 of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 19, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Italy's Carolina Kostner performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
Italy's Carolina Kostner performs in the Women's Figure Skating Short Program at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) - Nerves almost got the best of Yuna Kim.

Almost.

Then she showed she has just enough to remain the favorite to defend her Olympic figure skating title.

The defending champion from South Korea won the short program Wednesday night at the Sochi Games in something resembling a photo finish. But it wasn't Russian youngster Julia Lipnitskaia on her heels.

On a day Lipnitskaia's hockey countrymen flopped out of the games, the 15-year-old couldn't revive Russian hearts. After winning both programs in the team event to help the hosts take the gold, Lipnitskaia fell on a triple flip and then broke down in tears.

"This does not define her career or who she is as an athlete," coach Eteri Tutberidze said through a translator. "She simply made a mistake. That's all. It happens."

When it happened, the crowd was stunned. And Kim had the lead - surprisingly over the other Russian woman in the field, Adelina Sotnikova - by only .28 points.

Italy's Carolina Kostner, second at worlds last year to Kim, was third, just .80 behind.

U.S. champion Gracie Gold of Chicago, second to Lipnitskaia in the team free skate, had a clean short program that earned her 68.63 points for fourth place.

"To be able to come up here and feel stiff and white as a ghost but stare fear in the face is what I'm all about now," the 18-year-old Gold said.

Countrywomen Ashley Wagner of Alexandria, Va., and Polina Edmunds of San Jose, Calif., were sixth and seventh - a very strong showing for the United States.

Kim's program to "Send In The Clowns" was exquisite. She even cracked a smile, perhaps for the first time since arriving in Sochi, after landing her double axel, the final jump of the routine. Every move was timed perfectly the music in a flowing performance.

"I was so nervous before my competition. When I finished, I was relaxed," Kim said. "I was nervous in warm-ups. My legs were shaking. I wasn't able to do my jumps. In my head, there were a lot of thoughts."

She admitted to making a slight mistake on footwork, and the judges gave her only level 3 (out of 4) on it, and on her layback spin. Again, she said, it was anxiety.

"I tried to believe in myself and remember my practices," the 23-year-old Kim said. "I thought if I do well in practice, I can do well in the main event."

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