US Olympic Figure Skating 2022: Updated Primetime Schedule and Predictions
On the back of another masterful performance by Nathan Chen, the United States enters Saturday's figure skating competition with the lead, a medal in the Team Event within reach.
Unfortunately for them, the Russian Olympic Committee is hot on its heels, with arguably its best skater set to take the ice in Beijing and the possibility that Chen does not participate in the Men's Free Skate program.
Who is the young phenom fueling the ROC's Women's Figure Skating team and who might step in to perform is Chen is held out, the focus instead on his Men's Singles program just two days later?
Find out with this preview of Saturday's action and a look at the remaining Olympic figure skating schedule.
Olympic Figure Skating Schedule
Saturday, February 5
Team Event: Women's Short Program (8:30 p.m.)
Team Event: Men's Free Skate (10:50 p.m.)
Sunday, February 6
Team Event: Pairs' Free Skate (8:15 p.m.)
Team Event: Free Dance (9:30 p.m.)
Team Event: Women's Free Skate (10:35 p.m.)
Monday, February 7
Men's Short Program (8:15 p.m.)
Wednesday, February 9
Men's Free Skate (8:30 p.m.)
Saturday, February 12
Rhythm Dance (6:00 a.m.)
Sunday, February 13
Free Dance (8:15 p.m.)
Tuesday, February 15
Women's Short Program (5:00 a.m.)
Thursday, February 17
Women's Free Skate (5:00 a.m.)
Friday, February 18
Pairs' Short Program (5:30 a.m.)
Saturday, February 19
Pairs' Free Skate (6:00 a.m.)
Gala (11:00 p.m.)
Team Event: Women's Short Program
For the United States to hold its lead in the team event, Karen Chen will have to have the skate of her life as part of the Women's Short Program.
Sure, she could settle for steady and keep things relatively close for the Americans in the heated competition but with 15-year-old phenom Lamila Valieva looking to deliver 10 points for the ROC, she may have to be the most outstanding she has ever been.
Valieva broke the short program world record in January at the European Championships with a score of 90.45 and is considered the women's skater to watch at these games. Utilizing quad jumps to her advantage, she has been nearly impossible to beat.
Fellow countrywomen Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova are expected to sweep the women's singles medals, a feat of utter dominance.
"I'm glad I don't have to compete against them," men's favorite Nathan Chen told Reuters. "They're doing spectacular things."
It will take the spectacular from Chen to overcome Valieva, who should have the ROC in a position to surpass the United States in the team event by the end of the evening.
Prediction: Valieva finishes first
Team Event: Men's Free Skate
All eyes will be on Nathan Chen and whether or not he skates in the men's free skate program.
Because he skates in men's singles beginning Monday, the United States has the opportunity to skate either Jason Brown or Vincent Zhou, per Brandon Penny of NBCOlympics.com.
If Chen skates Saturday, he is the obvious favorite.
He has been the best men's figure skater in the world since his dismal finish in the 2018 Olympic games and, while he insists that he does not judge his own legacy based on whether or not he medals at the event, he will relish every opportunity he gets to put the previous Olympic performance out of mind.
If Chen does not skate, Mark Kondratiuk of the Russian Olympic Committee should be a favorite to help fuel his country to an overall medal in the team event. The ROC, with a stacked roster of skaters
Do not be surprised if Japan's Shoma Uno seizes the spotlight and delivers one of the better free skates of the game. A 2018 Olympian, he has been on this stage before and is key in his country's pursuit of its first team event medal.
Prediction: Chen finishes first