At the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, team figure skating made its Olympic debut. Canada entered the competition as strong medal contenders and came away with a silver medal as they were beaten by Russia by 10 points.
Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of London, Ontario, have decided to return for their third Olympic Winter Games. After winning the gold medal in ice dancing at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver and two silver medals at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi (second in ice dance and the team competition), Virtue and Moir enter the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang as gold medal contenders in ice dance and the team competition.
Virtue and Moir, who are three-time world champions and will carry the flag together for Canada in the 2018 Olympic Winter Games opening ceremonies, will face their biggest challenge from Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France. Papadakis and Cizeron won the silver medal in ice dance behind Virtue and Moir at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships in Helsinki but beat Virtue and Moir at the Grand Prix Final in Nagoya, Japan this past December.
Olympic Figure Skating Preview
Virtue and Moir and Papadakis and Cizeron each won twice during the grand prix circuit. Virtue and Moir won Skate Canada in Regina and the NHK Trophy in Osaka, while Papadakis and Cizeron won the Cup of China in Beijing and the Internationaux de France in Grenoble. However, it should be noted that the Grand Prix Final was the only competition this season that Papadakis and Cizeron faced Virtue and Moir.
Papadakis and Cizeron should be the gold medal favourites. They have reached the 200 point plateau four times in their career including a career-high 203.16 points at the 2018 European Figure Skating Championships in Moscow. Virtue and Moir’s career high is only 199.86, which was achieved at Skate Canada in Regina.
Virtue and Moir will be part of the Canadian skaters in the team competition. They just need to do their twizzles better than they did in Sochi. In Pyeongchang, Canada will face challenges from the United States and the Olympic Athletes of Russia. Canada has the edge over the O.A.R. in ice dance, but are extremely even in the other three figure skating disciplines. If Canada gets by the O.A.R. in one of the other three events, they have a legitimate chance to take gold.
Singles and Pairs
In the men’s singles portion of the team competition, former world champion Patrick Chan of Ottawa, Ontario will try to put a disastrous Skate Canada behind him when he faces Mikhail Kolyada of O.A.R. In the pairs portion of the team competition, world champions Meagan Duhamel of Sudbury, Ontario and Eric Radford of Winnipeg, Manitoba will face reigning World Championship bronze medalists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov, and in the ladies team competition, reigning world championship silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond of Marystown, Newfoundland will be up against a very strong figure skater of Russian descent.
This is a good time for Osmond to face Evegenia Medvedeva, the two-time world champion, in the team competition and women’s singles. The reason is that Medvedeva is recovering from a broken foot and missed the Grand Prix Final. If Medvedeva is not 100%, then it will give Osmond the edge over Medvedeva in both Olympic events.
However, O.A.R. is very deep in women’s figure skating. In addition to Medvedeva, they have had remarkable seasons from Alina Zagitova and Maria Sotskova, who finished first and second respectively in the Grand Prix Final. Zagitova then edged Medvedeva at the European Championship in Moscow. An O.A.R. sweep of Zagitova, Medvedeva and Sotskova in the Winter Olympics signature event of women’s figure skating is very possible.
In pairs, Duhamel and Radford finished a disappointing seventh at the World Championships in 2017 after winning the world titles the two previous years in 2015 and 2016. They regrouped this year to win Skate Canada and the bronze medal at the ISU Grand Prix Final. They will face stiff challenges from the Grand Prix Final champions of Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany, the reigning world champions of Sui Wenjing and Han Cong of China, along with Tarasova and Morozov.
In men’s figure skating, it has been a great year for American Nathan Chen, who won the ISU Grand Prix Final. He will be challenged by two Japanese skaters—reigning Olympic and world champion Yuzuru Hanyu and world championship silver medalist Shoma Uno. Hanyu, however, has not had the healthiest season as he had to deal with an injured ligament in his ankle.
Olympic predictions for figure skating:
Men’s Singles Predictions:
SILVER–Nathan Chen–United States
Event: Short Program–Feb. 15 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, Free Skate–Feb. 16 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT
Women’s Singles Predictions:
GOLD–Evgenia Medvedeva–Olympic Athletes of Russia
SILVER–Alina Zagitova–Olympic Athletes of Russia
BRONZE–Maria Sotskova–Olympic Athletes of Russia
Event: Short Program–Feb. 20 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, Free Skate–Feb. 22 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT
GOLD–Sui Wenjing/Han Cong–China
SILVER–Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot–Germany
BRONZE–Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov–Olympic Athletes of Russia
Event: Short Program–Feb. 13 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, Free Skate–Feb. 14 @ 8:30 pm ET/5:30 pm PT
Ice Dance Predictions:
GOLD–Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron–France
SILVER–Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir–Canada
BRONZE–Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani–United States
Event: Short Dance–Feb. 18 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, Free Dance–Feb. 19 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT
Team Figure Skating Predictions:
SILVER–Olympic Athletes of Russia
Event: Men’s Short Program–Feb. 8 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT; Pairs Short Program–Feb. 8 @ 9:45 pm ET/6:45 pm PT; Team Event Short Dance–Feb. 10 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT; Team Event Ladies Short Program–Feb. 10 @ 9:45 pm ET/6:45 pm PT; Team Event Pairs Free Skate–Feb. 10 @ 11:40 pm ET/8:40 pm PT; Team Event Men’s Free Skate–Feb. 11 @ 8 pm ET/5 pm PT; Team Event Ladies Free Skate–Feb. 11 @ 9:10 pm ET/6:10 pm PT; Team Event Ice Dance Free Dance–Feb. 11 @ 10:20 pm ET/7:20 pm PT.
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