SOCHI, Russia -- She is only 15 years old. Keep remembering that.

On the ice, Polina Edmunds is so good that she will fool you into thinking she is much older. Her skating is willowy smooth. Her arm movements are evocative. Her jumps are remarkable. You'd swear that you were watching a mature adult out there.

But she is not an adult. Edmunds is a high school sophomore. She has brought her homework from Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose. She likes eating chicken tenders. She likes to make goofy videos with her friends and post fun stuff on Twitter.

"A typical American teenager," her coach, David Glynn, calls her.

Except for this: The typical American teenager is seldom asked to step into an arena with 10,000 people inside and become part of the world's biggest skating reality show.

Edmunds will do that here Wednesday night at the Winter Olympics. She will perform 12th of the 30 competitors in the ladies figure skating short program. Back in San Jose, that should happen at about 8:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Ever since Edmunds finished second at the national championships last month, her star has been ascending. Her name has acquired major buzz, locally and nationally.

Edmunds received well-publicized big send-offs in San Jose at her school and at Sharks Ice, where she trains. Edmunds' unique background -- her mother is a Russian native who married an American businessman but still has relatives in this country -- has gained much attention here. Russian media is delighted that Polina understands their language and has embraced her.

The result: When the music starts Wednesday night and her skates begin to move, Edmunds will carry far bigger expectations than anyone could have imagined even just six or seven weeks ago.

She is only 15 years old. Keep remembering that.

Edmunds might wish to take inspiration from the Bay Area's first Olympic figure skating star. In 1964, Peggy Fleming was also 15 years old when she earned a spot on the USA Olympic team for the Innsbruck Games.

"This experience will open Polina's eyes to another world," Fleming said by phone from her Los Gatos residence. "I just remember what it was like for me. There's a whole lot going on. It'd be great if she could win a medal. But it will be good for her to see what it feels like at an Olympics, to get her feet wet, to observe the different skaters from around the world and their styles."

At those 1964 Games, Fleming finished sixth. Four years later, she returned at age 19 and won a gold medal in Grenoble, France. Might Edmunds be following the same path?

Tuesday, Edmunds was on the practice rink here for some final pre-competition training. She was perfect in some areas. She was not so perfect in others. Edmunds had difficulty landing one particular triple axel. She fell several times. She rose and glided over to converse with coach David Glynn.

"This is the first practice that's been a little iffy," Glynn said afterward. "In Austria where we trained last week, she ran through clean programs every day. The other practices here have been very good, too."

Glynn knows it's all a learning experience for Edmunds. Having a few nervous hiccups before such competition is natural. Over the next 24 hours, she simply needs to regain the focus for which she's famous.

"I have no doubt she'll get it," Glynn said.

She is only 15 years old. Keep remembering that.

Nina Edmunds, Polina's mother, was seated above the practice rink Tuesday. Nina, a figure skater in her Russian youth, was Polina's first coach. Nina is as proud a mom as you'd imagine her to be. But she does not prefer to address one question:

What would be considered a good result for Polina at these Games?

"Of course, I want to say my student will do well," Nina answered with a smile. "But the field is very strong. Everyone here is ready."

So is a top-10 finish realistic for Polina? Top six or seven?

"I don't want to say," Nina said, "because I am respectful for the other skaters."

Understandable. So let's consult another skating expert and ask the same question.

"Top seven would be fantastic for her," said Brian Boitano, the 1988 gold medalist from Sunnyvale, who is a big Edmunds fan. "Top 10 would be a great result. Usually with people, their first time doing anything ... top 10 is very respectable. It's when you go under the top 10 that people start going, 'Well, I don't know ... ' "

Nina Edmunds did make one interesting stop in Olympic Park this week here. She sought out the pavilion erected by South Korea, which is hosting the 2018 Winter Games. Edmunds would be 19 years old then.

Was Nina pondering what might happen there?

"I was just thinking about it," Nina admitted. "It's a long way off. You never know. Enjoy the moment now."

This week, Polina should enjoy not just ever moment, but every millisecond. If she shocks the world, that would be awesome. But if she doesn't, no one should be disappointed. She's earned this trip and she's having the time of her life.

For example, a few hours after that hiccup-filled practice with the triple axel stumbles, Polina tweeted the following from her Olympic Village room: Just talked to one of the housekeepers in Russian ... So fun to interact with them in their language!

She is only 15 years old. Keep remembering that.

Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.