Where Team USA Figure Skaters Stand in Preparation for 2022 Winter Olympics
On Thursday, Team USA figure skaters awoke to the news that the Grand Prix Final, scheduled for Dec. 9-12 in Osaka, Japan, will not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Considering the complicated epidemic situation involving travel restrictions, quarantine requirements, safety concerns and logistical challenges, the organization of the event was extremely challenging,” the International Skating Union (ISU) relayed in a statement. “The Japan Skating Federation and the local organizing committee tried their best to find solutions but ultimately concluded that, regrettably, they are unable to organize and hold the event as planned.”
Anticipated showdowns — including Nathan Chen versus U.S. rivals Vincent Zhou and Jason Brown as well as Japanese stars Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno — are postponed until the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, set for Jan. 3-9 in Nashville, Tennessee, or the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
There are positives and negatives for those who qualified to compete in Osaka. On one hand, they now have additional training time, uninterrupted by long flights; on the other, they lose a chance to compete in front of international judges, gain mileage on their programs and earn international ranking points and prize money.
With Beijing two months away, here’s a look at the season thus far…