Figure Skating Stories to Watch at PyeongChang 2018 | Olympic Winter Games

Pyeongchang 2018 –
the stories to watch. Figure skating. Figure skating
is the most graceful sport at the Winter Olympics, matching elegance
with intense concentration, pinpoint precision with spins,
throws and jumps, all on blades barely
wider than a fingernail. There are five disciplines
in figure skating. The men’s and ladies singles
events consist of both a two minute 50 seconds
short programme and a free skate that lasts up
to four minutes and ten seconds for women and dancers, and 4.5 minutes for men
in pairs, with scores that reward technical elements
and artistry. Unlike the pairs, the dance event features
three programmes. Throws are forbidden
and distance between skaters kept to a minimum. The team event combines
scores from one programme in each of the four events. In Pyeongchang events will
take place in the area’s Coastal Cluster,
in the Gangneung Ice Arena, which will also host
short track speed skating. The venue is very close
to the sea, giving spectacular
aerial shots. One of the showpiece venues, the Ice Arena can
host 12,000 spectators. There is also a second rink
on site. It sits in a very popular
area of Pyeongchang 2018. Which Olympic gold medallist
in figure skating has her star on Hollywood Boulevard? (FIND OUT AT THE END) (YUZURU HANYU, JAPAN) The reigning world and Olympic
champion, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, will be favourite to win gold
again in Pyeongchang. His father named him Yuzuru to
indicate a tight bowstring that symbolises strength, though he has also acquired
a sense of style and grace. In 2016 he played a samurai
lord in the movie Magnificent Nine, but he also
has a fondness for the cuddly character
Winnie the Pooh, and often receives stuffed
Pooh Bears at competitions. Yuzuru’s home rink in his
native city of Sendai was badly damaged
by the tsunami in 2011, and he has raised more than ten
million yen to help rebuild it. (JAVIER FERNANDEZ, SPAIN) Spain’s Javier Fernandez is
a two-time world champion and five-time European champion looking for his first
Olympic medal at age 26. He is Spain’s only male single
skating Olympian since 1956. Javier is a fan of the
Real Madrid football club, and of his countryman tennis
star Rafael Nadal. His parents are a mail carrier
and an army mechanic. At one time or another he has
trained full-time in Canada, the US, Russia and Latvia,
and admits to frequent bouts of homesickness, especially
for his mother’s cooking. His Canadian coach Brian Orser is a two-time Olympic
silver medallist. In the all-time Olympic medal
count for figure skating, in fifth place is Great Britain
with five gold medals. Austria seven gold medals. The Soviet Union next
with ten gold medals. Russia in second place with
a total of 27. On top of the table sits
the United States with 49 total medals,
including 15 golds. (NATHAN CHEN, USA) Nathan Chen became the first
skater in history to land five quadruple jumps
in one programme when he won the US
Championships in 2017. Every single one of
the top six, top ten even, men are really pushing
the limits. Technically, in terms of their
jumps, we’re all throwing four, five quads
out on a long programme, which three years ago was
completely unheard-of, so the men’s in general have taken
huge bounds technically, and that’s kind of
the direction that we’re going right now. The youngest of five children, Nathan also trained in ballet
and gymnastics. He began skating at three after watching his brothers
play ice hockey. He tried his hand at guitar,
piano and violin, and plans to enter
medical school after his skating career. (EVGENIA MEDVEDEVA, RUSSIA) Evgenia is unbeaten in ladies
competition since November 2015 when she finished second at
the Rostelecom Cup in Germany. Since then the Russian
has won two world titles and broken 11 world scoring
records for performances that match skill and style. She often performed jumps with
one hand over her head, a technique pioneered by
Olympic champion Brian Boitano. Evgenia’s mother was also
a figure skater, though she took the surname
of her maternal grandmother. Evgenia is a fan of anime
and a student of languages. (DID YOU KNOW?) When was the first
figure skating event held at the Olympics? Well, that was in London 1908
at the Summer Olympics. Ulrich Salchow
won the gold medal. These days his name is famous due to the jump
MASSOT, GERMANY) Medal contenders
Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot are quite
the international pair. The 33-year-old Savchenko
formally represented her native Ukraine, and Massot
represented his native France. They are both coached
by the great British ice dancer Christopher Dean. Aliona’s father was
a competitive weightlifter. She won five World
Championships with her previous partner Robin Szolkowy,
whose father was from Tanzania. Last year she married Briton
Liam Cross. Bruno’s previous partner,
Daria Popova, was originally from Russia. (TESSA VIRTUE AND SCOTT MOIR,
CANADA) Canadians Tessa Virtue
and Scott Moir are back as favourites
in ice dancing after winning gold and silver medals
at the last two Olympics. Tessa is a psychology major
at the University of Western Ontario. Scott comes from
a skating family. His aunt paired him with Tessa
when he was ten and she was eight. And both have been partners
ever since. Tessa and Scott filmed their
own TV show together while training
for the Sochi Olympics. (GABRIELLA PAPADAKIS
could be the most formidable challengers to the Canadians,
having won world titles in 2015 and 2016 when Virtue and Moir
were not competing. In November they became
the first dance team to amass 200 points, at the Cup of
China competition in Beijing. They have skated together
for 13 years, first teaming up when Guillaume was ten
and Gabriela was nine. Which Olympic gold medallist
in figure skating has her star on
Hollywood Boulevard? Sonia Henie, Norway. The 1928, 1932 and 1936 ladies
singles Olympic champion. (FIGURE SKATING) The glamour event of the Games
begins on opening ceremony day. 12 days will have figure
skating competitions. Day eight will decide the men’s
singles competition. On day 14 the winner of the
ladies singles will be decided, which always brings
huge interest. On the final day of competition
is the gala exhibition. The figure skating at the Games
is always memorable and Pyeongchang 2018
will be no different. The Olympic Winter Games
in Pyeongchang set to begin February 9. Fill your knowledge tank by watching other episodes
on Olympic Channel. (ROAD TO PYEONGCHANG, 2018)

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