When San Jose's Polina Edmunds checked the board to see her figure skating score on Wednesday in Sochi after her Olympic debut, the 15-year-old held two furry stuffed animals in her outstretched arms.
They are not stuffed animals from her toddler days. The elephant and lion were given to her days before she left for Sochi by two of her supportive communities at home. Her well wishers wanted to give her some good luck charms from Silicon Valley.
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Even though she didn't medal, many would say it seems like the "stuffies" still worked.
Polina earned her personal best score of 61.04 on Wednesday during the ladies figure skating short program. And on Thursday, she earned another personal best of 122.21, earning her a 9th place finish in the Olympics overall.
After her both of her programs, she clutched her stuffed animals.
The elephant was a gift from her synchronized skating friends at Sharks Ice in San Jose where she trains, said Candy Goodson, the Sharks skating director.
"Before the kids go out on the ice, they do an elephant dance and we say, 'Trunks up,' " Goodson said. "Polina has been there for quite a few exhibitions with the synchronized team."
Goodson said she gave Polina the elephant two days before she left for the Olympics.
As for the lion, her teachers and classmates at Archbishop Mitty High School gave the sophomore a royal sendoff on Feb. 3 in a ceremony attended by Olympians and Mitty graduates Kerri Walsh and Brandi Chastain.
Included in the big sendoff was the gift of the Mitty Monarch mascot, a little stuffed lion wearing a school sweater.
On Thursday, after her free skate, Polina grabbed two different stuffed animals. The first was a hot pink hedgehog given to her by a Bay Area girl and a red-white-and-blue Beanie bear her coach David Glynn gave her. All of her stuffed animals got to snuggle with her in her Olympic village bedroom.
— Polina Edmunds (@PolinaEdmunds) February 17, 2014
Her friend at Mitty, Elliott Picone, told NBC Bay Area that Polina really likes bright colors and either collects stuffed animals or gets them as gifts quite regularly.