While Ice Dance has been unpopular in the past in the Olympics, it is now one of the biggest events. I also think that this will be the discipline to watch and where the closest battles will happen. There are several couples who are challengers for the medal podium and have some of the best rivalries in Figure skating.
First is the United States. Going into Sochi, reigning silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the best chances for the Gold. Ever since Vancouver, this pair has been on fire and their free dance is amazing. Though not my favorite free dance of theirs, it works so well with both of them (my only criticism of it, is that I wish Meryl would go back to the teal dress rather than the light pink). The other contenders for a podium finish are the Shib siblings as they’re lovingly referred to in the skating community. Maia and Alex Shibutani in addition to being social media gurus, they’re awesome skaters. I love that they’ve changed their free dance (done to Michael Jackson songs). It flows much better now than it did earlier in the season.
Like the United States, Canada has become a force in ice dance. Reigning Olympic gold medalists, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are back to battle with their training mates for the gold. It will be the battle of the disciplines between these two teams. Like Davis/White, Virtue/Moir have chosen a more classical free program and it does suit them. Canada’s other potential medal finishers are that of Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje who are very seductive on the ice. They haven’t skated much this year due to an injury but they are ones to watch.
While Russia does have three teams in ice dance, only two really stand out as possible medal finishers. The first is Dmitri Soloviev and Ekaterina Bobrova. They are the highest ranking Russian team in the world standings and have several podium finishes in the last two seasons. The second team Elena Illinykh and Nikita Katsalapov are the reigning silver medalists at this year’s European championships. They are currently ranked 7th in the world.
Another couple that could medal is the Italians of Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte. I really enjoy their free program (done to the overature from Barber of Seville by Rossini). They are the reigning European champions.
The last possible couple for podium finish is Natalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat. They’ve been together since 2000 and have been in the top 10 of ice dance for some time. They recently switched coaches (in 2013) so it should be interesting to see how that change has affected them.
I honestly believe if all things go well, the fight really will be for the bronze medal. This will definitely be a fun fight to watch!