A certain writer who has written about figure skating since the early 1960s told me once that she used to have all her articles written in advance. She told me that the previous three years leading up to each US National Championships set the stage for the Nationals that served as the Olympic qualifier and who would compete for the USA at the Olympics almost was already decided. You see, once, all that not long ago, figure skating was predictable, so she could prepare articles in advance since she pretty much knew who would be the Olympic competitors. That was during the days of the old 6.0 figure skating judging system, but the IJS figure skating judging system, changed what was predictable to unpredictable.
So…who will represent the United States at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games is not set in stone, but it also has been announced that for this upcoming Olympics that the figure skaters in Team USA will not be chosen based only on what happens during the championship events at the upcoming 2018 US Championships. That means that if Skater A skates great at “Nationals” and places in the top three and if Skater B has a bad skate and does not place, that Skater B could be chosen for Team USA and Skater A could end up being an alternate based on the fact that Skater A did not have a good Grand Prix of Figure Skating season.
Based on this line of thinking that also means that there is no way to predict for sure who will be on the 2018 US Olympic Figure Skating Team, but here’s what I think may happen:
Ice Dance is more predictable than any other figure skating discipline, so I predict the ice dancers that will represent the USA in PyeongChang, South Korea will be Maia and Alex Shibutani, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue. All three teams qualified for the 2017 Grand Prix Final and placed in the 2017 US Championships. It just seems obvious that those three teams will be USA’s Olympic ice dancers. Well, for sure the Shibutanis will be competing since they’ve had such a good 2017.
The United States will only be sending one pair team based on the results of the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships. Based on their performances in 2017, I predict Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, the 2015 U.S. National Pairs Champions and 3-time World Championship competitors, will represent the USA in PyeongChang. I wish so much that Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier, who won the 2017 US pairs title could also be there, but based on their performance at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships, it is doubtful that they will be considered.
Nathan Chen who won the US Men’s title in 2017 and won the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final just keeps landing multiple quadruple jumps in his short program, so even though he seems to not skate a consistent freeskate, I am fairly certain will be on the 2018 Olympic Team. I can’t predict for sure who the other two men will be, but I hope to see 2014 Olympian and 2015 US Men’s Champion Jason Brown in PyeongChang. Jason is so fun to watch because the pure joy of skating shows when he performs. The thing is he just doesn’t have a lot of quads. I also hope that Max Aaron, who won the US Men’s title in 2013 makes the team. Max has the quads, but….Adam Rippon has the artistry and is so good! I wish the US could send four men…
The ladies from the USA that will qualify for the 2018 Olympics are more difficult to predict. Until 2014 Olympian and World Silver Medalist and three-time US champion Ashley Wagner stopped in the middle of her free skate at 2017 Skate America, I thought she’d be at the 2018 Olympics for sure. 2017 world competitors Karen Chen and Mariah Bell have not had the best 2017 and 2014 Olympian Gracie Gold is gone. Will the US include newcomer Bradie Tennell who won bronze at 2017 Skate America at this upcoming Olympic games? 2010 Olympian and US Champion Mirai Nagasu got “bumped” from the 2014 US Olympic Team, but she’s done fairly well in 2017, so if she skates well at 2018 “Nationals,” there is a good possibility she’ll be in PyeongChang.
What are your predictions? Are you excited? I am! It’s just so fun to watch history being made every four years!
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