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SOCHI, Russia — That rumble that swept through the Iceberg Skating Palace after Julia Lipnitskaia skated could be felt all the way to South Korea.

The Russian phenom's dazzling performance that won the short program in the figure skating team competition Saturday showed Yuna Kim isn't the only woman with the goods to win gold in Sochi. Lipnitskaia has the jumps, she's got the artistry and, despite being just 15, she's got the nerves.

"I've never seen anything out there like the atmosphere out there today," Lipnitskaia said. "There wasn't silence for a single second."

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Just imagine the noise once Russia starts raking in the gold.

The Russians and Soviets before them were a powerhouse in figure skating for four decades, winning 45 Olympic medals, including a gold in pairs at every Winter Games from 1964 to 2006. Their seemingly endless pipeline of talent dried up in the mid-2000s, however, leaving them in tatters by the Vancouver Olympics.

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Russia won two medals four years ago, neither of them gold.

But the Russians have rebounded in a big way. They carried a six-point lead into the final day of the team competition Sunday, with second-place Canada unlikely to catch them. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are heavy favorites to win the pairs gold.

And Lipnitskaia has emerged as perhaps the biggest challenge to Kim, the reigning Olympic champion.

Lipnitskaia was the silver medalist at the junior world championships less than a year ago, and the transition to seniors can be as difficult as a triple-triple combination. But Lipnitskaia has done it without any trouble.

She won both of her Grand Prix events this season, then finished second to Mao Asada at the Grand Prix final. She won the European championships in January, the first Russian to claim the title since Irina Slutskaya in 2006.

Lipnitskaia's jumps get the most attention. She does triple-triple combos as if they're waltz jumps, and she could dust off the arena lights with the height she gets. And while most other skaters slow down as they approach their takeoffs to gather strength, she hurtles into hers at full speed.

She's not just a jumping bean, however. Lipnitskaia has a presence on the ice that's well beyond her 15 years. While many skaters her age — and older — may as well use elevator music for as much connection as they have to it, she's able to express a range of emotion through purposeful looks, delicate extensions of her fingers and changes in pace.

Yet she isn't trying to be something she's not. Her short program, to You Don't Give Up on Love, is filled with cute moments that are perfectly appropriate for a teenager, like when she traces the outline of a heart in the air with her fingers.

And, oh, those spins. Gumby would be green with envy at her flexibility, which is on full display in all of her cartilage-defying positions. Her spins are quick and tightly centered, too, the tracings looking as if they were done with a protractor.

She seems to be immune to pressure, too. She has finished first or second at all but one international competition over the past two years — no small thing considering her competition at those events included Asada, 2012 world champion Carolina Kostner and American Ashley Wagner.

And she wasn't fazed by the raucous chants, cheers and stomps of feet that greeted her Saturday night.

"I knew I had to be calm," she said. "I had to do it all for the team."

Her turn will be here soon.

GALLERY: RUSSIAN FIGURE SKATER JULIA LIPNITSKAIA

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