AAP staff report
Colorado Springs, Colo. (Jan. 12, 2014) — U.S. Figure Skating announced on Sunday named pairs skaters Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay, and sibling ice dance competitors Alex and Maia Shibutani to the U.S. Olympic Figure Skating Team, along with Mirai Nagasu as an alternate in the ladies singles event.
The skaters will compete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games that will take place Feb. 6-23, in Sochi, Russia.
The ice dance teams include six-time U.S. champions Meryl Davis and Charlie White; two-time reigning U.S. silver medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates; and two-time reigning U.S. bronze medalists Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani.
The team alternates include Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue; Alexandra Aldridge and Daniel Eaton; and Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt
Alex Hideo Shibutani, 22, and his sister, Maia Harumi Shibutani, 19, were the 2011 World bronze medalist, 2011 Four Continents silver medalist, 2011 NHK Trophy champion, 2009 World Junior silver medalist, and a four-time U.S. national medalist.
The two were raised in Colorado Springs and Ann Arbor, Michigan where they now attend the University of Michigan. Their coaches include Marina Zoueva, Oleg Epstein, choreographers Marina Zoueva, Corky Ballas, Travis Payne, and Stacy Walker.
The Shibutani’s posted a message following the Olympic announcement on their web site.
“While it is the summer and technically the “off-season”, this has been a very busy time for us,” they said. “We are so excited about our plans for the upcoming season, and we wanted to continue to share our journey with you.
“This will be our 10th year skating together as a team! It will also be the year that we work towards making our biggest dream come true — that of becoming members of the U.S. Team at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.”
The American pairs skating teams include two-time reigning U.S. champions Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, along with Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay, who will be competing in their first Olympics since starting training together in 2011 in Ellenton, Fla.
The alternates include the teams of Caydee Denney and John Coughlin; Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim; and Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier.
Zhang and Bartholomay started out competing at Grand Prix events Skate America, and the 2013 Cup of China, finishing 7th and 6th, before taking fourth at the 2013 Four Continents Championships, and the silver medal at the 2014 U.S. Championships which landed them a spot on the Olympic team.
Zhang, 20, was raised in Riverdale, NY and graduated from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South in 2011. As a singles skater Zhang won the novice bronze medal at the 2008 U.S. Championships, and placed 6th on the junior level at the 2010 U.S. Championships.
Zhang’s first competition pairs partner was Taylor Toth. They won the junior gold medal at the 2010 U.S. Championships and later withdrew from the 2011 event when to Zhang suffered a rib injury and the team announced a split in 2011.
Mirai Nagasu, 20, of Arcadia, Calif., competed at the 2010 Olympics and took fourth place. She was the 2008 U.S. national champion, 2010 U.S. silver medalist, and the 2011 Four Continents bronze medalist.
Gracie Gold won her first U.S. title Saturday at the 2014 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships and will top the ladies singles team with Polina Edmunds, 2014 U.S. silver medalist; and Ashley Wagner, 2012-13 U.S. champion. The other two alternates are Samantha Cesario and Courtney Hicks.