Beijing 2022: What is the figure skating team event?

Beijing 2022 will feature nine mixed events during the Winter Olympics. One of them will be the figure skating team competition. But do you know what's involved? Find out everything you need to know before the start on 4 February, with the men's short programme.

By Emma Hingant
Picture by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

To increase gender equality at the Olympic Games, mixed events have become a core element of the Olympic programme. At Beijing 2022, there will be nine mixed events - four new ones and five that have already been featured at past Olympics.

That’s the case for the figure skating team event competition, which was introduced at Sochi 2014 and featured again during PyeongChang 2018.

The team event will kick off on 4 February in Beijing, with the men's short programme, ahead of the individual disciplines.

To enter the team event, a country has to have qualified one athlete in at least three of the four disciplines: men’s, women’s, pair skating and ice dance. Ten nations will be participating in the team event at Beijing 2022, they include: Canada, People's Republic of China, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Japan, ROC, Ukraine and the United States.

READ ALSO: Olympic figure skating at Beijing 2022: Top five things to know

The figure skating team format at Beijing 2022

The team event consists of a qualification phase and a finals phase, broken into skating's tradition short and free programmes.

In the qualification phase, a man, an ice dance couple, a pair and a woman will present their short programme to earn points for their nation - or "team." The skater in first earns 10 points, second nine points, third eight points and so on.

It is then followed by the finals with the top five teams qualifying for the free skate, where a man, a pair, an ice dance couple and a woman perform their free programme. Nations are allowed to change up to two athletes (or teams) – if they have more than one in each discipline – between the short programme and the free skating.

Scoring works the same in the finals: The top skater or team earns 10 points, while the skater who places fifth is awarded six points.

The nation which earns most points in all events will be crowned Olympic champion.

In case an NOC hasn’t qualified an athlete in one of the disciplines but has in all the other three, an additional quota spot is given to that NOC so they can take part in the team event. This is for instance the case of Germany (no athlete qualified in the men’s event), Italy (women’s) and Ukraine (pairs). That extra athlete or team can only take part in the mixed team event and not in the individual competition.

Again, the 10 qualified nations are: Canada, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Japan, People's Republic of China, ROC, Ukraine and USA.

How to follow the figure skating team event at Beijing 2022

The Capital Indoor Stadium will host all figure skating events during Beijing 2022, as well as the short track speed skating competition on opposite days.

The figure skating team event has the honour to open the competition, on 4 February at 9:55 (Beijing time, CET+7), with the men’s single short programme. That will be followed by the ice dancers’ rhythm dance at 11:35, and the pairs’ event at 13:15.

Two days later, on 6 February, the women will perform their short programme at 9:30 local, followed by the men's free programme at 11:50. Then, 7 February will decide the medals with the pairs' free programme at 9:15, the ice dance free dance at 10:30 and finally the women’s free programme, starting at 11:35 and finishing at 12:15.

See the FULL figure skating schedule for Beijing here

What makes the team event so special? Olympians explain

For Team USA skater and three-time world champion Nathan Chen, the team event is all about friendship and enjoyment.

“I’m friends with all my fellow U.S. skaters and we have a good sense of camaraderie and team spirit”, he told NBC Sports after his country managed second place at the World Team Trophy, a similar team event, in April 2021. “So, to be able to have your best friends at a competition that you’re competing at together as a group is just really special, so just trying to enjoy myself as much as I can and still get my job done.”

His Japanese counterpart, 2018 silver medallist Uno Shoma, also competed at World Team Trophy: “Figure skating is an individual sport and everyone is trying to do their best for the team," he told IFS Magazine.

He continued: “It is a team event where the points are something that I have to contribute to. I am grateful for this great opportunity to be part of a team. Everyone is telling each other it is about how satisfied you are that you did your best, so my teammates have been there for me throughout this whole experience and they have supported me much more than I could do for them.”

Who to look out for in the figure skating team event?

Canada, ROC and the USA have shared the podium in the last two editions of the Olympic Games where the team event has been competed. While ROC won gold at home in 2014, Canada triumphed in 2018.

The ROC team is the favourite at Beijing 2022, with the likes of world champion Anna Shcherbakova and world record holder Kamila Valieva in their ranks, as well as reigning world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov in pairs, and Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov, the reigning European and world champions, in ice dance.

Team USA finished in bronze at both editions in 2014 and 2018. Competing in 2014, Jason Brown makes his return after missing out on PyeongChang. Karen Chen (women’s), Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou (men’s), Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue as well as Madison Chock and Evan Bates (ice dance), and Alexa Knierim (one half of a pair) are all options for the Americans in Beijing.

Canada is the current Olympic champion from 2018, with the likes of Eric Radford - with new partner Vanessa James - being named to the Olympic team. Sochi 2014 silver medallist Kirsten Moore-Towers - who since also changed partners to pair with Michael Marinaro (pairs) - Keegan Messing (men’s) and Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier (ice dance) are set for another Games, too, although Marinaro, Keegan, Gilles/Poirier haven't taken part in the team event before.

ROC, the USA. and Japan finished with gold, silver and bronze respectively at the latest World Team Championship in April 2021. Japan will have a choice to make between two-time Olympic champion Hanyu Yuzuru, Uno Shoma or Kagiyama Yuma for the men’s section of the team event. They can also count on Sakamoto Kaori – 6th at PyeongChang – for the women’s and a rising strength in both pairs and ice dance - which could help them contend for a medal.

The official line-ups for the team event are made in the final days before the event (4 February).

GO OLYMPIC. GET ALL THIS.

Free live sport events. Unlimited access to series. Unrivalled Olympic news & highlights.