French and Japan : From 4 to 20 February, the 2022 Olympic Games will take place in Beijing, where one of the most intriguing events will be the team figure skating tournament. The Russian national team has a strong line-up as never before, capable of winning the second-ever gold medals of the Games. MK-Sport will tell you why France and Japan are not our competitors.
The team tournament in Beijing is one of the most anticipated events of the upcoming figure skating competitions at the Olympics, in order to understand why Russia claims only to win, let us recall the format of the Olympic commander.
The 2022 Olympics will be the third in a row in which figure skaters will compete in teams. The Russian national team in 2014 at the home Olympics took second place, losing to the Canadian team. Four years ago in Pyeongchang, the Russians took revenge on the Canadians, and the USA team has always been in the top three.
As in individual tournaments, skaters present their short and random numbers in the team competition. The places occupied by them are converted into points, according to the sum of which the winner is determined – 10 points for the first place, 9 points for the second, and so on. The national teams can make up to two substitutions between the short and free program: for example, in Pyeongchang-2018, Evgenia Medvedeva was the first to perform , and Alina Zagitova was the second .
The main competitors of the Russian national team at the upcoming team tournament in Beijing, traditionally, will be the Americans and Canadians. National championships in these countries will be held in January, so let’s see and compare the results of Russian figure skaters with figure skaters from France and Japan
Lea Serna, Kevin Aymoz, Gabriella Papadakis / Guillaume Sizeron and Camilla / Pavel Kovalev became the winners of the French Figure Skating Championship. By and large, the real threat to the team ambitions of the Russian national team at the 2022 Olympics is represented by the lichens Aimoz and Papadakis / Sizeron. And if the dancers are likely to take the victory (not only in the commanding officer), then it is quite possible to compete with Aymoz for command points.
It is not yet completely clear which of the men from Russia will go to Beijing. But even if, suddenly, the winner of the national championship Mark Kondratyuk is placed in the team tournament , then according to the points received in the Chechen Republic (284.37), the student of Svetlana Sokolovskaya surpasses the result of Aymoz at the French championship (277.64). In the Russian team, besides Kondratyuk, there are two other figure skaters Mikhail Kolyada (283, 70) and Andrei Mozalev (278, 28), whose programs were rated higher than the performance of the Frenchman.
But Papadakis and Sizeron look out of reach. Even with a clearly simplified refereeing at the Russian championship, the French at the home tournament received almost three points more than the winners of the Russian championship Alexandra Stepanova / Ivan Bukin – 226.96 against 223.37.
In sports pairs, as in women’s single skating, the French national team will not be able to oppose anything to the Russian team. In general, the French have only two duos for the whole country, and Camilla Kovalev / Pavel Kovalev became the winner of the last championship – their scores are 157.49. This is even less than the 12th place in the Russian Championship. Lea Serna became the champion of France with 181.01 points – an approximate result of Valeria Shulskaya (13th place) and Anastasia Zinina (181.45) at the Russian Championship.
A far greater threat to Russia in the team tournament is the Japanese national team. There are traditionally strong singles, and even women have someone to compete with Kamila Valieva , Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova . The Japanese did not delay and have already announced the composition of the team for the 2022 Olympics:
Yuzuru Hanyu, Shoma Uno, Yuma Kagiyama, Kaori Sakamoto, Wakaba Higuchi, Mana Kawabe, Riku Miura / Ryuichi Kihara, Misato Komatsubara / Tim Coleto . The main driving force of the Japanese in the team tournament will be Hanyu, who performed the quadruple axel at the national championship, and even his possible replacement in the short program, Shoma Uno, will fight the Russian singles. We expect from them the maximum points on the Olympic team in Beijing-2022.
Kaori Sakamoto, of course, is far from the result of Valieva in the Czech Republic – 234.06 points against 283.48. But they will definitely compete with the Russians in the team tournament. Recall that the Japanese woman became the only foreigner in the finalists of the Grand Prix, which was canceled due to the pandemic. Sakamoto will also bring his points in Beijing 2022 for the Japanese national team.
The Japanese have never entered the top 3 team tournament of the Olympics – in 2014 they were fourth, in 2018 they were fifth. The French more often let the Italians and Chinese ahead. But these teams do not have an efficient team in the Olympic season.