The sport of figure skating is always one of the most anticipated and elegant events in the Winter Olympics, and with the contingent heading to Sochi from the U.S., the hopes are certainly high.
Several huge names have emerged in the figure skating world in the past, with the Winter Olympics stage being the biggest stage of them all.
Names like Gracie Gold and Jeremy Abbott from the U.S. will face off against stiff competition in South Korea's Yuna Kim and Canada's Patrick Chan, making for interesting clashes to watch on both sides of the figure skating competition.
With all of this taken into account, here is all the information fans of the sport need to know before the competition officially begins in Sochi, followed by a breakdown of favorites to win in different events.
Winter Olympics Information
What: 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia
Where: Fisht Olympic Stadium
Opening Ceremony: Feb. 7, 12:14 p.m. (ET)
Closing Ceremony: Feb. 23
|Complete Olympic Figure Skating Schedule|
|Team Short Dance||Feb. 8||9:30 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Ladies' Short Program||Feb. 8||11 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Team Event||Feb. 8||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Team Event, Ladies'/Men's Free Skate||Feb. 9||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Team Event||Feb. 9||2 p.m.||NBC|
|Team Event||Feb. 9||7 p.m.||NBC|
|Pairs Short Program||Feb. 11||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Pairs Short Program||Feb. 11||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Pairs Free Skate||Feb. 12||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Pairs Free Skate||Feb. 12||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Men's Short Program||Feb. 13||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Men's Short Program||Feb. 13||11:45 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Men's Short Program||Feb. 13||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Men's Free Skate||Feb. 14||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Men's Free Skate||Feb. 14||12 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Men's Free Skate||Feb. 14||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Short Dance||Feb. 16||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Short Dance||Feb. 16||7 p.m.||NBC|
|Free Dance||Feb. 17||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Free Dance||Feb. 17||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Ladies' Short Program||Feb. 19||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Ladies' Short Program||Feb. 19||11:45 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Ladies' Short Program||Feb. 19||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Ladies' Free Skate||Feb. 20||10 a.m.||NBCSN|
|Ladies' Free Skate||Feb. 20||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Gala||Feb. 22||12:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Gala||Feb. 22||8 p.m.||NBC|
Complete Guide to Figure Skating in Sochi
Men's Figure Skating
While the U.S. contingent is hopeful to pull out a gold in the men's side of the competition, the top contenders in this side of the tournament are from other countries.
Chan of Canada is the first in line for Olympic hopefuls, but the Canadian has never medaled in the Olympics despite a fifth-place finish in Vancouver in 2010.
Along with Chan, Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan and Denis Ten of Kazakhstan are dominant performers hoping to steal the gold away. While Ten recently finished behind Chan in the 2013 World Championships, Hanyu proved he can take down the Canadian at the Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka.
Following the win, Hanyu spoke about the confidence he gained from his skating in the competition, according to The Associated Press:
I wasn't completely satisfied with the long program. But after falling on the quad I was able to pull myself together and complete all my jumps and that was huge.
It was a good day and I'm happy with how I skated. I felt nervous going into the long program. It was a mental battle even before I got on the ice. ... I am feeling pretty confident.
For the U.S., the figure skater to watch will be Jason Brown. The 19-year-old was thrust into stardom following his performance at the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and certainly has a chance to compete on the world's biggest stage for figure skating.
With Abbott likely competing in his last Olympics, he could be a competitive force for the Americans, but the likelihood of him winning is still quite slim behind Hanyu, Chan and Ten.
Women's Figure Skating
On the women's side, the young Gracie Gold looks like another dark horse to compete on the world's biggest stage. After coming in as an underdog in the 2014 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Gold could once again pull off another upset in the Sochi Olympics.
Gold has been put on a pedestal over the last month after winning the competition and also earned a huge endorsement from a fellow breakout star. Sarah Hughes spoke about the fact that she'll be cheering Gold on, per The Today Show.
"She's fabulous. I'm rooting for her. She's such an exciting skater," Hughes said. "...She does these phenomenal jumps and triple-triples and she sparkles."
But Gold has stiff competition competing for the gold medal. With Ashley Wagner hoping to exceed expectations after a rough performance in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, she could very well contend with Gold.
The most likely candidates for a gold medal for the women's side are Japan's Mao Asada, Russia's Julia Lipnitskaia and overall favorite and 2010 gold medalist Kim.
As for the person who draws the most star power, Kim is clearly a cherished star in South Korea, as evidenced by this post from Kim's official Facebook account:
With several women battling it out for the gold medal and several Americans simply hoping to stand on the stage at the end of the competition, the women's side of the event will be interesting to watch.
Here is the competition Americans will want to watch to see a gold medal brought home.
The duo of Meryl Davis and Charlie White has been dominant in the ice dancing world for years now, but they will look to exact some revenge during the 2014 Winter Olympics after finishing with a silver in 2010 in Vancouver.
Unfortunately, being a sure thing in the Olympics can bring a lot of added pressure for athletes. Though the pressure could very well be mounting, White knows the pair won't be fazed, according to Quinn Klinefelter of NPR.org.
"We've had a career where we've really lived in the moment," White says. "It hasn't mattered in the past how big the moment is. You know, we always kind of have the same approach."
But right on Davis and White's heels again is the duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir from Canada, who stole the gold from them in 2010 and will once again be in Sochi competing.
With Davis and White hoping to live up to the hype on the big stage of the Olympics for the Americans, watching the duo during their hopefully triumphant moment will be special to see.
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