Since the U.S. National figure skating championships are starting this week and the Olympic team selections will be made, I thought I should let you know how skaters actually can make the team in the United States. I will be working off of this Athlete Selection Procedures document from U.S. Figure Skating, which was revised on December 31, 2009.
According to the document, the following six events can be considered in the Olympic athlete selection process:
-2010 U.S. Nationals
-2009/2010 ISU Grand Prix Final
-2009 ISU World Figure Skating Championships
-2009 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships
-2009 World Junior Figure Skating Championships
-2009/2010 ISU Junior Grand Prix Final
Athletes who could not compete in any of the above events due to injury can petition for a spot on the Olympic team, although this normally happens when an athlete misses the Nationals.
Athlete Olympic team selection nomination announcements will occur at the conclusion of each discipline as follows:
Pairs: January 16, 2010
Men: January 17, 2010
Ice Dance and Ladies: January 23, 2010
Number of Olympic Spots:
The number of Olympic spots were based on each country's performance in the previous world championships. Here are the number of athletes/teams the U.S. is sending to the Vancouver Olympics:
Ice Dance: 3
What Usually Happens?
This is not from the above document. But conventional wisdom tends to be that the National champion definitely gets selected to the Olympic team, and then often whoever finishes after them tend to be selected as well, unless there is an injury petition or something like that. (This doesn't mean that there isn't controversy over the scores, oh, but there is). The committee likely has discretionary selection in case there is some sort of a disaster, like world champion and Grand Prix final champion Evan Lysacek has the worst meet of his life and comes in fifth or something.