Top Contenders in Figure Skating for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games


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MISSISSAUGA, CANADA - OCTOBER 28: Evgenia Medvedeva of Russia competes in the Ladies Short Program during the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Skate Canada International at Hershey Centre on October 28, 2016 in Mississauga, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley - ISU/ISU via Getty Images)

Tracy Wang

As anticipation and fierce competition to claim the gold medal builds up towards the 2018 Winter Olympics, athletes are busy perfecting every rotation, elevation, and extension of their spins, jumps, and moves elements. Preparing their short and long programs with increasing difficulty on the playing field, the standards are set higher by world record holders and possible contenders.

After four years of excitement towards the competitors in this Olympic season, new athletes have risen to the occasion and demonstrated their abilities to win the event. Athletes in mens, such as Yuzuru Hanyu (22) of Japan who claimed the gold medal in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, will be in the spotlight as questions arise for his possible second reign to the top of the podium. Currently, his standing appears to be stable while he continues to score higher than his personal best, setting multiple world records. Racing for a spot on the podium, Shoma Uno (19) of Japan proved to score massive points recently at the ISU Grand Prix of Skate Canada with a beautifully executed total of 301.10. Other skaters will certainly have to be on the lookout for this youngster. Coming from the United States, Nathan Chen (18) proved that age is not limiting factor to his performance by placing gold at the ISU Grand Prix of the Rostelecom Cup and beating Hanyu. This headline maker has been captured completing quad-rotation jumps with ease and earning significant scores by the judges.

For the ladies, Evegenia Medvedeva (17) of Russia is capturing the audience and certainly, the judges’ attention with her grace and precision in technique. Although slight in figure, her encapsulating emotions are enough to draw the crowd’s eyes into her program by flawlessly executing the jumps and spins. Scoring a total of 231.21 in the recent Rostelecom Cup, she has been placed in the running for the podium at the Olympics. Shortly behind Medvedeva would be Carolina Kostner (30) of Italy, the previous Sochi Olympic bronze medalist. Although struggling with consistency throughout her figure skating career, she scored a clean 215.96 at the Rostelecom Cup. Once again, proving her resiliency and ability to perform outstanding programs. Coming from the United States, Ashley Wagner (26) scores several standings lower than the European ladies; however, she always keeps the audience on the edge of their seats as she performs expressive programs with stimulating musical melodies.

In the pairs category, all eyes are on the new and rising duo of Evegenia Tarasova (22) and Vladimir Morozov (25) from Russia, as they advance into the final preparation stages of their programs, making sure everything is in unison. The rotations, placement of the arms, direction of movement, and other factors all have to be in unison. Their recent scoring of 224.25 in the Rostelecom Cup further confirms the speculations regarding the magnificence of this pair.

For dance, the sensational Shibutani Siblings are receiving all of the judges’ attention following their fellow American competitors, Meryl Davis and Charlie White. After these first American gold medalist claimed their spots at the Sochi Olympics, the twins have not trained less rigorous than before. Debuting their program earlier this season, they looked stronger and more consistent than ever. As Maia (23) and Alex (26) Shibutani enter into more world-stage competitions, they will deliver a more confident program after their 189.24 score at the Rostelecom Cup.

With all four categories and competitors from all different regions strive to perfect and increase the difficulty of their performances, all wish to deliver a clean skate at the upcoming 2018 Olympics. With only less than a week’s time left for the upcoming ISU Grand Prix Skate America event, more of the athletes’ performances will be revealed.