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That figure skating team event - lets look at what to expect


Fox334

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I'm not sure if I ever explained how I feel about adding a completly untested and unheard of event to the Sochi 2014 games, but I didn't like it. I'm talking about the Figure Skating team event, an event who's format wasn't even finalized before it was accepted in by the EB. No competition at any level had ever been held at that time, with the exception of a single Team Trophy. Incidentally, both Team Trophies that have been held so far appear to use different formats that what will be used in Sochi.

As far as I understand, the current Sochi format is that 10 teams will compete in men's, women's, pairs and dance. In each event they will receive from 10 to 1 points for first through tenth. After the short program, the bottom 5 teams will be eliminated such that only the athletes from the top 5 teams will compete in the long program. The tie breaker (because believe me, there will be ties) is as followed: best two finishes, best three finishes, best finish, who the hell knows after that (apparently in the Team Trophy being the home country is a tie breaker... like, really?).

Anyway, based on those rules I tried to extrapolate what the team standings from the 2012 worlds and the 2012 Team Trophy where. Keep in mind that for the worlds I used the overall results for the elimination round to make my computation easier - for the Team Trophy aspect I did separate the short from the long program.

In the worlds, 12 countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Russia, Switzerland and the United States) sent at least one skater / pair per event. Of those, ever team except Austria, Bulgaria and Switzerland would seem like a lock to compete in Sochi. Bulgaria is by far the weakest of the lot, so it would seem like the battle for the 10th spot in the Olympic team event might be between Austria and Switzerland. The top five teams after the short programs are Canada, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

Now here is a result table containing the finish order per event and total points:

ZZZ | M | L | P | D | | T

CAN | 1 | 5 | 3 | 1 | | 34

ITA | 4 | 1 | 5 | 4 | | 30

JPN | 2 | 3 | 2 | 5 | | 32

RUS | 5 | 2 | 1 | 3 | | 33

USA | 3 | 4 | 4 | 2 | | 31

Canada is first, Russia is second, Japan is third, the United States are fourth, Italy is fifth. Notice that the standings go 34 -> 33 -> 32 -> 31 -> 30.

In the team trophy, using the results of the short program only France was the worse of the six teams and was eliminated (ironic considering that in the real event they lost the bronze medal to Canada on a tie-breaker). Using the same formula as before:

ZZZ | M | L | P | D | | T

CAN | 2 | 5 | 2 | 2 | | 33

ITA | 4 | 2 | 5 | 3 | | 30

JPN | 1 | 1 | 3 | 5 | | 34

RUS | 5 | 4 | 1 | 4 | | 30

USA | 3 | 3 | 4 | 1 | | 33

Canada - USA Tie-breaker: Canada wins on second tie-breaker (best 3 placings)

Italy - Russia Tie-breaker: Russia wins on third tie-breaker (best placing)

Japan is first, Canada is second, the United States are third, Russia is fourth, Italy is fifth.

Who ultimatly win this event might very well be determined by what the final format is. The curret team trophy format, that features two single skaters per gender, tends to favour Japan while this format (or a format that has two singles and pairs per event) favours Canada. Either way, this event could be a surprisingly close battle between Canada, the US, Japan and Russia.

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