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Skating

Michelle Kwan skates during an exhibition in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday, January 16, 2005, the day after winning her ninth U.S. Figure Skating championship.
Michelle Kwan skates during an exhibition in Portland, Oregon, on Sunday, January 16, 2005, the day after winning her ninth U.S. Figure Skating championship.
(Photo: Don Ryan/AP Wide World)
Figure skating features four events: men's and women's individual skating, pairs figure skating, and ice dancing.

Both individual and pairs skaters are judged on a short and free skating program. Ice dancers are evaluated on rhythm, interpretation of the music, and specific steps.

In short track, groups of four to six skaters race around a track similar in size to a hockey rink. Short track competition includes both individual and relay events.

The Olympics features 12 speed-skating events: 10 individual events and 2 team events. Skating in a crouched position, athletes can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. They race for the fastest time to within a hundredth of a second.

Whom to Watch
Top U.S. Female Athlete, Figure Skating: Sasha Cohen
Top U.S. Male Athlete, Figure Skating: Johnny Weir

Top International Competitors, Figure Skating: Evgeny Plushenko and Irina Slutskaya (Russia)
Top U.S. Male Athlete, Short Track: Apolo Anton Ohno
Top U.S. Female Athlete, Short Track: Allison Baver

2002 U.S. Gold Medalists
Figure-skater Sarah Hughes won the gold medal in the women's individual event.
Short-track speed-skater Apolo Anton Ohno won the gold medal in the men's 1,500-meter event.
Speed-skater Chris Witty won the gold medal in the women's 1,000 meter event.
Speed-skater Derek Parra won the gold medal in the men's 1,500 meter event.
Speed-skater Casey FitzRandolph won the gold medal in the men's 500-meter event.


Photos, left to right: © Rick Rickman/NewSport/NewSport/Corbis; © Joe Cavaretta/AP Wide World.