What Is the Team Figure Skating Event for the 2018 Olympics?

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Getty Russian figure skating team celebrates on the podium during the Figure Skating Team ceremony during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Figure skating is widely considered an individual sport. However, during the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a new “mixed team” competition was added.

This gave figure skaters the opportunity to medal at an additional event, similar to the gymnastics team event during the summer olympics. Here’s what you need to know about who qualifies for the team event, and how it’s scored:

How Is the Figure Skating Team Event Scored?

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GettyKaetlyn Osmond of Canada competes in the Team Ladies Free Skating during day two of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The team event takes place before the four individual disciplines (ladies, men’s, pairs, and ice dance).

Only 10 countries can qualify to compete in the event, based on how their skaters finished at the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships, the ISU’s Grand Prix series, and other main events.

Each team consists of a woman, a man, a pairs team, and an ice dancing team. Each country’s skating federation will select their six athletes from the pool of skaters qualified to compete at PyeongChang in their individual disciplines.

The actual competition, like most skating competitions, is broken down into two routines: the short program and the free skate or free dance (for ice dancers). Which means there is a total of eight scores per country.

The programs in the team event are scored in the same way that the disciplines are scored. However, the skaters earn points based on their rankings.

After each competition, the highest scoring skater gets 10 points, the second-highest gets nine points, the third-highest gets eight, and so on down the line.

Once the skaters in all disciplines have performed their short programs, the scores are tallied, and only the top five scoring teams will continue on to compete in the free skate.

Who Competes in the Team Event?

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GettyAshley Wagner competes in the Figure Skating Team Ladies Short Program during day one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Each country’s skating federation selects who will represent their team.

Each team is allowed two substitutions. For example, one men’s skater may perform the short program, while another performs the free skate, and one ice dancing team may perform the short dance, while a substitute performs the free dance. That would use the two substitutions allowed.

Each team will have to balance the workload to not exhaust skaters, who could potentially compete four programs in one week.

Entries for each discipline must be submitted 24 hours before each event.

Check out more Winter Olympics coverage from Heavy.

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