The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics came to a close on Sunday, February 20, 2022 after an exciting two plus weeks of intense competition. One of the most popular sports for people to watch is figure skating, which includes five different events. These five competitions include: men’s single skating, women’s single skating, ice dance, partner skating, and a team event. Team USA has previously been very successful in figure skating and has won 51 medals overall. Ice skating is also one of the oldest competitive sports in the Winter Olympics program.
To qualify for Olympic figure skating you need to pass the skater qualification and the country qualification. These skaters have been training nonstop for this; they endure on and off ice conditioning every day for years to get to their level. One of America’s best skaters, Nathan Chen, won the gold medal in men’s free skate. He earned the highest score of the competition. Unfortunately, though, he will not be competing in the World Figure Skating Championships because of an injury. There were also a couple other high scores that were set this year. Sui Wenjing and Han Cong from China set a high score in pairs with 82.83 points, and France’s Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron set a high score in the ice dance competition with 90.83 points. There are nine judges who grade the skaters on their spins, jumps, footwork, sequences, and overall execution and performance. They also have strict rules for outfits, where, if any part of the costume falls off during the performance, the judges can deduct points. It is good if they have a creative costume that compliments their music and performance well.
There was also a scandal this year involving 15-year-old Kamila Valieva who was skating for Russia in women’s single skating. She helped the team win a gold medal in the team event, but ended up testing positive on a drug test. The drug was trimetazidine which is a heart medication. She ended up being cleared and was still able to compete, but this caused a lot of talk from the rest of the world.
The International Olympic Committee did say that if Kamila were to place on the podium for women’s singles that they wait to hold the medals ceremony until her case was completely resolved. In a tremendous upset, favorite Valieva ended up placing only in fourth, so they still did the ceremony. Reactions to the scores were tumultuous. Valieva was miserable about getting second place and said she was “empty inside.” She threw a fit about not winning and had everyone comfort her. After Valieva messed up her coach really only had critical things to say to her. She had a pretty rough olympic season and her future in ice skating is uncertain.
In the recent World Figure Skating Championships held in late March, Japan’s Shoma Uno and Yuma Kagiyama took gold and silver medals for the men, while Vincent Zhou placed third. For women, Kaori Sakamoto took gold, Loena Hendrickx of Belgium took silver and Alysa Liu took bronze for USA. We will have to see who comes out on top in four years at the next Winter Olympics.