Canada heads to South Korea with the strongest overall figure skating team and with medal contenders in all four individual events. That’s well ahead of expectations for the United States.
The Maple Leaf could be on frequent display above the medals podium at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
Canada heads to South Korea with the strongest overall figure-skating team and with medal contenders in all four individual events. That’s well ahead of expectations for the United States, which would be doing well to win three medals at the Winter Games.
For the Canadians, 2010 champions and 2014 runners-up Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are positioned to add more prizes to their ice-dance collection. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are in the mix in pairs, Patrick Chan will try to make his final Olympics more memorable than his previous visits in a wide-open men’s field, and Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman should challenge in the women’s event.
U.S. men at a glance
Nathan Chen: If he nails his two quads in the short program and five in the free skate, and he gets through everything else cleanly, his prospects are excellent.
Vincent Zhou: Also a quad machine, and like Chen, he is improving in other areas. Still, he’s a longshot for a top-five spot.
Adam Rippon: His flair for the dramatic in his programs goes over well with the crowds and could also land him in the top 10.
“Canada is strong in all four disciplines,” said Brian Orser, who trains Daleman as well as defending men’s champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and two-time world champ Javier Fernandez of Spain. “Especially in the last four years, our two ladies have really risen to top, and that is exciting.
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“They have the biggest team, I know that, and one of the strongest,” Orser said. “They will be in contention with that team of Russian skaters.”
The Russians, of course, will not be representing their country after the Sochi doping scandal led to sanctions against the nation by the IOC. But they will be on hand, skating under the Olympic flag, and are expected to be quite representative, particularly in women and pairs.
For the Americans, Nathan Chen and his five-quad free skate could be the biggest story of these Games. Chen likely is the only gold-medal candidate for the U.S., though his nation also has a chance to win a medal in the team competition after taking bronze in Sochi.
“The results are not up to me,” the 18-year-old Chen said. “When I am doing things the right way, I am healthy, and I clean up mistakes, I think it is possible to win. It’s important not to let any distractions get into your head. Enjoy it all, enjoy the process, and that’s usually when I skate my best.”