SOCHI, Russia (AP) — How do you prepare a 15-year-old for the goosebumps that come when an entire country howls her name?
The Russian figure skating coaches tried to tell Julia Lipnitskaia what it would be like when she took the ice for the first time in the Sochi Games. But all the words, all the practice, all the advice in the world couldn't replicate the vibration in the Iceberg Skating Palace when thousands of Russians stomped their feet on the floor and chanted "Julia! Julia!" in unison.
"I was very confident," the bright-eyed teen said with a smile. "My trainers told me people would cry. They told me people would clap to the music. But I didn't think the spectators would be so loud. But it helped me to perform."
If she was rattled, it sure didn't show during a sparkling performance in the short program. She scored a 72.90 to put the Russians in first place in the team competition.
"It was a real pleasure for me," she said. "I'm glad I made it pleasurable for the spectators and put my team in first place."
— Jon Krawczynski — Twitter http://twitter.com/APKrawczynski
Associated Press reporters will be filing dispatches about happenings in and around Sochi during the 2014 Winter Games. Follow AP journalists covering the Olympics on Twitter: http://apne.ws/1c3WMiu