2018 Winter Olympics: Figure Skating Guide and Preview for PyeongChang

With the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea fast approaching, here’s everything you need to know about figure skating.
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With the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea fast approaching, here’s everything you need to know about one of the most popular events: figure skating.

There are five distinct competitions: Men's single skating, Women's single skating, pair skating, ice dancing and the team event.

Figure skating takes place throughout most of the Olympics, with competition on 12 days of the games. The fun will begin Thursday, Feb. 8 with the team event and will conclude Saturday, Feb. 24 with an exhibition gala.

After the team event comes the pairs event with medals being awarded Feb. 14. Medals for the men's event will be given out Feb. 16, with medals for the women's event being handed out Feb. 22.

The Olympics begin Thursday, Feb. 8 and conclude Sunday, Feb. 25.

Check out the full figure skating schedule here.

In December, Sports Illustrated published a Rookie's Guide to Figure Skating with information about the background, selection process, rules and format of the sport. Since figure skating is one of the most recognizable and popular sports of the Winter Olympics, be sure to catch up on all the details of the sport to impress your friends and coworkers throughout the games.

A Rookie's Guide to Figure Skating at the 2018 Winter Olympics

You can learn about how figure skating is the oldest sport in the Winter Olympic games or how figure skating began in Dutch canals.

One of the best parts of the guide is that it explains the different events, but more importantly it breakdowns the detailed scoring process. While it can be hard to keep understand what is happening, this will help you appreciate the intricacies and work of the sport even more — it's beautiful to watch but it takes a ton of precision.

As figure skating generates a lot of buzz, Sports Illustrated had the chance to speak with Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski in mid-January about the games this year and the 20 years since her Olympic medal. Lipinski​ will be commentating alongside Johnny Weir and she gave us the scoop on her picks (Hint: Nathan Chen seems prime to dominate the men's event). Plus, she chatted about how Ashley Wagner's Olympic miss will impact the U.S. women. 

She also spoke about the movie that's garnered buzz across Hollywood and the skating world — "I, Tonya." 

While Lipinksi gave us her picks, in the Jan. 29–Feb. 5 Olympic Preview issue of Sports Illustrated’s magazine, our expert Brian Cazeneuve gave his medal predictions.

Here are his picks for figure skating:


  • Nathan Chen, U.S.
  • Yuzuru Hanyu, Japan
  • Shoma Uno, Japan

Sochi champion Hanyu played a Samurai lord in a 2016 film.


  • Alina Zagitova, Russia
  • Evgenia Medvedeva, Russia
  • Gabrielle Daleman, Canada

Zagitova, 15, beat world champ Medvedeva at the European Championships.


  • Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot, Germany
  • Sui Wenjing and Han Cong, China
  • Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Canada

Savchenko used to skate for her native Ukraine, Massot for his native France.


  • Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada
  • Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, France
  • Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani, U.S.

All three U.S. duos are medal contenders.


  • Canada
  • Russia
  • U.S.

Host Russia won the inaugural event in 2014.

Check out the rest of Brian’s medal predictions for all 102 events in the magazine.