BUDAPEST, January 18 (R-Sport/RIA Novosti) - Teenage Russian figure skating sensation Julia Lipnitskaia won the European championships at her first attempt late Friday and immediately set her sights on a gold medal at the Winter Olympics to be held in Sochi next month.
Lipnitskaia, 15, became the youngest European champion after overhauling compatriot Adelina Sotnikova with a spectacular routine set to music from the holocaust movie "Schindler's List." She scored a season's best of 209.72 points, six points ahead of Sotnikova.
"If you think about it really hard, then it's possible to win in Sochi," said Lipnitskaia in a typically bullish tone. "Even Kim Yuna (the Korean reigning Olympic champion) showed that she doesn't always skate ideally. ... With such a skate as today, I believe I could make the podium at the Olympics."
The performance is all but guaranteed to secure Lipnitskaia one of Russia's three entries into the women's figure skating competition at the February 7-23 Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
Defending champion Carolina Kostner had to settle for third with 191.39 points.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.