With spots on the 2014 U.S. Olympic figure skating team still up for grabs, the 2014 Prudential national championships kick off in Boston on Jan. 5, with the winners of the senior level events virtually guaranteed trips to Sochi. A Jan. 4 press release by the sport's governing body detailed the order of events to come.
The novice level skaters will hit the ice first, competing on Jan. 5 and 6 before giving way to juvenile and junior competitors on Jan. 7 and 8. As the juniors complete their time on the ice, intermediate skaters will follow on Jan. 9.
The senior level competition will also kick off on Jan. 9, as the ladies and pairs perform their short programs at 7:45 p.m. and 4:25 p.m. respectively. The senior men and ice dancers will debut on the ice on Jan. 10 with their short programs (8 p.m.) and short dances (1:45 p.m.), respectively. The national championship titles in women's (6:45 p.m.), pairs (11:30 a.m.) and ice dancing will be awarded on Jan. 11, with the men's winner decided in the wee hours of Jan. 12.
Reigning national champion and Grand Prix Final bronze medalist Ashley Wagner is all but a shoo-in to make the Sochi squad on the women's side, but the other two spots on the team are very much up for grabs. Potential candidates include reigning U.S. silver medalist Gracie Gold, 2010 Vancouver Winter Games alum Mirai Nagasu, and Agnes Zawadzki, among others.
Also a virtual lock for Sochi are reigning World and Grand Prix Final ice dancing champs Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who enter the Games as favorites for gold. Two other couples will round out the discipline's U.S. contingent.
A wide open field of men that includes reigning U.S. champion Max Aaron, rising star Jason Brown, and 2010 Olympian Jeremy Abbott will vie for just two Sochi berths. Finally, two pairs will see their Olympic dreams come to fruition.
2014 Olympic figure skating action begins Feb. 6 in Sochi with the first portion of the newly implemented team competition.