SOCHI, Russia -- San Jose teen Polina Edmunds wanted to leave Sochi with two clean performances.
She'll have to settle for almost accomplishing that goal after falling on a triple jump Thursday night in the free skate at the Iceberg Skating Palace.
The Archbishop Mitty High sophomore scored a season-best of 122.21 points to land in ninth place in her first Olympics, a promising start for a skater expected to become one of America's next big stars.
"My mindset now is if I am in the air I am going to land it," Edmunds said.
"I'm a little surprised I missed that."
She didn't miss much of anything else, getting rave reviews in her first senior-level international competition.
Edmunds, 15, entered the rink to cheers and cries of "Go, Polina."
Then came the music.
Two sharp triple jumps. And then a single loop sandwiched between two triple jumps.
The nonplussed kid looked primed to walk out of the Sochi Games enjoying something close to perfection.
Then came the sudden fall. Just as quickly, Edmunds got up and finished strong.
Edmunds skates as technically difficult a program as anyone in the world.
She included seven triple jumps in her program that was skated to a romantic theme from the Norwegian play "Peer Gynt," with music by Edvard Grieg.
"It makes me want to come back and fight for a medal," Edmunds said. "I want to keep training and know anything could happen in the next four years."
An hour before Polina glided on the ice her mom Nina Edmunds was well aware of the spotlight while getting hooked up to an NBC microphone.
"It's gone so fast," Nina Edmunds said. "From juniors to the Olympics. So fast."
Edmunds and her coaches -- including Nina -- top-loaded the four-minute program with two big combination jumps to kick off the performance.
Edmunds also had two high-scoring double Axels, jumps that take an extra half rotation because of how they are launched.
The technical wizardry is something to behold but a gulf remains with the top echelon when it comes to transitional moves and speed. South Korean star Kim Yu-na, who won the silver medal, seems to float across the ice like an apparition. Michelle Kwan showcased that ethereal quality that speaks to the heart of figure skating.
Edmunds might grow into it because she's a spirited dancer who has studied ballet almost as long as she has been skating.
"She learned a lot about herself in the last two to three weeks," coach David Glynn said. "She grew up a lot."
For now, she's a talent-rich kid who carted two stuffed toys given to her by folks back home. One was hedgehog sent to Edmunds from a second grader at Holy Spirit School in San Jose.
She had one friend in the arena cheering her on: Anna Fry of Willow Glen High. The former ice skater whose mom is Edmunds' physical trainer hasn't been able to talk to the Olympian much. But she was excited just to be Sochi to provide a semblance of home for the rising skating star.
"I can only get stronger from here," Edmunds said. "The judges will only know me more."
So will the public as the San Jose schoolgirl continues to twirl her way to the top of figure skating.
Contact Elliott Almond at 408-920-5865. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/elliottalmond.