According to Christine Brennan at USA Today (article), the lineup for the USA in the Team Event is as follows:
Men: Jeremy Abbott SP, Jason Brown FS
Pairs: Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir
Dance: Meryl Davis/Charlie White
Ladies: Ashley Wagner SP, Gracie Gold FS
A team is only allowed to “split duties” in two of the four disciplines. I have to admit to being a bit surprised that the US is not splitting the pairs team event, since the pairs’ short program is the first of the non-team events on February 11th.
How much do you want to bet that Russia will somehow say Plushy is “injured” in the team event, and then substitute Kovtun or Voronov into the Men’s event? (A team cannot substitute due to injury during the Team event).
The Russian Skating Federation has made it official: After skating in a closed-door test skate, Evgeny Plushenko will be the man representing them in the men’s event at the Sochi Olympics. As my friend T has said, “If he can walk, they will send him”. The also-rans didn’t help their cases any at Euros. Maxim Kovtun, fresh off of his besting Plushy at Russian Nationals, could only manage fifth place. Sergei Voronov took the silver at Euros, but was a long shot anyway. Konstantin Menshov had a great free skate to take the bronze after being in 11th place after the short (!), but he was never really under consideration. I for one have seen enough Mishin-inspired arm flailing for two lifetimes, but certainly think that Plushy is the Russians’ best shot if his injury-wracked self holds up. Since Russia only qualified one man to the Olympics, this means that Plushenko would have to skate the entire team event plus the men’s event. Countries are allowed to have different skaters skate the short and free in the team event, but the skater has to have qualified to the Olympic team in his/her/their individual event first. I think this may preclude Plushenko’s competing in the team event and then pulling out with an “injury”, with one of the alternates (Kovtun or Voronov) replacing him in the men’s event. However, if there is a way to do it, Russia may find it….
And while on the topic of Euros, I have to say that the artistry (lack of artistry would be a better term) exhibited in the top flight of the men’s event was alarming after seeing Jeremy Abbott, Jason Brown, and Joshua Farris in Boston. IJS programs all the way at Euros (sigh).
The rest of the Russian Olympic team is no surprise. 2014 European Champion Julia Lipnitskaya and European silver medalist Adelina Sotnikova will skate in the ladies’ event (Alena Leonova is the alternate). Volosozhar/Trankov, Baranova/Larionov and Stolbova/Klimov (who won gold, bronze, and silver, respectively, at Euros) will be the pairs, and Bobrova/Soloviyev, Ilinykh/Katsalapov, and Sinitsina/Zhiganshin the dance teams.
PAIRS (or Vapor (??), according to Google Translator):
Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov did not skate; their coach claims that Larionov is having boot problems and could not endanger his partner, according to Wikipedia.
Artur Gachinski was fourth.
This is the tenth national title for Plushenko, who is now 30 years old.
According to GoldenSkate:
“I am very happy with my performance, but I had to fight for it,” admitted the 2006 Olympic Champion. “Yesterday, I said that the long program would be much harder and the prediction turned out to be true. My back ached and I had to skate through this pain.”
Golden Skate article
That’s the third consecutive national title for Bobrova/Soloviev.
Alena Leonova was seventh; Ksenia Makarova eighth.
Tuktamysheva skated to her first national title in spite of being under the weather. Silver medalist Radionova is only 13, so will not be skating at Europeans. Bronze medalist Sotnikova is a three-time Russian champion, and she and Tuktamysheva are finally old enough to skate at Europeans. Serafima Sakhanovich finished fourth, but she is only 12, so I’m not sure who the third Russian skater at Europeans will be. Julia Lipnitskaia did not skate at Russian Nationals because she is continuing to recover from a concussion that she sustained prior to the Grand Prix final.