The seeds to Polina Edmunds' march to the 2014 Winter Olympics began last March in front of a television set.

The San Jose teen sensation watched the World Figure Skating championships in London, Ontario, with her coaches, hoping the Americans could earn three berths for the Sochi Games.

Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold finished in the top 10 to give the United States the third berth it lost in Vancouver because of a poor showing at the 2009 World Championships.

"As soon as we got three spots, we made a targeted goal that we would finish in the top three" at the U.S. championships, Edmunds' coach David Glynn said. "Polina has been the driving force all the way."

Edmunds, 15, has become a force of nature almost overnight, as she joined Wagner and Gold on Sunday as members of the U.S. Olympic team.

The Americans head to Sochi, Russia, next month as decided underdogs against skaters from South Korea, Japan and Russia.

But the odds don't bother Edmunds, who has remained nonplused while rocketing into rarefied air this past week.

"The biggest challenge will just be competing and seeing how the international judges look at me under the senior competition," Edmunds said Sunday. "All I can do is train and go there and skate two great programs."

The Archbishop Mitty sophomore got the full-blown media treatment Sunday, a day after finishing second in her senior national debut at the U.S. championships.

Now she is the Bay Area's first Olympic singles skater since Fremont's Kristi Yamaguchi won the gold medal in 1992.

The region has produced a pantheon of stars, including Peggy Fleming, Brian Boitano, Debi Thomas, Rudy Galindo and Yamaguchi.

Add Edmunds to that impressive list, as the kid hopes to lead a resurgence of skating in Northern California.

Gliding effortlessly across the ice at TD Garden in Boston, Edmunds withstood the pressure of the grandest stage Saturday night.

Gold, 18, won her first national title with an exquisite performance. But Wagner fell on two early jumps and landed in a precarious position in fourth place behind Mirai Nagasu of Arcadia.

Still, U.S. skate officials awarded Wagner a discretionary berth over Nagasu, who took fourth at the Vancouver Games but since has performed erratically.

"It's been a really rough four years, and I've been working really hard," Wagner said Sunday in Boston. "I'm happy that my federation was able to see beyond one bad skate."

It would have been difficult to leave Edmunds off the team after her stunning performances last week. The long-legged teen has the most technically difficult free program among the Americans. Her 4-minute, 20-second routine has eight triple jumps, including two separate triple-triple combinations that can pile up points.

She had achieved the minimum technical scores for the Olympics (20 points short program; 36 points free skate) during the Junior Grand Prix circuit this season.

Also, the United States has a strong history of teen skating stars performing upsets at the Olympics. In 1998, Tara Lipinski won a gold medal in Nagano, Japan, at 15 by upsetting Michelle Kwan. Four years later, Sarah Hughes, 16, stunned Kwan by winning in Salt Lake City.

Edmunds would not predict how she might fare in Sochi next month. But she also showed no signs of backing away from what will be the biggest moment of her young life.

"I don't feel like it is really a big deal" for her first senior international competition to be an Olympics, she said. "The program is only about 30 seconds longer in the free, so it's not going to be a huge difference" from junior competition. "So I am prepared for that."

Edmunds underscored how she won't back away from a challenge when asked to compare herself to 15-year-old Yulia Lipnitskaya, Russia's rising star.

"I think that we are similar in the technical elements that we are doing," Edmunds said. "It will be interesting to see how we stack up against each other."

Glynn doesn't expect Edmunds to change her approach heading to Sochi.

"She knows exactly what she has done," he said after Edmunds' free skate. "She has treated this entire week with a professional approach. She has had a plan and was proactive to make it the competition she wanted to be."

Edmunds might find Russia less foreign than her teammates, who train in Southern California.

Her mother and coach, Nina Edmunds, is Russian. When Nina came to San Jose in the 1990s after marrying American tourist John Edmunds, she brought her mother, Irina, too.

Polina is not fluent but understands Russian because her mother and grandmother speak to her in their native language.

"My grandma cooks Russian soups," Edmunds said. "I've been eating soup for lunch most of my life."

She also has been at Sharks Ice San Jose much of her life. Her mother, a Russian figure skating coach before coming to America, put Polina on skates at 20 months. She enrolled her with Glynn at age 4. Edmunds' older and younger brothers play hockey.

Caydee Denney and John Coughlin, who won the U.S. pairs title two years ago in San Jose, were left off the Olympic team Sunday. They finished third in Boston behind Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir and Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay, who were named to the team.

Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.

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