US Olympic Figure Skating 2014: Highlighting Each Team in Ice Dancing Events

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US Olympic Figure Skating 2014: Highlighting Each Team in Ice Dancing Events
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Figure skating's deadliest duos will team up in pursuit of winning gold in the Olympic ice dancing competition.

The newly unveiled team events are over in Sochi, but many of the world's best figure skaters don't enter the ice alone.

After exiting the first three medal events with only a bronze to its credit, the United States holds its best chance at scoring gold with the dynamic duo of Meryl Davis and Charlie White performing in the ice dancing short dance and free dance.

Davis and White carried the nation to a bronze finish in team play by scoring 10 points each (the highest amount possible) in the pairs' short dance and free dance. With nobody else holding them back, they now have a golden opportunity to claim their first-place prize.

They're the strongest medal contenders, but two other teams will represent the U.S. in ice dancing. Here's a look at all three duos vying for a podium spot.

 

Ice Dance Short Dance

Date: Sunday, Feb. 16

Time: 10 a.m. ET, 7 p.m. Sochi time and 3 p.m. GMT

TV Broadcast: NBC Sports Network at 10 a.m. ET, NBC at 7 p.m. ET (rebroadcast) and BBC at 3 p.m. GMT

 

Ice Dance Free Dance 

Date: Monday, Feb. 17

Time: 10 a.m. ET, 7 p.m. Sochi time and 3 p.m. GMT  

TV Broadcast: NBC Sports Network at 10 a.m. ET, NBC at 8 p.m. ET (rebroadcast) and BBC at 3 p.m. GMT

Both events are available for live streaming on NBCOlympics.com

 

U.S. Ice Dancing Competitors

Meryl Davis and Charlie White

Davis and White are the ones worth the price of admission.

The two have skated together since 1997, and they are now operating as one finely tuned machine on the ice. They placed second during the 2010 Winter Olympics but have since solidified their dominance with a world championship and two Grand Prix Final titles, which they have now earned in five straight years.

With that track record, they're the easy favorites to win the gold. The New York Daily News' Filip Bondy set the bar incredibly high for the duo.

There is no surer thing at the Olympics than Meryl Davis and Charlie White in ice dance. The Americans are the best in the world at an event in which few mistakes are made and judges rarely change their minds. Bet the house, bet the wife, bet the dog. If Davis and White lose, there's your Miracle on Ice.

They said all the right things about how nothing is ever written in stone, but these lofty expectations put Davis and White in a precarious position. Win, and they did what they were supposed to do. Lose, and it's considered a massive letdown.

Based on their incredible work in the team events, they should make good on bringing the U.S. some gold.

 

Alex Shibutani and Maia Shibutani

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

How can anyone top Davis and White's impeccable chemistry on the ice? How about a blood connection?

Siblings Alex and Maia Shibutani have blossomed into a young team on the rise, and they now have a chance to make some major noise in Sochi.

The "Shib Sibs" have quietly made a name for themselves under the shadows of Davis and White. They have earned top-10 finishes in each of the last three World Championships and Four Continents Championships, highlighted by a second-place showing during the 2011 Four Continents.

Alex, 22, and Maia, 19, are staying loose before the big day by soaking in the festivities and maintaining an active social media presence. 

A top-three finish is a lot to ask from the Shib Sibs, but don't completely rule out the possibility.

 

Madison Chock and Evan Bates

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

A relatively new pairing, Madison Chock and Evan Bates are the United States' ice dancing wild cards.

Although Bates and Chock have never skated together in the Olympics, this is not Bates' first endeavor into Olympic play. He finished 11th during the 2010 Vancouver Games with Emily Samuelson, but he suffered a lacerated left Achilles’ tendon later that year after getting inadvertently hit by Samuelson's blade.

The pair went their separate ways, but the injury gave Bates a new outlook on his athletic livelihood. He told The Boston Globe's Shira Springer:

Definitely the injury I sustained in 2010 was difficult to overcome. Things have changed quite a bit in my skating career since then, but my experience with that has given me a great respect [for being able to skate]. I’m very grateful.

As an athlete it’s easy to take things for granted, the opportunities we have. But once your health is taken away, you really feel it.

Bates, 24, has experienced more success with 21-year-old Chock. In 2013, they placed seventh in the World Championships and third in the Four Continents. They earned a spot in Sochi after finishing second in the 2014 U.S. Nationals behind Davis and White.

There's little pressure on them due to Davis and White getting all the attention, so they're a dangerous pair with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

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