Olympic Figure Skating 2014: Analyzing Biggest Storylines from Sochi

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIFebruary 11, 2014

Gracie Gold of the United States competes in the women's team free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip )
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Tuesday kicked off with the individual events of the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi. In the team events, we saw strong skating from numerous countries, as Russia took home the gold medal, Canada earned the silver medal and the United States was awarded the bronze medal.

A mix of fantastic solo skaters and pairs kept every event tantalizing for viewers. All of these athletes have to be in top form for each competition, as the field is full of the best athletes from around the world.

During the individual competition, certain storylines that began during the team events will continue to receive attention as the remaining figure skating competition gets underway. Let's take a closer look at the biggest storylines for the remaining figure skating events in Sochi.


Young Athletes Take Center Stage

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

During the 2014 Olympics, we have been fortunate enough to see the future of figure skating flourish before our very eyes. With huge individual performances from Russia's 15-year-old prodigy Julia Lipnitskaia and 18-year-old Gracie Gold of the United States, the future of this sport looks bright.

The team figure skating events marked the debut of these dazzling youngsters. Lipnitskaia began to display her dominance during the ladies' short program, as she posted a score of 72.90 and earned 10 points for her country.

The ladies' free program followed and Lipnitskaia continued to dazzle the audience. She put together a total segment score of 141.51, as her extreme flexibility and crisp spins were the causes of her first-place finish in the event.

American Gracie Gold was just as impressive in the early goings of the team figure skating events. She did not participate in the short program; however, she did find the ice later on during the ladies' free skating event.

Gold has arguably the most sound technique of all of the figure skaters in this year's Olympic Games. She has fluid lines and generates an enormous amount of momentum during her leaps and spins.

All of that was on display during the team ladies' free skating event, as Gold finished second to Lipnitskaia with a score of 129.38.

Even after Gold's solid performance, she was still mature enough to compliment her competition. She had some kind words for Lipnitskaia during an interview with Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News. Said Gold, "She's dynamite, guys. She's completely unfazed. She has no spine, but she has iron in her bones. She goes 'Ding, ding, ding. I'm not tired.'"

Look for these two young athletes to dazzle viewers of the remaining ladies' figure skating events in Sochi and continue to do so for years to come.


Americans Dominate Ice Dancing Events

Paul Chiasson/Associated Press

The ice dancing pair of Meryl Davis and Charlie White has been the biggest bright spot for Team USA during the early portions of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

After the Americans struggled in the early going of the team events, White and Davis put the team on their shoulders.

With a strong performance in the team ice dance short dance, the duo scored a 75.98—besting their Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir by a full three points. With fluid twizzles and mirror-like precision, the duo astonished crowds in Sochi.

However, Davis and White did not stop there. During the team portion's final event—the team ice dance free dance—the American duo flourished once again, posting a score of 114.34 and dominating the remaining field.

Once again, Team USA got the best of their Canadian counterparts, as they topped Team Canada by almost a full seven points.

Expect White and Davis to continue to put together sound routines and showcase their flawless technique as the Winter Games continue.


Canada Solid Across the Board

Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

Even though Team Canada did not win a single event during the team portion of this year's figure skating extravaganza, they were still able to come away with the silver medal in the competition. This is because Canada is very deep across the board.

Youngster Patrick Chan is one of the names to watch throughout the remaining figure skating events. The 23-year-old prodigy placed third in the team men's short program with a score of 89.71.

In the men's free program, Chan was replaced with Kevin Reynolds, who put together an equally fine performance. Reynolds finished second to only legendary Russian skater Evgeni Plushenko, earning a score of 167.92.

Plushenko explained to CBS News about the difficulty taking the ice for such a large crowd in Sochi. Said the 31-year-old skater, "This games is the hardest for me. All the fans are cheering so hard that you literally cannot do badly because they do everything with you. You get goose bumps."

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were the closest to the dominating Russians during the team pairs short program, as the duo was awarded a 73.10—good enough for second place. They were replaced with Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch in the team pairs free program. Once again, Canada finished in second place behind Russia.

Virtue and Moir finished second to the Americans in both ice dance events, earning a combined 18 points for the team.

Despite their inability to earn a top spot in any of the team events, Canada still came away with the silver medal, as the team's combined efforts earned a total of 65 points—second to Russia's 75 and topping the United States' 60.

With this much talent continuing to take the ice for Canada during the remaining events in the 2014 Olympics, watch for the country's medal count to rise quickly.