Athletes representing 10 different nations will compete for gold in the inaugural figure skating team competition at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, according to a Dec. 9 reveal by the International Skating Union (ISU).
The 10 teams selected earned the highest cumulative point totals, per ISU guidelines, over the course of the past two figure skating seasons. Chosen to compete were squads representing the following nations:
- United States
Although team USA is the reigning World Trophy holder in the event, they qualified only third for the Olympic competition, behind both Canada and host nation Russia. The Canadian team brings a strong set of skaters to the competition, headlined by world men's champion Patrick Chan, reigning Olympic gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, and two sets of powerful pairs skaters in world bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, and Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch.
The Russian team features four extremely strong women's singles candidates in 2013 Grand Prix Final silver medalist Julia Lipnitskaia, Adelina Sotnikova, Anna Pogorilaya and Elena Radionova, as well as ice dancers Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, and 2013 world pairs gold medealists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov.
Although the U.S. should have both reigning world and Grand Prix champion ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White and U.S. national champion Ashley Wagner on board, the men's and pairs candidates aren't nearly as strong and could make the team more vulnerable to defeat.
The team figure skating event at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi kicks off a day before opening ceremonies, on Feb. 6, with the men's and pairs short programs.