The Figure Skating competition at the XXIII Olympic Winter Games will kick off on February 9 just before the Opening Ceremony, with the exciting team event. In each team, one Lady, one Man, one Pair Skating and one Ice Dance Couple compete in the Short and/or Free Skating. Teams can exchange up to two entries between the Short and Free Skating Program in the team event provided they have more than one entry qualified for the individual competition. It is expected that most teams will switch the Pairs if they have a second couple as the Pairs continue with their individual competition right after the team event.
All ten teams will compete in the Short Programs/Short Dance but only the top five teams after the Short Programs will advance to the Free Skating/Free Dance. The line-up for the teams will be announced following the team leaders’ meeting on February 6 and the competitors participating in the respective event have to be confirmed the day before.
Sochi 2014 hosted the inaugural Olympic team event when Russia won the gold medal followed by Canada and the USA. These three ISU Members are again the top medal contenders in Pyeongchang 2018. Although Japan won the ISU World Team Trophy in 2016, the Olympic format is slightly different with only one entry per discipline.
Canada took a narrow lead over Russia in the qualifying for the team event and USA ranked third, with the difference in points to Russia being bigger than the difference to Japan in fourth place.
Canada has top contenders in all disciplines, and their team most likely will include three-time World Champion Patrick Chan, reigning World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond and bronze medalist Gabrielle Daleman, three-time Olympic Ice Dance medalists Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir and two-time World Pairs Champions Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford.
Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford (CAN)
Russia, will compete under as the Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR) can count on two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva, newly minted European Champion Alina Zagitova, on two-time European Pairs Champions Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov, multiple European Ice Dance medalists Ekaterina Borbova/Dmitri Soloviev as well as ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final bronze medalist Mikhail Kolyada and European silver medalist Dmitri Aliev. The question is rather who has to be left off the team.
Maia Shibutani / Alex Shibutani (USA)
Team USA can rely on ISU Grand Prix Final Champion Nathan Chen, ISU Grand Prix Finalist Adam Rippon, but will have to make a tough choice between their dance teams as all three are top contenders: ISU Grand Prix Finalists Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani, two-time World medalists Madison Chock/Evan Bates and new U.S. Champions Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue. The USA has only one pair entered for the Olympic Games, Alexa Scimeca Knierim/Chris Knierim.
Japan is expected to challenge for a medal led by their strong single skaters 2015 World silver medalist Satoko Miyahara and 2018 Four Continents Champion Kaori Sakamoto, 2017 World silver medalist Shoma Uno. Following their bronze medal finish at the ISU Four Continents Championships last month, Ice Dancers Kana Muramoto/Chris Reed head confidently into the team competition as well.
Yan Han (CHN)
Team Italy features 2012 World Champion Carolina Kostner and 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte while Pair skaters Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres are expected to lead team France. Two-time World Ice Dance Champions Gabriella Papadakis/ Guillaume Cizeron are not competing in the team event.
The other qualified teams are Germany (with ISU Grand Prix Final Champions Aljona Savchenko/ Bruno Massot), Israel and Korea. Spain originally was qualified, but not eligible since they qualified skaters for the individual events only in two disciplines. In order to participate in the Olympic team event, a country needs to have qualified skaters in at least three disciplines. Korea replaced Spain.