Monday, February 3, 2014

Olympic Countdown: 3 days

Welcome to the third installment of Gail's completely biased and non-expert opinions on the US Olympic figure skating team! On Friday, I discussed the men's team, and last Wednesday, I pontificated on the ladies' team. Today, it's all about pairs!


Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir
Used under a Creative Commons
license; att'd to Jamie Hull

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir won the gold at Nationals. These two have been skating together since 2006, which in US pairs, is a long time. They'd been just outside the Nationals podium bubble for a couple of years, but finally broke through and won their first National title in 2013. Castelli and Shnapir do an insanely difficult throw quad salchow. They're one of the few pairs in the world to attempt one, and when she lands it, it's something quite amazing to see. Here's a short video of a successful one at Nationals practice:

Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay claimed second place and Nationals and were named to the Olympic team. These two have only been skating together since 2011, but even last year they were good enough to land third at Nationals. They train in Florida, which seems to be the new hotbed of pairs skating (both of the 2010 pairs teams trained in Florida, and Amanda Evora, who was a 2010 Olympian, is now one of Zhang and Bartholomay's coaches). Zhang and Bartholomay skate a gorgeous free program to music from Les Misérables. They are so new to the international skating scene that again, I can't find a creative commons photo to use here, so here's a link to a video of their free program:

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