Now, the action is really underway at the 2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. And things are only going to ramp up through Sunday in Nashville, Tennessee.
On Tuesday, the junior competitions began at Bridgestone Arena, with the men, pairs, and ice dancers taking part in short programs.
There will be more junior competitions on Wednesday and Thursday before the championship-level competitors start taking the ice Thursday.
With the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics set to begin in February, this week’s event will help to decide who represents the United States in figure skating at the Games.
So these competitions are even more important than usual.
Here’s the full TV schedule for this week’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships, followed by a preview and predictions for Wednesday’s action.
Thursday, Jan. 6
Pairs Short, 5-7 p.m. ET, USA Network
Women’s Short, 8:30-10:30 p.m. ET, USA Network
Friday, Jan. 7
Rhythm Dance, 4-6 p.m. ET, USA Network
Women’s Free, 8-11 p.m. ET, NBC
Saturday, Jan. 8
Men’s Short, 4-6 p.m. ET, NBC
Pairs Free and Free Dance, 7-10 p.m. ET, USA Network
Sunday, Jan. 9
Men’s Free, 2-4 p.m. ET, NBC
2022 U.S. Figure Skating Championships: Women’s Freestyle (NBC, Three-Hour Special) Wednesday Preview, Predictions
There’s a full slate of junior competitions set to take place Wednesday. And all of it can be streamed live on Peacock Premium, where figure skating fans can get a glimpse at the future of the sport.
The competitions taking place Wednesday are: the junior women’s short program (10 a.m. ET), the junior men’s free skate (1 p.m. ET), the junior pairs free skate (4 p.m. ET) and the junior free dance (9:30 p.m. ET).
There will also be a practice for the championship-level women at 6:45 p.m. ET.
Will Annis jumped out to a lead in the junior men’s competition on Tuesday by scoring a 75.81 in the short program.
He has the advantage over Kai Kovar (68.7) and Maxim Zharkov (67.07), who ranked second and third, respectively.
Annis finished in first place at the U.S. Junior Championship Series event held in Allen, Texas, in October. A former U.S. juvenile and novice champion, the 16-year-old from Boston could be heading toward a victory at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Wednesday.
While Kovar and Zharkov have the potential to end up in first place, the prediction here is that Annis has another strong showing on Wednesday and claims the gold medal.
He had momentum entering the competition and was the clear best skater in Tuesday’s event.
Sonia Baram and Daniel Tioumentsev are in first place in the junior pairs competition after posting a score of 62.26 points in Tuesday’s short program.
They have a sizable advantage over Isabelle Martins and Ryan Bedard, who had a score of 54.89.
Don’t count out Martins and Bedard heading into Wednesday’s free skate, though. They’ve had success at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships before, having won the silver medal in 2021.
They may come up a bit short of the gold again this year, but there’s still a chance they could end up in first.
The junior women’s competition will get started on Wednesday with the short program, before wrapping up the junior side of things with the free skate on Thursday.
Among the junior women’s competitors to watch are Clare Seo and Ava Ziegler. Seo, a 15-year-old from Colorado, won the bronze medal at the event last year; and Ziegler, a 15-year-old from New Jersey, placed fourth in 2021.
Expect Ziegler to get off to a strong start and perhaps be in first place after the short program. She won the 2021 Cranberry Cup, as well as a pair of U.S. Junior Championship Series events last year.
She should build off her fourth-place showing from last year by ending up in the top three.
Seo has a strong chance of competing for the gold medal, but the prediction here is that Ziegler will be the top contender to watch.