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Team event up as Olympic figure skating begins

LET THE GAMES BEGIN Pick skating athlete Nicole Schott of Germany trains at Capital Indoor Stadium on the 2022 Winter Olympics, on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022, in Beijing. AP PHOTO

BEIJING: The workers competition in Olympic figure skating has continually been a 3-workers dash for the podium.

There’s the Russians, who won gold on the event’s 2014 debut in Sochi and silver in Pyeongchang. There’s the Canadians, who took silver sooner than discovering gold four years later. And there is the American citizens, who maintain taken bronze at any time when.

There also can furthermore be a recent participant within the combo when competition begins Friday in Beijing, though. After reduction-to-reduction fifth-space finishes, the Japanese bring their strongest bunch yet to the Olympics, and can knock off the podium a Canadian workers that now not has retired Patrick Chan or ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to pile up the aspects.

As for the American citizens? In all probability they may be able to one way or the other sail up a step or two on the podium.

“Or now not it can perchance well be distinguished any time you compete,” mentioned Nathan Chen, who performed his short program for the US workers in Pyeongchang and executed a lackluster fourth in it. “I will strive to manufacture essentially the most productive I’m in a position to. I do know the rest of us will, too.”

Chen is among the favorites to pick out person gold in Beijing, and the workers event should present him a competitive warmup. He would now not know whether or now not he’ll skate his short program, free skate or each for the workers — that call will be made by Team USA shortly sooner than competition — nonetheless he is a lock to compete on the very least once.

The remark of occasions modified from Pyeongchang, when pairs followed the workers event, and that means Chen and the rest of the lads will be up next week. Pairs bought the anxiousness of heading to the aid of the Olympic program, which suggests they’ll now not be on the ice yet once more except February 18 — for some, a full two weeks after their first taste of competition.

“We honestly bought essentially the most productive discontinue of the plan,” Chen mentioned after his observe Thursday morning at Capital Indoor Stadium, the enviornment within the coronary heart of Beijing identified for being the dwelling of “ping-pong diplomacy” within the 1970s. “The pairs can maintain the hardest time titillating from the entrance discontinue to the aid discontinue.”

How the workers event shakes out also can depend largely upon which skaters each nation selects.

The Russians maintain a trio of girls folks’s medal favorites — Kamila Valieva, Alexandra Trusova and Anna Schherbakova — along with pairs favorites Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. They furthermore maintain sturdy dance teams, though their trio of guys took successful when Mikhail Kolyada needed to withdraw following an even Covid-19 test.

The Japanese also can send out two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu after he skipped the workers event in Pyeongchang; Shoma Uno soundless won the short program for them. They furthermore maintain medal contender Kaori Sakamoto, leaving the pairs workers of Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara and ice dancers Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto to retain tempo with their opponents.

Canada couldn’t maintain the identical firepower it had four years within the past, nonetheless pairs skater Eric Radford is reduction with recent partner Vanessa James, and the ice dance workers of Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier maintain medal expectations of their hang.

Then there is the American workers.

Along with Chen, they maintain got one other men’s medal contender in high-flying nonetheless inconsistent Vincent Zhou, and passe Jason Brown, whose fourth-space free skate all the way by the workers event in Sochi helped the US pick bronze.

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