Team USA ice dancers with Michigan ties hit rink for 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang

Ice dancers compete Sunday night

By Meaghan St Pierre - Producer

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the United States compete in the Ice Dance Free Dance during day three of 2017 Bridgestone Skate America at Herb Brooks Arena on November 26, 2017 in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

Three teams.

All top contenders for the podium at the Winter Olympics.

Each one of them has ties to Michigan.

Their programs beautiful, their talent incredible. 

Choosing to cheer for just one team feels impossible.

Team USA has called these three ice dance teams the most decorated group of ice dance teams it has ever sent to the Olympics.

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.

Related: Olympics TV schedule, event times 

The Shibutanis, a brother-sister duo from Ann Arbor, are two-time U.S. champions and have a silver (2016) and two bronze (2011, 2017) from the World Championships. The Shib Sibs, as they are often called, placed ninth during the Winter Olympics in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, and are eyeing a spot on the podium in South Korea. They already won bronze competing in the figure skating team event earlier in the games.

Chock and Bates won silver at the 2016 nationals and were the 2015 U.S. Champions. They have a silver (2015) and bronze (2016) from the World Championships. They placed eighth in Sochi and are also attempting to get on the podium during the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Rounding out the top three ice dance teams is Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, who train in Montreal, Quebec. The duo won the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for the first time this January. The Shibutanis placed second behind them; Chock and Bates were third.

It was a huge victory for Hubbell and Donohue, who 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 Okemos. This is their first Olympics.

These three teams are so close to each other at competitions. Often, less than a point separates their scores. According to U.S. Figure Skating, the top U.S. teams, the Shibutanis, Hubbell/Donohue and Chock/Bates have made 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.

Battle for Gold vs. Battle for Bronze.

The teams from France and Canada are expected to be battling for the gold medal. 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.

This is the third Olympics for Virtue and Moir, who won gold in 2010 and silver in 2014. 
Ice dancers perform their short dance Sunday night and their free dance Monday night. The medals will be awarded Monday night.

While the American teams are expected to battle for bronze, I don’t rule out any of them getting into the race for silver or gold. This is the Olympics, and anything can happen. I’m cheering for all three teams to find great success and satisfaction with their performances at the Winter Games.

Go, Team USA!

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