The 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships that wrapped up Sunday in Nashville had a little bit of everything: an iconic champion winning his sixth straight U.S. crown; mature athletes fighting to hold off up-and-coming challengers; long-time rivals squaring off one more time.
Results from the event were an important — but not the only — factor in selecting the team that will compete next month at the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. U.S. Figure Skating also considered international scores of the athletes, whether those tallies were consistent and what placement range they would potentially achieve at the Games.
Nathan Chen enters Beijing favored for gold, but he is by no means a shoo-in: the American will have to fend off a talented Japanese squad, including two-time Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu. Two ice dance teams, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue, have realistic shots at the podium. Russian women, with their ever-growing number of quadruple jumps and triple axels, will make it difficult for any other country — including the U.S. — to break through for the podium. Russia and China dominate the pairs discipline.
The figure skating team event will be contested first in Beijing. After winning bronze medals in Sochi and PyeongChang, Team USA is expected to battle Russia and Japan for podium spots in Beijing.
Here’s a look at the 16 figure skaters who will compete for Team USA in February.