The men’s field at the 2014 Olympics is probably one of the deepest fields I have seen in a long time. There are six or seven men who are serious contenders for a medal. So it will definitely be one of best skating events to watch! In the next couple of paragraphs I’ll be talking about those men whom I think have the best shot at the medals.
First off, Canada’s Patrick Chan. Ever since Vancouver in 2010, Chan has been roaring through the skating world. The fifth place finish on home ice so to speak has fueled Chan’s skating. He has been on the medal stand at every single international competition since the games, culminating with winning the last three Championships. Look for both Patrick’s jumping ability combined with his artistic side.
Next is Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan. One of the youngest of the field (the other being Jason Brown of the United States), Hanyu has been taking the figure skating world by force. He’s posted multiple world records in both the long and short program which have made him one to watch in Sochi. However, sometimes, he can make a mistake in the long program and dwells on it thus falling apart and costing him first place. Look for his fast step sequences and fast jumps.
The other man on the Japanese team that could via for a medal is Daisuke Takahashi. The leader of the Japanese team, he has the maturity that I like to seen in a men’s skater. Takahashi is also the reigning Olympic bronze medalist. He’s got both the artistic component that I feel is slightly lacking in Hanyu and the jumps. However, he has not been skating as great as he did in Vancouver as of late. However, if he is top shape, he definitely could win another medal.
One of the biggest surprises in the last couple of years on the figure skating front has been Javier Fernandez from Spain. He has been on the world podium and is the current European champion. If Javi, as he’s known in the figure skating fan community, can put together skates like he had when he medaled at the World Championships, then look out! Javier has some of the most beautiful jumps out there so look out for those.
France is an interesting case because the two men are ones that have been in the top of the field since Vancouver but have fallen as of late. First is Florent Amodio. He’s had success on the world stage and he has at times, some brilliant programs, both with jumping and artistically. The second man from France, Brian Joubert is well known to many skating fans. He’s got fantastic jumps and in the past, some amazingly artistic programs. Lately he has had coaching changes as well as injuries. However, if he is prepared (and from reports I’ve heard, his injuries have healed) he could challenge for a medal.
Before I talk about Russia, let’s talk about the man who I think could medal from the United States. While the US does have two excellent men, I think Jeremy Abbott is the only one who could challenge for the medal podium. While I absolutely love Jason Brown, he doesn’t have a quad and in order for him to medal, many of the top skaters would have to make mistakes. Of course anything could happen (as Jason did medal on the Paris stop of the Grand Prix) but more than likely it won’t. I don’t think this Olympics is Jason’s time. Let me state once again, I LOVE Jason’s skating, especially his Riverdance (but that’s no secret to people who know me, love all things Irish). Now as for Jeremy. I have been a fan of Jeremy’s for a long time and was so ecstatic to see his performances at the US Nationals and I hope he takes that energy and pushes it towards Sochi. Jeremy’s skating, when he’s on, is just magical. He’s got the jumps (his triple Axel is just gorgeous) and he also has the artistic component that is in a class above everybody.
Lastly, Russia. Russia’s lone entry for the men’s event is no stranger to fans of figure skating. It’s 2010’s silver medal, Evgeni Plushenko. To talk about Russia’s men’s entry is hard to write about for several reasons. First off, the politics. He finished second at Russian Nationals where he lost to Maxim Kovtun. The Russian Federation said they would not announce their Olympic team until after 2014 Europeans where Kovtun skated (though not as well as he had hoped). Plushenko decided not to skate at Europeans, instead stating he wanted a skating test so to speak in front of Russian officials in Russia. It was after this test that the Russian Federation announced that Plushenko was the Olympic entry surpassing Kovtun who earned the spot by finishing first at Russian Nationals. Secondly, I’ve got a biased against him. My bias stems from mostly not being a fan of his skating but his behavior following the 2010 Olympics. So laying that aside, Plushenko does have a legitimate shot at the medal podium, due to the fact he is planning multiple quads. However, he has not skated internationally in some time (only skated in a “B” event this year in order to earn the mandatory scores to skate in the Olympics) and he has had several surgeries on both his knees and back since Vancouver. So it remains to seen how his programs really stand up on the international level.
There are some dark horses that could play spoiler for the medals: Kevin Reynolds (CAN), Tatsuki Machida (JPN), and Michal Brezina (CZE). I also have some sentimental dark horses: Misha Ge (UZB) aand Viktor Pfeifer (AUST).
I have two podiums for Sochi. One is my dream podium, and one, which I feel is probably more realistic.
Gold: Patrick Chan
Silver: Jeremy Abbott
Bronze: Javier Fernandez
Gold: Yuzuru Hanyu
Silver: Patrick Chan
Bronze: Javier Fernandez