In an Olympic rarity, the 2022 figure skating competition kicks off before the Opening Ceremony with the start of the three-day team event on Thursday night U.S. time.
Nathan Chen stars for Team USA as its sole entry for the men’s short program component at 8:55 p.m. ET, followed by ice dancers Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue in the rhythm dance at 10:35 p.m. ET and pairs team Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier in the pairs short program at 12:15 a.m. ET.
Chen enters as an Olympic medal favorite in not only the men’s singles competition but the team event as well. The three-time reigning world champion is in the team event short program for the second time, but has much higher hopes after flubbing his Olympic debut performance at the PyeongChang 2018 Games. Chen was fourth of the 10 men’s skaters after mistakes, including a fall on his triple axel, cost him in Korea.
The U.S. earned bronze then but enters the 2022 Games with a shot at the silver medal. The other podium contenders include the Russian Olympic Committee, which could include reigning world champions in three of figure skating’s four disciplines, and Japan.
Men’s Short Program
With the start order for each discipline in the team event based on world standings, Germany’s Paul Fentz started the competition. The German team is competing without its pairs entry of Minerva Hase and Nolan Seegert after Seegert tested positive for COVID once in Beijing.
Fentz earned 68.84 points in what will be his only Olympic performance here. Germany did not qualify a men’s skater, but was granted a men’s spot for the team event only based on the country’s overall ranking and it having an entry for the remaining three disciplines.
Canadian Roman Sadovsky tops Fentz with 71.06 points. Canada won the 2018 Olympic team event gold medal, but has not factored into medal conversations for these Games, due to the retirement of two-time Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, 2014 Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan and 2018 Olympic pairs bronze medalists Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford.
At his fourth Olympics, 31-year-old Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic moves into first with a score of 76.77 points. Brezina trains in at Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena in Irvine, California, with Chen and their coach Rafael Arutunian.
China’s Jin Boyang, who was fourth in men’s singles in PyeongChang, falls on his quad toe but still easily earns the highest score so far with 82.87 points.
9:30 p.m. ET: Final group warming up, which includes (in order) Mark Kondratiuk (ROC), Shoma Uno (JPN), Morisi Kvitelashvili (GEO), Chen (USA) and Daniel Grassl (ITA).