After missing the 2016-17 season due to injury, U.S. figure skater Polina Edmunds has returned to competition.
At just 19, she is now a two-time U.S. silver medalist, world team member and a 2014 Olympian.
Here’s more about the 19-year-old figure skater as she prepares for the 2018 Olympics.
1. Edmunds Began Taking Lessons at 4 Years Old
Edmunds followed in the footsteps of her mother, Nina, who was born in Russia and was a former competitive figure skater coached under Alexei Mishin. Her father also has experience on the ice as a hockey player.
Her parents introduced her to the ice early on. Edmunds was in skates at 2, and enrolled in formal lessons by age 4.
That’s when her mother told coach, David Glynn the family was ready to make a serious commitment to the sport.
“We’re going to commit everything to it,” Nina Edmunds told Glynn, according to The New York Times.
In multiple interviews, Edmunds has cited Sasha Cohen, and Michelle Kwan as her figure skating role models.
2. Edmunds Competed in the 2014 Olympics
Edmunds progressed quickly in her skating career. She won the 2013 U.S. Junior National Championships and competed on the Junior Grand Prix Circuit in the fall of 2013.
She was a newcomer to the senior ranks in 2014, the year of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. It was also the year Edmunds would take her place amongst figure skating’s most elite competitors. At the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she captured silver and earned a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.
Edmunds finished in the top 10 at both the Olympics and worlds in 2014, and was the youngest member of the U.S. Figure Skating Olympic team since Tara Lipinski in 1998.
3. Edmunds Was Forced to Withdraw From the 2016-17 Season Due to Injury
A navicular bone injury in her right foot has troubled Edmunds since it first occurred in early 2016.
In February 2016, an MRI showed that Edmunds had a bone bruise on her right foot, an injury which arose after she “started jumping too early in the new skates,” according to Ice Network.
The injury forced Edmunds to withdraw from the 2016 World Championships in Boston. Edmunds resumed skating after some time off, but the injury resurfaced in June. She limited herself to off-ice training for a month before returning to the ice in August 2016.
Edmunds once again had to put a hold on her training in November after the bone bruise returned. The figure skater feared it could be career-ending and stayed off the ice completely from mid-November until March 2017.
She withdrew from her two Grand Prix competitions, the 2016 Rostelecom Cup and 2016 NHK Trophy. In January 2017, she also withdrew from the U.S. Championships.
“If it had fully fractured and I needed surgery, it would have been career-ending,” Edmunds told Ice Network.
An MRI in February 2016, showed that Edmunds’ foot had completely healed.
Edmunds competed for the first time since January 2016 at the Glacier Falls competition in July, where she finished eighth.
4. Edmunds Is Studying Communications at Santa Clara University
Edmunds graduated from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California. Edmunds was named “San Jose Sports Hall of Fame Female High School Athlete of the Year” by the San Jose Sports Authority in 2014.
Edmunds began college in the fall of 2016 at Santa Clara University, where she is studying communications.
“I kind of got accustomed to not having to skate to keep busy,” Edmunds told Ice Network in reference to her time off due to injury. “I wasn’t sad or anything. I missed skating, of course, but there’s so much more going on in my life.”
She is involved in several on-campus groups including Santa Clara’s chapter of Delta Gamma.
Edmunds is also an Athlete Ambassador for Right To Play USA and is very active with Kristi Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, which promotes early childhood literacy in the Bay Area.
5. Edmunds’ Choreographer is Rudy Galindo
Edmunds has worked with former figure skater and 1996 U.S. national champion, Rudy Galindo since the 2014-15 season.
He choreographed two new programs for her for the 2016-17, however she wasn’t able to use either program due to her season-ending foot injury.
She will be using both for the 2017-18 season. Galindo choreographed the short program to “Palladio,” and the free skate to “Time to Say Goodbye.”
“I’m really excited to get to perform the programs and for people to see them,” Edmunds told Ice Network. “I think they’re really beautiful.”
Edmunds and Galindo have a strong partnership.
“Rudy’s a really talented choreographer and I’m grateful to have gotten to work with him and create some wonderful programs,” Edmunds explained to Ice Network. “He knows my strengths and really highlights them. Everything meshes well between us. He gives me ideas and I kind of feed off of them as well. It’s definitely a team effort and it really gels together in the end.”