Projections/Predictions for the 2018 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Team Event

By Ryan
Aug. 14, 2017

Welcome to my first article! I have been a fan of figure skating since 2014. I've been wanting to give my insights and opinion on the sport but I haven't found the website to do that, until now.

For this particular article, I will be talking about the team event that will take place at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. I will discuss what I think the rosters will be, how each country should utilize their skaters, and even offer my extremely early predictions.

Looking back at how the Sochi 2014 Team Event edition went has helped me tremendously in trying to project what 2018 will consist of. The following will be a list of countries and their skaters that participated in the inaugural figure skating team event back in 2014. Keep in mind that I am only going to do countries that are contenders.

2014 Winter Olympics

Canada

Patrick Chan

Kevin Reynolds

Kaetlyn Osmond

Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford

Kirsten Moore-Towers / Dylan Moscovitch

Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir

China

Yan Han

Zhang Kexin

Peng Cheng / Zhang Hao

Huang Xintong / Zheng Xun

France

Florent Amodio

Maé-Bérénice Méité

Vanessa James / Morgan Ciprès

Nathalie Péchalat / Fabian Bourzat

Japan

Yuzuru Hanyu

Tatsuki Machida

Mao Asada

Akiko Suzuki

Narumi Takahashi / Ryuichi Kihara

Cathy Reed / Chris Reed

Russia

Evgeni Plushenko

Yulia Lipnitskaya

Tatiana Volosozhar / Maxim Trankov

Ksenia Stolbova / Fedor Klimov

Ekaterina Bobrova / Dmitri Soloviev

Elena Ilinykh / Nikita Katsalapov

United States

Jeremy Abbott

Jason Brown

Ashley Wagner

Gracie Gold

Marissa Castelli / Simon Shnapir

Meryl Davis / Charlie White

The following here at long last consists of the projections for each country:

2018 Winter Olympics ***Projected Teams***

Canada

Patrick Chan

Kevin Reynolds

Kaetlyn Osmond

Gabrielle Daleman

Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford

Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir

China

Jin Boyang

Yan Han

Li Zijun

Sui Wenjing / Han Cong

Yu Xiaoyu / Zhang Hao

Wang Shiyue / Liu Xinyu

France

Chafik Besseghier

Maé-Bérénice Méité

Vanessa James / Morgan Ciprès

Gabriella Papadakis / Guillame Cizeron

Japan

Yuzuru Hanyu

Shoma Uno

Satoko Miyahara

Mai Mihara

Sumire Suto / Francis Boudreau-Audet

Kana Muramoto / Chris Reed

Russia

Mikhail Kolyada

Evgenia Medvedeva

Elena Radionova

Evgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov

Ksenia Stolbova / Fedor Klimov

Ekaterina Bobrova / Dmitri Soloviev

United States

Nathan Chen

Vincent Zhou

Karen Chen

Gracie Gold

Alexa Scimeca-Knierim / Chris Knierim

Maia Shibutani / Alex Shibutani

Strengths & Weaknesses for each Country

The country that will suffer the most is France since Ice Dance is the only discipline they have as their strongest. Their pairs team is moderate but not enough to overtake the others. China is strongest with Men & Pairs but will struggle with the weakness in Ladies & Ice Dance. Japan is very superior with Men & Ladies but the ineptitude of their Pairs & Ice Dance will hurt them severely. United States can definitely rely on Ice Dance as their strongest along with Men. Ladies is moderate for this country but pairs is their most weakest discipline. Canada has one of the best Ice Dance group out there, Ladies is up-and-coming as well. I don't think Canada actually has a weakness, at worst they are moderate in Men & Pairs. There is no doubt that Russia has the best Ladies field in the world right now and their Pairs have always been reputationally elite. Ice Dance for them is moderate, however, Men is one of weakest field they have at this moment.

Recommendations for the Contenders

Teams are allowed to use the same skater twice for a maximum of two disciplines. Here is an example: a country can decide to have 1 pairs team skate BOTH the short program & long program and can have 1 individual lady skate BOTH the short program & long program. They can decide however they want, but of course, strategy is key.

At the previous Olympics, the podium consisted of Russia (Gold), Canada (Silver), and the United States (Bronze) and I believe 2018 will consist of those 3 countries once again making the podium.

Canada can go with Kaetlyn Osmond to skate the short program while Gabrielle Daleman skates the free. The same should happen with their Men. This means that Canada should definitely use Tessa Virtue/ Scott Moir twice for Ice Dance and Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford twice for Pairs.

For the United States, they are only allowed to send 1 pairs team to the Olympics so they pretty much have no choice but to use Alexa Scimeca-Knierim / Chris Knierim twice. I recommend using one Ice Dance team twice like they did before. For Ladies, I would go Karen Chen for the short program and use Gracie Gold for the free skate. The United States need to be really cautious with Men because later on in the Olympics the individual events will happen and Nathan Chen is undoubtedly a gold medal contender. They CANNOT use Nathan twice in the team event. If they do, it will risk him being fatigue for the Men's individual event. Back in 2014, Russia used Evgeni Plushenko twice for the team event. That tactic helped them win gold but it worn-out Plushenko as he suffered an injury and had to withdraw right before his name was called to skate. Therefore, I highly recommend Vincent Zhou for the short program and Nathan Chen for the long program.

If Russia is serious about repeating, they need to use Mikhail Kolyada twice for Men. He's the best male skater they have so far. For Ice Dance, Ekaterina Bobrova / Dmitri Soloviev would be ideal to skate both programs. Pairs should be no problem as they can't go wrong with whoever they choose to skate the short & long. For me, I would pick Evgenia Tarasova / Vladimir Morozov for the short program while using Ksenia Stolbova / Fedor Klimov for the free skate. Just like how the United States have a situation for Men, Russia has a situation with Ladies. Evgenia Medvedeva is also a gold medal contender for the Ladies individual event. They CANNOT use Evgenia twice in the team event. Yulia Lipnitskaya was used twice in 2014 and in the individual event pressure got to her. As you can see, using an INDIVIDUAL skater twice in the team event has not resulted very well heading into their respective events. Back in 2014, Russia was allowed to only send two ladies. This time they can send a maximum of three ladies. So, for the short program I would use Elena Radionova and for the long program I would use Evgenia Medvedeva.

Prediction Time

At the time I am writing this article, we are less than 6 months away from the 2018 Winter Olympics. As we get closer to the games and see how all the skaters do in the season, I'll be making another set of predictions. But for the time being, here are my preseason predictions on how I think the figure skating team event will go:

Men SP

1 Hanyu - 10

2 Boyang - 9

3 Zhou - 8

4 Chan - 7

5 Kolyada - 6

6 Besseghier - 5

Pairs SP

1 Sui/Han - 10

2 Tarasova/Morozov - 9

3 Duhamel/Radford - 8

4 James/Cipres - 7

5 Scimeca/Knierim - 6

6 Suto/Boudreau-Audet - 5

Ice Dance SP

1 Papadakis/Cizeron - 10

2 Virtue/Moir - 9

3 Shibutani/Shibutani - 8

4 Bobrova/Solovlev - 7

5 Shiyue/Xinyu - 6

6 Muramoto/Reed - 5

Ladies SP

1 Radionova - 10

2 Miyahara - 9

3 Chen - 8

4 Osmond - 7

5 Zijun - 6

6 Méité - 5

Japan: 10 5 5 9 = 29

China: 9 10 6 6 = 31

USA: 8 6 8 8 = 30

Canada: 7 8 9 7 = 31

Russia: 6 9 7 10 = 32

France: 5 7 10 5 = 27

Pairs FS

1 Stolbova/Klimov - 10

2 Yu/Zhang - 9

3 Duhamel/Radford - 8

4 Scimeca/Knierim - 7

5 Suto/Boudreau-Audet - 6

Mens FS

1 Chen - 10

2 Uno - 9

3 Kolyada - 8

4 Yan - 7

5 Reynolds - 6

Ladies FS

1 Medvedeva - 10

2 Gold - 9

3 Daleman - 8

4 Mihara - 7

5 Zijun - 6

Ice Dance FD

1 Virtue/Moir - 10

2 Shibutani/Shibutani - 9

3 Bobrova/Solovlev - 8

4 Muramoto/Reed - 7

5 Shiyue/Xinyu - 6

China: 31 9 7 6 6 = 59

Japan: 29 6 9 7 7 = 58

USA: 30 7 10 9 9 = 65

Canada: 31 8 6 8 10 = 63

Russia: 32 10 8 10 8 = 68

Podium

Gold: Russia 68

Silver: USA 65

Bronze: Canada 63