Figure Skating at PyeongChang 2018

Venues: Gangneung Ice Arena

Competition Dates: February 9, 11-12, 14-17, 19-21, 23, 25 (Days 0, 2-3, 5-8, 10-12, 14, 16)

Events: 5 (1 men, 1 women, 3 mixed)

There are four figure skating disciplines: men’s singles, women’s singles, pairs, and ice dance. In each one, the skaters perform two routines, a short program/dance and a free skate/dance.

Both singles short programs are two minutes and 40 seconds in length (plus or minus 10 seconds) and include seven elements: three jumping passes (including one combination), three spins and one step sequence.

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada competes in the Ladies Free Skating Program during ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Marseille, southern France, Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

The men’s free skate is four minutes and thirty seconds (plus or minus 10 seconds) and features 13 elements: eight jumping passes (including three combinations), three spins, one step sequence and one choreographic sequence. For the women’s free skate, 12 elements must be included in four minutes (plus or minus 10 seconds): seven jumping passes (including three combinations), three spins, one step sequence and one choreographic sequence.

At the Olympic Games, only the top 24 skaters from the 30 who compete in the short program advance to the free skate.

The pairs’ short program is also two minutes and 40 seconds (plus or minus ten seconds) and includes seven elements: one lift, one twist lift, one throw, one solo jump, one spin, one death spiral and one step sequence. Only the top 16 pairs from the 20 who compete in the short program advance to the free skate, which is four minutes and 30 seconds (plus or minus 10 seconds) and includes 12 elements: three lifts, one twist lift, two throws, one solo jump, one solo jump combination, one solo spin, one pair spin, one death spiral and one choreographic sequence.

Figure Skating - Pairs

In ice dance, the short dance is based around a compulsory pattern. For the 2017-18 season that will be the Rhumba. Other related Latin American music rhythms may also be incorporated into the two minute and 50 second (plus or minus 10 seconds) program that must include one twizzle sequence, one step sequence, one lift and one spin in addition to the compulsory pattern.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir during ice dance competition in Sochi.

Only the top 20 couples from the 24 who compete in the short dance advance to the free dance, which is four minutes (plus or minus 10 seconds) and features one spin, two step sequences, one twizzle sequence and either four or five lifts, depending on how the program is choreographed.

For each program, skaters receive two sets of scores, the Technical Elements Score (TES) and the Program Components Score (PCS). The TES is based on each element performed (jumps, spins, footwork, lifts, etc.) having a set point value which can increase or decrease depending on how it is executed. The PCS evaluates the program as a whole and is divided into five areas (skating skills, transitions, performance, composition, interpretation of the music) with each scored on a scale of 0.25 to 10. The TES and PCS are calculated by discarding the highest and lowest scores from the nine judges for each element/component and averaging the rest. Added together, the TES and PCS produce the Total Segment Score (TSS) for a program. The sum of the TSS for the short program and free skate determines the final results.

Patrick Chan during a practice session at ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Boston on March 30, 2016.

The team event includes 10 countries, each comprised of one man, one woman, one pair and one ice dance couple. The top five teams after the short programs advance to the free skates. Team standings are decided on aggregate placement points for each skater/couple, ie: first place earns 10 points, second place earns nine points down to tenth place earning one point.

Canadian History (pre-PyeongChang 2018)

With 25 Olympic medals, Canada is one of the global powerhouses in figure skating along with the United States and Russia.

Three of those medals came at Sochi 2014 where Canada captured silver in the inaugural Olympic team event. Silver medals were also won by Patrick Chan in the men’s event and ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Four years earlier at Vancouver 2010, that duo had won gold, the first Canadian ice dancers to become Olympic champions. It was also in Vancouver that Joannie Rochette won bronze in front of a supportive home crowd just days after the tragic passing of her mother.

Joannie Rochette (Vancouver 2010)

The home Games at Calgary 1988 were also great for Canadian figure skating. In the “Battle of the Brians” against American Brian Boitano, Brian Orser won his second straight Olympic silver medal. Elizabeth Manley surprised with a silver in the women’s event while Tracy Wilson and Rob McCall became Canada’s first Olympic ice dance medallists with their bronze.

The first Canadian figure skater to win Olympic gold was Barbara Ann Scott at St. Moritz 1948. She was followed by two pairs teams, Barbara Wagner and Robert Paul at Squaw Valley 1960 and Jamie Sale and David Pelletier at Salt Lake City 2002.


Other Canadian multi-medallists include Elvis Stojko, who won back-to-back silver medals at Lillehammer 1994 and Nagano 1998, and Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler who were on the pairs’ podium at Albertville 1992 and Lillehammer 1994.