Yohomo’s guide to figure skating at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games
February is typically the month that we Canadians rely heavily on vitamin D lamps, warm baths, takeout, and wine to push through winter’s most brutal month. Luckily, this year we have the Winter Olympic Games from PyeongChang, South Korea, as a nice distraction from those 5 p.m. sunsets. The Olympic drama is all about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat; there is nothing quite like watching athletes achieve their lifelong goals on the world’s greatest sport stage.
The marquee event of the Winter Olympics is figure skating. Quads, twizzles, axels, and lutzes – the glitz and glamour of figure skating have provided some of the most memorable Olympic moments of all time. Who could ever forget Tonya and Nancy, the French judging scandal of 2002, or Surya Bonaly’s iconic backflip-as-middle-finger-to-the-judges in ’98?
Let me break down this year’s competition for you with some medal predictions for your office pool or cheat sheet. PyeongChang will also be the most LGBTQ-inclusive Olympics on record, with eight out athletes competing.
Men - Feb 15, 16 at 8pm EST
Gold: Nathan Chen USA
Silver: Yuzuru Hanyu JPN
Bronze: Shoma Uno JPN
Local connection: Reigning Olympic and World champ Yuzuru Hanyu and two-time World champ Javier Fernández train at the Toronto Cricket Club.
LGBT connection: In the men’s competition, look out for Adam Rippon, the first out American figure skater to compete at an Olympics. He’s the most quotable athlete in PyeongChang. He’s the figure skating equivalent of a Drag Race sound bite. He’s already made news for taking homophobic VP Mike Pence to task and has had to dispel rumours of having a fake ass. He’s a great skater too
Women - Feb 20, 22 at 8pm EST
Gold: Alina Zagitova | OAR (Olympic Athlete From Russia)
Silver: Evgenia Medvedeva | OAR
Bronze: Kaori Sakamoto | JPN
LGBTQ connection: Figure skating’s greatest LGBTQ ally, Ashley Wagner, who spoke out vehemently against the anti-LGBTQ propaganda laws at the Sochi Olympics sadly did not qualify for these Games. In the DIVA department, keep an eye out for Italy’s Carolina Kostner, who is competing in her fourth Olympics.
Local connection: Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman, who has an outside shot at a medal, was born and raised in Toronto.
Pairs - Feb. 13, 14 at 8pm EST
Gold: Aljona Savchenko & Bruno Massot | GER
Silver: Wenjing Sui & Cong Han | CHN
Bronze: Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford | CAN
LGBT connection: Eric Radford, a two-time World champion, came out in 2014 after the Sochi Olympics, becoming the first still-competing international figure skater to do so. He and partner Meagan Duhamel take on Adele’s Hometown Glory for their free-skate performance.
Dance - Feb 18, 19 at 8pm EST
Gold: Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron | FRA
Silver: Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir | CAN
Bronze: Maia Shibutani &Alex Shibutani | USA
Local connection: 2010 gold medalists Virtue and Moir hail from London, Ontario, and tiny Ilderton, Ontario.
A few important things to keep in mind when watching figure skating from PyeongChang:
- All skating events will take place in the morning Korean time, which means they will air live in prime time in North America.
- Russia as a country has been banned from competing in PyeongChang for doping. However, cleared Russian athletes may compete under the Olympic flag as Olympic Athletes from Russia.
- There will be a team event prior to the individual events in which Canada, the US, and Olympic Athletes from Russia are highly favoured to win the medals.
- Canada has the largest team overall, with two men, three women, three pairs teams, and three dance teams competing.
- If you’re looking for the most fabulous, well-dressed, and entertaining skating commentary during the Games, watch NBC’s duo of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski.
- Also, for the record: male figure-skating butts are the best.