#TBT: Julia Lipnitskaia goes for a spin
Julia Lipnitskaia, who helped Russia take home the gold medal in the inaugural team figure skating competition at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, celebrates her 16th birthday today.
Born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and raised by a single mother, Lipnitskaia began skating at the age of 4. She and her mother moved to Moscow in 2009 to get more serious training for Julia, and she soon began competing on the junior level. She quickly ascended the Russian skating ranks, winning the Russian junior title in 2012 and finishing second in the national senior competition that same year. By the 2013-14 season, Lipnitskaia was competing on the senior level and won the European Championships in her debut at the event. At just 15, she was the youngest champion in ladies singles history. Her victory helped cement her spot on the Russian Olympic team. Tasked with performing both the women's short and free programs in the team event, Lipnitskaia won both categorizes with jaw-dropping routines and helped lift Russia to the gold medal. Her anatomy-defying moves made her one of the Sochi Games' breakout stars, and she was honored by Vladimir Putin with the Honored Master of Sports award, the highest honor for an athlete in Russia.
In honor of her birthday and #ThrowbackThursday, we look back at the move that made her an instant Internet sensation.