Here are the skaters representing USA in the Olympics:
Marisa Castelli and Simon Schnapir
Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay
Charlie White and Meryl Davis
Alex and Maya Shibutani
Evan Bates and Madison Chock
So for this installment we are going to focus on Figure skating, the classic Winter Olympic sport. However, this year, the IOC added a new event to the Figure Skating slate; team figure skating.
What is team figure skating?
The team event is a combination of all other events in ice skating. The events are the following:
Men and women both compete in singles which consist of a short program and a free program. The short program contains seven compulsory elements such as jumps, spins, and steps.
Pairs also compete in a short program and a free program. They are judged based on technicality, execution, and the degree in which the pairs mirror each other.
Ice dancing incorporates elements of ballroom dancing. Throws and jumps are not allowed in ice dancing and competitors are judged by how much they adhere to the rhythm of the music, among other criteria. They also have to dance two programs, a compulsory dance where the theme, rhythm, and length of the dance is determined by the sport’s governing body, and a free dance.
Thus the team event combines all of these events into one event. The best national teams enter in one woman, one man, one pair, and one ice dance team to represent them in the event. They all compete one short dance and one free dance.
Sounds simple. So who are the favorites?
The United States traditionally has done well in this discipline but Russia, Japan, China and Canada are also prominent.
The US will be competing without the reigning Olympic gold medalist, Evan Lysacek, who has bowed out due to injury. Russia will have Evgeni Plushenko, reigning silver medalist and gold medalist at the 2006 Olympic Games. However, Plushenko has been struggling lately in national championships and there is a question of whether he will still be chosen for the Russian team. He has medaled in every Olympics he has participated in. However, the favorite to win is Canadian Patrick Chan, who has won three consecutive world figure skating titles.
As for women’s ice skating, Kim Yu-Na is the reigning Olympic gold medalist and it looks like she will be able to defend her title. However, she faces fierce competition from Japanese skaters, such as Mao Asada and US skater Gracie Gold.
In pairs ice skating, the Russian pair of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are favorites to win, especially with the hometown boost.
In ice dancing, there is a long rivalry between the Canadian team of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and the American team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Ten nations are competing in the team event; Russia, the United States, Britain, Canada, Japan, Italy, France, China, Germany, Ukraine. The US’s best hope for a medal might be in the team event, where they won the 2013 World Figure Skating Team Trophy title.
I hope you guys are excited for the figure skating competition. It is the crown jewel of the Winter Olympics and this year looks to be exciting as ever.