Figure skating, by far the largest grouping of events in the Winter Olympics, has taken center stage in Sochi. The 2014 Winter Games have featured stellar performances in a plethora of different figure skating events, and the action will be coming to a close in the near future.
But, before figure skating sees its end, the ice dancing event will take place. Sunday, Feb. 16 will be the short dance portion of the event, and the following day will see skaters compete in the free dance portion. Then, the medal ceremony will take place.
The pairs competing are all exceptionally talented, but there are three that particularly stand out. They'll surely find their way to the podium. Here's how they'll stack up.
Gold: Meryl Davis and Charlie White, USA
The United States has performed well in figure skating, in large part because of the efforts of Meryl Davis and Charlie White. The pair posted the top scores in both short and free dances during the world championships, leading to their victory at the event.
They are considered the favorites for a reason, but White does not want to acknowledge it. Via Filip Bondy of the New York Daily News:
“There’s no shoe-in, nothing like that. It’s a real competition and that’s the way we like it. The new scoring system made it very competitive. Anyone can rise to the top. You have to skate great if you want to win.”
White and Davis aren't letting the odds get to them. By focusing and not putting the pressure on themselves as favorites, expect the pair to win gold—and it won't even be close.
The fact that they took home the silver medal in this event in Vancouver in 2010 should serve as even more fuel in the fire. As motivated, experienced Olympians, this is a scary duo to compete against.
Silver: Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, France
France took fourth place in the team figure skating short dance event, and expect the ice dancing duo of Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat to come out strong in an attempt to make the podium.
Will their final Olympics end with a medal?
While the United States is the clear favorite to win gold, it's going to be a fight for the silver medal. With that being the case, it's hard to pick against the pair with the most chemistry in the Olympics.
The two have been skating together for nearly 15 years. This will also be their final Olympics. The resulting motivation should be more than enough to inspire one of their best runs. A seventh-place finish in 2010 at Vancouver will also work to inspire their attempt at a medal this year.
Expect this to be the most emotional performance of the entire event. There's a ton on the line for this pair, and winning a medal would be the perfect ending to a lengthy career together.
Bronze: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada
Canada's Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir share a coach and a training facility with the United States, so the competition for bragging rights (and medals, of course) will be fierce.
Virtue and Moir dominated Vancouver, taking home the gold medal and setting themselves up as top contenders for the gold yet again in Sochi. The two were unhappy with their performance in the team event, and they recognize that things need to change for the ice dancing event.
Virtue said, per Grant Robertson of The Globe and Mail, that she's ready to look ahead to the event: "Already we’re thinking about next week and how we can improve on our score."
This determination will be key for the Canadians in their hunt for the podium. I wouldn't be shocked if they took home the silver medal, but bronze appears to be where the pair is headed.