The nation’s best figure skaters will converge in Nashville, Tennessee, this week for the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships – a final, pivotal competition before the Beijing Winter Olympics next month.
While the top finishers at the national championships will not automatically punch their Olympic tickets, like athletes in other sports do at their Olympic trials, this week’s performances will still carry significant weight. And the skaters who make Team USA will be announced by the end of the weekend.
On the men’s side, Olympic gold-medal favorite Nathan Chen will be looking to win his sixth consecutive national title, as Vincent Zhou looks to dethrone him and pull the upset. The women’s field features a list of contenders, including two-time national champion Alysa Liu, 16.
Meanwhile, ice dance is likely to feature another down-to-the-wire battle between Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue and Madison Chock and Evan Bates, while Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier have become the duo to watch in pairs.
Here’s all the information you need to follow along this week:
When are the U.S. Figure Skating Championships?
The senior competition runs from Jan. 6-9, beginning Thursday afternoon with the pairs short program and concluding Sunday afternoon. It is preceded by the junior competition, which began Tuesday.
What is the schedule of events for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships?
For senior competitors, who are vying for Olympic sports, the schedule is as follows.
THURSDAY: Pairs short program (4:45 p.m. ET); women’s short program (7:30 p.m. ET)
FRIDAY: Rhythm dance (3 p.m. ET); women’s free skate (7:30 p.m. ET)
SATURDAY: Men’s short program (3 p.m. ET); Pairs free skate (6:45 p.m. ET); Free dance (8:25 p.m. ET)
SUNDAY: Men’s free skate (12:15 p.m. ET)
How can I watch the U.S. Figure Skating Championships?
The national championships will be televised on either NBC or USA Network over parts of four days, beginning with Thursday’s events, which will be on USA Network. Coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET (pairs short program) and continues at 8:30 p.m. ET (women’s short program.)
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USA Network will also broadcast the rhythm dance (4:30 p.m. Friday), pairs free skate (7 p.m. Saturday) and free dance (8:30 p.m. Saturday).
Three marquee events will be televised on NBC: The women’s free skate (8 p.m. Friday), men’s short program (4 p.m. Saturday) and men’s free skate (2 p.m. Sunday).
Where can I stream the U.S. Figure Skating Championships?
Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, will carry all of the senior and junior events. It will also offer a practice cam throughout the week.
How is the U.S. Olympic figure skating team selected?
Unlike in many other Olympic sports, U.S. Figure Skating selects its Olympians based on their performances over the past two years. Performances at nationals factor into that equation, of course. But a top-two or top-three finish this week does not guarantee a spot in Beijing.
All told, there are 16 spots at the 2022 Games up for grabs: Three for men, women and ice dance teams, and two for pairs.