Centered Spin
Don't Miss

What is the Olympic Figure Skating Team Event?

Embed from Getty Images

The inaugural Figure Skating Team Event took place at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. In many ways this event is reminiscent of the all-around event in gymnastics. The goal is to reward the countries that have the best competitors within all four figure skating disciplines: ladies, mens, pairs and ice dance.

Ten countries have qualified to compete. The top five countries will move on to the free skate, while the other five will be eliminated. The competition is broken up into eight portions: mens short, ladies short, pairs short, dance short, men’s free skate, ladies free skate, pairs free skate and the free dance. After each athlete completes their performance, they will receive their score as they would in a regular ISU competition. These scores turn into rankings and the rankings add up to points for each country.

For example, if Team Russia’s pair team finishes in second place in the pairs short program, they would be awarded with 9 points. If they had a lady who finished in first after the short program, they would be awarded with 10 points. The points are added together (9 + 10) and they would have 19 points. Whichever country has the most points at the end of the free skate portion will win the gold and each member of the team will be awarded a medal.

Who won in 2014?

In 2014 Team Russia took home the gold, Canada the silver and Team USA the bronze. The interesting part of this event is that teams are not required to use the same skater for each portion of the event, which is where strategy comes in. For example, Team USA could chose to use Nathan Chen in the short program portion and use Adam Rippon for the free skate. Each team is only allowed two substitutions, so two of the disciplines will have to use the same athletes for both the short program and the free skate.

Which countries will likely medal in the team event?

Team Russia (known as OAR for this Olympic Games) is once again a strong favorite for the gold. They have some of the top ladies in the world and their pair teams are strong as well. They could very well come in first in both of those disciplines. Team Russia’s ice dance teams and their men are not as competitive as others. This is their weakness, but it shouldn’t cause them to fall too far behind.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Team Canada on the podium as well. Team Canada has great pair teams and they have some solid ladies, who have done fairly well internationally this season. The wild card will be Patrick Chan. If he can pull out a brilliant performance then Team Canada could pull an upset for the gold. Let’s not forget that they also have Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir as one of their ice dance teams. It is not yet known if Tessa and Scott will choose to compete in the Team Event, but if they do, Team Canada could be a solid contender.

Team USA is once again in the mix as well. The strength of Team USA is in the mens event and in ice dance. The U.S. ladies also have the potential of making some waves, but it is unsure how they will handle this type of pressure. Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim are the sole U.S. pair team, so they are the only team that we know confidently will be participating in the Team Event. If Alexa and Chris can land their side-by-side jumps, they could do fairly well in this event and possibly help Team USA capture the silver, though Team USA will most likely take home the bronze.

Which skaters will be competing in the Team Event?

It was announced that Olympic Champion Yuzuru Hanyu will not be participating in this event, which makes Team Japan quite a bit weaker. Team Japan along with Team France, could mix things up though for some of the top teams. There are a lot of unknown factors in this event, so it will be exciting to see how it all shakes out.

Each country will announce the day prior to the competition which athletes are slated to compete in the short program. The day before the free skate, they will release who will be competing in the free skate portion. If some of these countries have athletes that could earn a medal in the individual event, then the athletes may opt not to compete in the Team Event at all (like Yuzuru Hanyu). Some figure skaters are excited about the potential of earning more than one medal at the Olympic Games, while others are concerned that they will deliver their best performance at the Team Event and will not have anything left for the individual event.

One of the biggest challenges of this Team Event, is that there is no other team event like it within figure skating. There is the World Team Trophy and the Team Challenge Cup, but both of those events work very differently than this one does. Regardless of the challenges, many skaters feel that figure skating can be a very lonely sport. To have an opportunity for these figure skaters to be a part of a team is something very unique and special for them.

The Team Event will be the first figure skating competition at the Olympic Games. It kicks off on Thursday, February 8 and will be available to watch on NBC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *