Since 2010, each discipline in the Winter Olympic program has undergone significant change. With less than one year to go until the 2014 Games, I’ll be taking a look at what to expect from Canada and the rest of the world in Sochi. Today I take a look at figure skating.
What happened in 2010?: Canada only won two medals but inspired a nation. Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won Olympic Gold in Ice Dance competition, overcoming a collapse by the Russian pair. Joannie Rochette won an emotionally charged Bronze medal. After tragically losing her mother days before competition, Rochette competed and set a personal best.
What has changed?: Much has changed to the sport of figure skating. The Bronze medal victory for the German duo of Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy in 2010 was the first for the nation since 1998. The years of Russian domination appear to be over as they have not won a Gold medal at the World Championships since 2009 and face a drought for Olympic Golds that goes back to 2006.
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What Canadians should I watch?: Patrick Chan finished seventh in his first Olympics. Chan is now the two-time defending World Champion heading into the 2013 Worlds, held in London, Ontario in just a few weeks. Qualifying for Sochi should be a formality for Chan. In the pair’s competition, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford will be serious contenders for the podium. The pair has won two-straight Canadian Championships and recently won the 2013 Four Continents title in Japan.
Who could spoil the show?: Italy isn’t known as a power in figure skating but Carolina Kostner is looking to change that. The Italian finished 16th in Vancouver but is still making a name for herself. She is the two-time defending European Champion, defending World Champion and a clear threat in Sochi. On the Men’s side, Brian Joubert of France has won a medal of every colour at the European Championships and World Championships. Just like Kostner, he finished 16th in Vancouver and will be looking to bring France their first figure skating Olympic medal since 2002.