Michigan figure skating teams to potentially qualify for the 2018 Winter Olympics
2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships is the final qualifier
DETROIT – American ice dance teams that make metro Detroit their home for training will officially find out if they will be competing in the Olympics this weekend during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California.
Two of Team USA's top ice dance teams train locally, Maia and Alex Shibutani at the Arctic Edge of Canton and Madison Chock and Evan Bates at the Novi Ice Arena.
The Shibutanis, a brother-sister duo from Ann Arbor, are the two-time and reigning U.S. champions. The Shib Sibs, as they are often called, placed ninth during the Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, and are eying a spot on the podium in South Korea.
"We're really looking forward to competing South Korea I think because of how our first Olympics went. We learned so much but we also know that we've grown so much so it will be really exciting to compete our sports biggest stage again," Maia Shibutani said earlier in the season.
Chock and Bates won silver at the 2016 nationals and were the 2015 U.S. Champions. They placed eighth in Sochi and are also attempting to get on the podium during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
"The Olympics is something that the both of us have dreamed about since we were children and to have been a part of one Olympics and two Olympics already is a dream come true. To be going after PyeongChang is huge," Chock said earlier in the season.
Rounding out the top three ice dance teams is Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue who train in Montreal, Quebec. They have won the bronze medal at the U.S. Championships the last four years. Hubbell and Donohue used to train at the Detroit Skating Club in West Bloomfield, but moved to Montreal in 2015 to train. Hubbell is from Lansing.
According to U.S. Figure Skating, the top U.S. teams, the Shibutanis, Hubbell/Donohue and Chock/Bates make up half the field at the Grand Prix Final for the last three years. During the 2017 competition in December, only 0.85 points separated all three teams in the final standings.
Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada are the favorites for the Olympic podium with one of the American teams going for bronze according to NBC Sports.
Other American ice dance teams that train in metro Detroit include Elliana Pogrebinsky and Alex Benoit in Novi. The team placed fourth at the 2017 U.S. Championships, their first season as seniors. Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker train at the Detroit Skating Club and have finished fifth at the last two national Championships.
Three ice dance teams will represent Team USA at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.
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