Women's Figure Skating 2022: Predictions for Women's Free Skate Team Final

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IIFebruary 6, 2022

Anna Shcherbakova of Russia performs during the women's free skating competition of the ISU European Figure Skating Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Raul Mee)
Raul Mee/Associated Press

On Thursday, the United States jumped out to an early lead in the figure skating team competition at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. But by the time Saturday was over, the Americans had fallen to second, as the Russian Olympic Committee took over the top spot.

With five events complete in the team competition, there are only three still to take place, all of which will happen Sunday night (Monday morning in Beijing). The Russian Olympic Committee, which holds a 45-42 lead over the U.S., will look to secure the gold with strong performances in pairs free skate, free dance and women's free skate.

Five teams that advanced to the third and final day of the figure skating team competition: the Russian Olympic Committee (45 points), the United States (42), Japan (39), Canada (30) and China (29).

The team competition will end with the women's free skate, which will be the second women's figure skating event of the Winter Games. On Saturday, 15-year-old Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee finished first in the women's short program.

Here's the remaining schedule for the figure skating team competition, along with a closer look at the women's free skate competition that will take place Sunday night (Monday morning in Beijing).


Sunday Figure Skating Schedule

Team Event: Pairs Free Skate, 8:15 p.m. ET

Team Event: Free Dance, 9:30 p.m. ET

Team Event: Women's Free Skate, 10:35 p.m. ET

Watch live on NBC or stream live on Peacock and NBCOlympics.com.


Women's Free Skate Preview, Predictions

The women's free skate competition Sunday is part of the team event, not the individual event. So not all of the top skaters will be competing, as each of the remaining teams will send only one woman to the ice, and it's likely to be somebody who didn't participate in Saturday's short program.

Kamila Valieva of the Russian Olympic Committee arrived in Beijing as the favorite to win the women's gold medal. And if her impressive performance in Saturday's short program was any indication, she seems a shoo-in to be crowned the Olympic champion.

On Sunday, though, the Russian Olympic Committee is likely to send another woman to the ice to conclude the team event, giving another one of their skaters a chance to get in a performance. It's possible the ROC will have already secured the team gold medal by that point depending on its performances in the pairs free skate and free dance.

The other two Russian female figure skaters competing are Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova. The pair of 17-year-olds are likely going to fare well in the individual event, and whoever takes the ice for Sunday's women's free skate will have a strong chance of finishing first.

Valieva did her part in trying to help the Russian Olympic Committee capture team gold. She had a score of 90.18 in the women's short program, while no other competitor had a score better than 74.73.

"I'm obviously happy that we're in the lead at the moment, and I hope that continues in the free skate as well," Valieva said, per Dave Skretta of the Associated Press.

Before the women's free skate, the United States will be looking to prevent the Russian Olympic Committee from pulling away in the standings in the pairs free skate and free dance. If the U.S. still has an opportunity to win gold by the time the women's free skate arrives, it will need a stronger showing than it had in Saturday's women's short program.

Karen Chen competed for the United States in the women's short program, placing fifth with a score of 65.2. Of the first five team events, that's the only one in which an American didn't finish third or better.

It seems either Mariah Bell (the 2022 U.S. women's national champion) or Alysa Liu will perform for the United States in the women's free skate. They are both talented skaters who have the potential to cap off the team competition in strong fashion for the U.S.

However, will it be enough for the United States to overtake the Russian Olympic Committee?

The prediction here is that the United States will come up just short and end up with the silver. Either Shcherbakova or Trusova will place in first in the women's free skate, which will allow the Russians to hold off the Americans and win the gold in the figure skating team competition.

Prediction: Russian Olympic Committee wins women's free skate and captures team gold.