The 2014 Winter Olympics were full of ups and downs. The figure skating events consisted of drama that left us with some incredible moments as well as some very disappointing ones.
The inaugural team event alone was a history maker as for the first time skaters competed as a team for their countries, rather than just as individuals. It was an intriguing event to behold, yet some wonder how different the individual events would have been if there had not been a team event. Some skaters almost seemed to give away their Olympic performances for the team, leaving them with poor performances in the individual events. For others, like Adelina Sotnikova, it may have actually helped her win gold in the individual event as it lit a fire inside of her since she was not named to the Russian Team. Regardless, this event changed the dynamic.
Though the Olympic Games have come to a close, the conversations, controversy and the memories will continue on and will not be quickly forgotten. There are several take aways, from the scoring to the first-ever medal wins for several nations, history was made.
One thing is for sure—figure skating did not disappoint. It brought the emotion, the drama and the excitement. Hopefully the sport will continue bringing these elements into the Olympic Games, but next time with less controversy.
Ashley Wagner’s candid response
One of the images that is permanently embedded within most of our minds, is Ashley Wagner’s facial expression after receiving her marks in the short program during the team event. This would be the start of many online jokes as well as intrigue within the scoring system during the Olympic Games.
Russia captures first-ever gold in the team event
Russia quickly began to re-establish its dominance within figure skating in the team event. They came out on top on each of the disciplines, except for ice dancing. It was clear that Russia was more then ready to reclaim its figure skating legacy.
Germany’s pink panther loss
When looking back at the pairs event, one cannot easily forget a hot pink panther bodysuit worn by Aliona Savchenko. These types of performances were a staple for German pair, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy. They strived so hard to overtake Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, but in the end even a pink panther costume was not enough. This team had to settle for a bronze.
Tatiana Volsozor and Maxim Trankov restore Russian legacy
Tatiana Volsozor and Maxim Trankov had been brilliant all season and then leading up right before the Olympic Games, this team began to falter and everyone was on edge wondering if they could hold it together for the Olympics. Volsozor and Trankov came out strong in the team event and even stronger in the pairs event winning not only the gold, but restoring the Russian figure skating legacy and reminding everyone of the brilliance and beauty of pair skating.
The Philippines very first figure skating competitor
Only 17-years-old and wearing a donated costume made by a designer in New York, Michael Martinez, took to Olympic ice and inspired many. After almost having to quit the sport due to lack of funds, this skater went from training at a shopping mall to Olympic ice due to the sacrifice of his family and friends. For Michael it was not about a medal, it was about the Olympic spirit and it inspired us all.
Plushenko’s abrupt withdrawal
After coming back to compete in his third Olympic Games, no one was quite sure what condition Evgeni Plushenko was in after having twelve surgeries throughout his career. He surprised everyone in the team event, coming out on top of the rest of the men, but it was not long before his riveting comeback would become a sudden withdrawal. After the warm up in the men’s individual event, it was obvious that Plushenko was in pain and was forced to withdraw.
Evgeny is now scheduled for surgery in March to repair a screw that was reportedly snapped that was upholding a disc in his back. It is reported that the surgery will be broadcasted live. Apparently this Russian superstar will continue to remain in the spotlight regardless if he is competing.
Jeremy Abbott's courageous comeback
It was not the skate he had always dreamed about, but it was a moment we will all certainly not forget. During the men’s short program, Jeremy Abbott opened with a quadruple toe loop and fell on his hip colliding into the boards. He lay on the ice in severe pain for almost 15 seconds and soon with the roar of the crowd behind him, continued to skate. He completed each of his elements and got back in synch with his program, it was an incredible comeback after a disastrous fall.
“I think my personal story is about perseverance and getting up when you fall," Jeremy Abbott told the media, "Maybe I’m not Olympic champion but I can teach the world that.”
Denis Ten snatches the bronze for Kazakhstan
There were quite a few first-ever’s within figure skating at these Olympic Games, and Denis Ten was a part of it, capturing the bronze and winning the first-ever figure skating medal for Kazakhstan. Coming from ninth place after the short program, Ten skated a solid free skate which was enough for him to land on the podium and make history for his nation.
Patrick Chan gives it away
After Yuzuru Hanyu had some obvious errors in his free skate, the door was now open for three-time world champion, Patrick Chan. If there was ever a time for Patrick to step up to the plate, this was it, yet Chan gave it away. He faltered in his free skate, giving the gold to Hanyu and settling for the silver.
Yuzuru Hanyu’s phenomenal short program and gold medal win for Japan
Yuzuru Hanyu’s short program was one for the history books as he scored a new world record. It was absolutely brilliant. There was not a moment that could have been changed or perfected, he skated like a true champion. Despite the errors in his free skate, there is no doubt that Hanyu's short program launched him to Japan’s first Olympic figure skating gold.
Tessa and Scott's farewell
2010 Olympic Champions, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, made it clear that this would be their final season. After going head-to-head with Meryl Davis and Charlie White for years, this was to be their final showdown. Tessa and Scott gave it everything they had, delivering two fantastic performances. As well as they skated it still was not enough to overtake Davis and White, yet what this team brought to the sport will always be remembered.
Davis and White’s gold winning performance
Meryl Davis and Charlie White were ready for this moment. After going undefeated for almost two seasons, this team finally earned the one title they that had yet to capture--Olympic Champions. Davis and White were absolutely breathtaking and gave us all a moment we would never forget as they skated with incredible passion and heart. Winning the very first gold medal in ice dancing for the U.S., this team has a lot to be proud of.
Carolina Kostner brings it home
After three Olympic Games, her time had finally come. Carolina Kostner had her long-awaited dream skate at the Olympics. Skating to Bolero she glided effortlessly across the ice, landing each of her jumps and alluring us all. Carolina won Italy’s first bronze medal in figure skating.
Mao Asada's personal triumph
One of the most incredible stories from the ladies event, had to be Mao Asada's incredible comeback. After having a horrific short program, Mao fought back the criticism, the disappointment and the heartbreak and came out like a true champion. Nailing a triple axel along with a triple-triple combination, she had an extraordinary free skate. Coming all the way from sixteenth place in the short, she finished in sixth--it was truly inspiring.
Adelina overtakes Yuna for the gold
The debate continues if Adelina Sotnikova should have truly dethroned Yuna Kim. If the Olympic Games had not been held on Russian soil, many believe that Adelina would not have won. Yet after an thrilling skate, propelled by the crowd, it was determined that Adelina’s performance was worthy of the gold. She could not have been more enthusiastic as she won Russia’s first-ever gold medal in ladies figure skating.
Ladies scoring controversy
The scoring from the ladies event, continues to be present in the news as it has surfaced that one of the nine judges was suspended for a year for trying to fix an event at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, while another one of the judges is the wife of the former president and current general director of the Russian figure skating federation.
It has been reported that South Korea submitted a protest to the results, but it does not look like any action will be taken at this time.
Sadly controversy and figure skating seemed to be tightly knit together and these Olympic Games were no exception.