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Japan, Canada bring strong teams to Sochi
The brand new team event, however, is another Sochi story.
Canada is loaded in all four disciplines, from three-time men’s world champion Patrick Chan to defending Olympic dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. Japan is equally strong in the individual competitions, with 2010 women’s silver medalist Mao Asada and a trio of potential men’s contenders, including Vancouver Games bronze winner Daisuke Takahashi.
The Americans, led by two-time dance world champs Davis and White, the 2010 Olympic silver medalists, are talking bravely about grabbing team gold. But they’ll need to overcome a weakness in pairs and two unpredictable men, Jeremy Abbott and Jason Brown, to get on the podium.
They can’t wait to try.
“It’s something we are really excited to be a part of,” said White, who has partnered with Davis for 16 years and recently set a U.S. record with a sixth straight national ice dance crown. “It is exciting for our sport. Really, figure skating is in the limelight during the Olympics, and for us to have an opportunity to share in even a bigger experience is amazing.
“Obviously getting to compete twice at the Olympics is something we are not going to take for granted. We look forward to being very supportive teammates. We have a fantastic team, the U.S. does, and we are really in the medal hunt.”
Kim returned last season and won the world title with marks almost as good as in her record-setting Vancouver showing, winning by 20 points. She’s trying to be only the third woman (Katarina Witt and Sonja Henie) to win successive Olympic figure skating championships, but had been plagued by a foot injury that forced her out of the Grand Prix series.
Her rivalry with Asada has been one-sided, but Asada is a more seasoned skater now. She also had a triple axel in her repertoire, and will need to nail it every time she tries to keep up with a healthy Kim.
American champion Gracie Gold, 18, seems more likely to push for the podium in 2018, but youthful winners are common at the games. Kim was 19 when she won in Vancouver.
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