Figure skating at the XXI Olympic Winter Games

Figure skating at the XXI Olympic Winter Games begins with the pairs' short program on Feb. 14 and concludes on Feb. 25 with the ladies' free skate. Once the competitive sessions are over, the top skaters will return to perform in an exhibition gala on Feb. 27.

  The Olympic field consists of 30 men, 30 ladies, 20 pairs, and 24 ice dance teams. Skaters qualify country spots primarily based on ranking at the 2009 World Championships in Los Angeles (March 24-29). As an example, take the American women. The top two skaters, Rachael Flatt and Alissa Czisny, needed to finish combined 13th or better in L.A. (e.g., 4th and 9th) to qualify three spots for the U.S. in Vancouver. Since they didn't (Flatt was 5th and Czisny was 11th), but finished better than a combined 28th, the American ladies secured two spots as did the pairs. Buoyed by Evan Lysacek's world title and Tanith Belbin/Ben Agosto's silver, the Americans earned the right to send three men and three dance teams to Vancouver.
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