The United States figure skating team is off to a tough start at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
After a disappointing performance from Jeremy Abbott in the men's short program on opening day, Team USA finds itself with plenty of ground to make up as the competition wears on.
The talented pairs unit of Simon Shnapir and Marissa Castelli was able to record a top-five finish in the pairs short program, but a deduction following a slight mishap from Castelli cost the tandem in its final score.
With several more events to go, there'll be plenty more opportunities for American competitors to shine. Below, I'll predict how Team USA's top figure skating teams will fare in Sochi this February.
|2014 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Schedule|
|DATE||EVENT||START TIME||TV (U.S.)||TV (U.K.)|
|Thurs., Feb. 06||Team: Men's SP, Pairs SP||7:30 p.m. MSK, 10:30 a.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Sat., Feb. 08||Team: Ice SP, Ladies' SP, Pairs FP||6:30 p.m. MSK, 9:30 a.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Sun., Feb. 09||Team: Men's FP, Ladies' FP, Ice FP||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Wed., Feb. 12||Pairs FP||7:45 p.m. MSK, 10:45 a.m. ET, 3:45 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Thurs., Feb. 13||Men's SP||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Fri., Feb. 14||Men's FP||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Sun., Feb. 16||Ice SD||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Wed., Feb. 19||Ladies' SP||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Thurs., Feb. 20||Ladies' FP||7 p.m. MSK, 10 a.m. ET, 3 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
|Sat., Feb. 22||Gala Exhibition||8:30 p.m. MSK, 11:30 a.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. GMT||NBC, NBCSN||BBC Two|
Meryl Davis and Charlie White
2010 Olympic silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White promise to be formidable this winter in Sochi. The ice dancers are coming off their record sixth U.S. championship in Boston in January and have the Olympic experience other teams lack.
White points out their ability to live in the moment as one of the biggest reasons for their constant success, per MLive.com's Kyle Austin:
We’ve had a career where we’ve really lived in the moment. It’s helped define our skating and practice, and I think it’s really become just a second nature. So, really, it hasn’t mattered in the past how big the moment is, we always have the same approach, and I think that’s what’s helped us be so successful.
Davis and White are in their late 20s and grew up together in Michigan, skating together since they were kids. The chemistry formed over two decades has made them into one of the world's elite ice dancing teams and will have them in the hunt for hardware in Sochi.
Expect another brilliant finish from this duo.
Prediction: Ice Dancing, Gold
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir
The prolific pairs tandem of Simon Shnapir and Marissa Castelli represent one of Team USA's top shots at claiming gold in Sochi.
Shnapir, who was born in Russia and now resides in the United States, has been skating with Castelli for years, and the two boast a chemistry that's sure to propel them this winter. National championship victories in 2013 and 2014 have the duo entering the 2014 Games with lofty expectations, but given their consistency and confidence level, they are more than capable of living up to them and landing on the podium.
If there's anything that could hold them back, it's their lack of experience on a stage as massive as the Winter Olympics.
Shnapir and Castelli posted the fifth-best score in the team pairs short program on opening day but will look to rebound in the pairs long program.
Prediction: Pairs Long Program, Silver
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