What to know ahead of Thursday’s free skate women’s figure skating final – NBC Chicago

The figure skaters will take to the ice for the women’s free skate on Thursday morning at the 2022 Winter Olympics, but beyond who will win the gold, there are some notable changes and headlines.

The women’s event is now at the center of a controversial decision as 15-year-old Kamila Valieva was allowed to perform despite testing positive for a banned substance ahead of the Games.

Her performance in the women’s competition could now impact several skaters looking to step onto the podium.

Tuesday morning’s short program saw stunning performances, unfortunate falls and near-stumbles that could play a huge role ahead of Thursday’s final. Now it all comes down to a final skate.

When and where can we watch the Women’s Free Skating Figure Skating Final?

The women’s event started with the short program on Tuesday and ends Thursday morning with the free program.

The women’s free skate final will begin at 4:00 a.m. CT.

The top 25 athletes qualify for the medal round, rather than the typical 24 given the ambiguity of Valieva’s pending situation. Of the 30 skaters who performed on Tuesday, only five will not advance, including skaters from China, Sweden, Britain, Australia and Ukraine.

Below is the full event and streaming information for each figure skating competition day.

NBC 2022 Winter Olympics Figure Skating Coverage Schedule*

Date/Time (ET)



game | February 3 | 8:55 p.m.

Team Event – SP Men and Pairs, Rhythm Dance

BNC | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Sat | February 5 | 8:30 p.m.

🏅 Team Event – Women’s SP, FS Pairs

BNC | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Sun | February 6 | 8:15 p.m.

🏅 Team Event – M/F FS, Free Dance

BNC | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Mon | February 7 | 8:15 p.m.

Men’s Singles Short Program

NBC, United States | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Sea | February 9 | 8:30 p.m.

🏅 Men’s Singles Free Skating

NBC, United States | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Sat | February 12 | 6:00 am

Ice Dance Rhythm Dance

United States | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Sun | February 13 | 8:15 p.m.

🏅 Ice Dance Free Dance

United States | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Tue | February 15 | 5:00 a.m.

Ladies’ Singles Short Program

United States | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

game | February 17 | 5:00 a.m.

🏅 Women’s Singles Free Skating

United States | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Fri | February 18 | 5:30 a.m.

Short program in pairs

United States | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Sat | February 19 | 6:00 am

🏅 Couples Free Skating

BNC | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Sat | February 19 | 11:00 p.m.

Exhibition gala

BNC | Peacock, NBCOlympics.com

Coverage of the free skate will also be rerun in prime time on NBC.

What happened with Kamila Valieva and how does it change the women’s event?

Valieva was back on the Olympic stage on Tuesday, a day after being cleared to compete in the women’s individual event, despite testing positive for a banned drug at a pre-Games event.

Valieva tested positive for the heart drug trimetazidine on December 25 during the Russian championships. It was only after Valieva’s dominating performance in the team event that helped the Russian Olympic Committee win gold, that the results of a Swedish lab’s doping test came to light.

This medal ceremony, in which the United States was to take silver, was initially delayed before the International Olympic Committee declared that it would not be held in Beijing, because a decision on the Valieva’s case could take months.

Regardless of what happens in Thursday’s free skate finals, there will be no podium presentation or medal ceremony if Valieva finishes in the top three. Indeed, the International Olympic Committee, fearing it could still be banned after a full investigation into a doping case, said it would “instead hold dignified medal ceremonies” in the future. The organizing committee also did not explain where or how it could be held.

The 15-year-old came away with the best performance at the Capital Indoor Stadium.

Her doping controversy reshaped women’s competition. Traditionally, only the top 24 skaters advance to the free skate, under the short program qualifying rule. But 25 skaters head into Thursday’s final round, with an extra skater added to the roster so that if Valieva is disqualified later, enough athletes could compete and get a fair shot at winning gold.

What happened during the short program?

You can watch the full stream here:

Check out some of the highlights from the competition below.

Kamila Valieva, the Russian figure skater at the center of the latest Olympic doping controversy, barely held onto her opening triple axis and then survived the rest of her short program to take first place heading into the free skating final of Thursday.

In fact, all three ROC skaters finished in the top four, with reigning world champion Anna Shcherbakova taking second at 80.60 and Aleksandra Trusova finishing fourth at 74.60. Japan’s Kaori Sakamoto placed third with 79.89 points.

Meanwhile, Team USA has three athletes competing in the free skating medal event.

Alysa Liu of the USA team placed eighth with a score of 69.50. Despite a difficult fall, Mariah Bell proved her resilience and placed eleventh with a score of 65.38. Karen Chen placed thirteenth with a score of 64.11.

NBC Chicago

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