Spanish nationals key stop in showdown for Olympic ice dance spot between Hurtado/Khaliavin and Smart/Diaz

The Spanish national championships are set for this weekend (16-19 Dec.) in Jaca, where all eyes will be on the ice dance as two top teams face off in the race for the Winter Games. 

By Nick McCarvel
Picture by 2020 Getty Images

The race for one Olympic spot has become a point of interest in figure skating this season in the lead-up to the Olympic Games Beijing 2022.

Just one Spanish ice dance team will get the ticket to February's Games, and both Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin as well as Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz have finished inside the top 12 at the world championships in the past.

This weekend (16-19 December), Spanish nationals is the second of three stops for the two teams to try and earn their way to the Olympics. They previously went head-to-head at Finlandia Trophy in October, while the final decision will be made at the European Championships, next month in Tallinn, Estonia.

The story is many-layered: Hurtado and Diaz are former partners, having competed together at the Sochi 2014 Olympics, before Hurtado teamed up with Khaliavin. The duo edged out Smart/Diaz to go to PyeongChang 2018, but at the world championships in 2021, they failed to finish inside the top 10, which would have given the country two quota spots for the Olympics.

The qualification process is simple: Whichever team has the highest total combined score from the three events goes to Beijing.

Smart/Diaz have the slimmest of leads after Finlandia: 185.82 to 185.57.

"It is a little scary because there's one spot, you have one chance, but that's what our sport is," said Smart. "That's what every sport is in a way like: You have one chance to show your programs and compete. Anything can happen."

Smart and Diaz are a part of the Olympic Channel original series, On Edge, being filmed in the lead-up to Beijing in Montreal, Canada, this season. You can check out the series here.

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