Today begins the pairs event at the Olympics with the short program tonight. For each event during the Games, I'm going to introduce you to the American skaters and share my favorite programs of theirs. Let's get started!!
American pairs haven't historically earned many medals at the Olympics, but we've seen some great performances from our pairs over the years at the Games. I'm expecting more special performances this year from our two pairs - Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir and Felicia Zhang/Nathan Bartholomay.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, the 2013 and 2014 national champions, train at the Skating Club of Boston. I first saw them compete on the junior level where they captured the bronze medal at Junior Worlds in 2009. I loved how huge all their elements were. Over the past few years they've grown so much as performers and have become so in sync as a team. My favorite program of theirs is their tango from the 2012-2013 season. The choreography was wonderfully intricate, and they totally sold it from beginning to end!
One of my favorite photos I've taken of Marissa and Simon - when they learned they'd won their first national title:
Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay
Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay train in Ellenton, Florida. They've come such a long way in their three years together. I remember seeing them at the U.S. International Classic in September 2012 and thinking they had a lot of potential, but they still had that "new team" look. Now they have completely gelled as a team! My favorite program of theirs is their Les Miserables long program this season. They skated the heck out of it at nationals and brought the house down!
One of my favorite photos I've taken of Felicia and Nate - near the end of their amazing free skate at this year's nationals. The joy on their faces is unmistakable:
I hope all the pairs skate lights out and we see lots of personal best scores. Wishing loads of luck to all the competitors in the short program tonight! Don't forget to enter the Olympic Extravaganza giveaway in the Rafflecopter below. The second prize will be given away tomorrow!