Much like how it was in the pairs event, the battle for gold will come down to two teams on opposite ends of their careers - one team has already established themselves as legends of the sport after four Olympic medals (including individual gold and silver), the other is just getting started and is poised to dominate in the years to come. In this battle of the giants, who comes away with that title? Watch for the levels - cleanness in elements will pave the way.
Oh, and did I mention I'm doing a top 20 prediction??
Official hashtag: #PyeongChang2018
GOLD Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron FRA - Undefeated since relinquishing their World title last season to Virtue/Moir, including a win at the Grand Prix Final this season at Grand Prix Final, Papadakis/Cizeron have been on fire this season. Where they may trail Virtue/Moir this week is in the short dance, so they will need to keep their levels high and keep it close if they go into the free in second place. Their free dance is and always has been their strength, but this will likely come down to who can skate the cleanest in this event.
SILVER Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir CAN - Virtue/Moir were coming in hot after two stunning skates at Canadians. But though they won the gold with Canada in the Team Event, their scores were less than what they were looking for, especially in the short dance, where they didn't get the levels that they normally get for their Rhumba pattern. That said, this could very well be an advantage for them over Papadakis/Cizeron, because they were able to take the feedback and work on it over the past week. A lead of 2-3 points after the short will go a long way toward that second Olympic individual gold.
BRONZE Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue USA - The U.S. champs didn't get a chance to compete in the Team Event, so they will probably be even hungrier to get onto that podium this week. Over the past couple of seasons, they have really developed and matured by leaps and bounds - their power and their willingness to push everything to the edge have set them apart, and they will need to use every bit of that as a differentiator for the podium. Of all the teams, their free dance is perhaps the most eye-catching. But their placement in the final group for the short dance, due to their world standing, may make a huge difference given how tightly packed it is for that bronze medal spot.
4. Maia Shibutani/Alex Shibutani USA - It's been a bit of a frustrating season for the Shibutanis - two seasons of progress that seem to have come to a bit of a stall this year. And it's not their short dance, which has generally been their weakness. They have the best short dance of their career and have performed it to full potential this season. Surprisingly, it's their free dance that has given them problems - so much so that they have made multiple substantial changes to it throughout the season. Like Virtue/Moir, they went through the Team Event with some levels issues. A medal will depend on how precise they are this week.
5. Madison Chock/Evan Bates USA - They have been bubbling under all season, with some of the best free dance scores of their career. It's their short dance that has been the liability, especially relative to their teammates, and they have taken steps to strengthen that short dance to get themselves in contention for a medal. Question is, have they done enough to offset the difference?
6. Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje CAN - In a lot of ways, Weaver/Poje are the dark horses - they have been somewhat under the radar for the past few seasons, but they are the only team here who have the remarkable record of finishing fifth or higher at the past seven World Championships. Their signature free dance can be their ticket to a medal, but it will require them to really avoid the mistakes that they are prone to making, particularly on their twizzle sequences.
7. Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev OAR - Team silver here in hand, Bobrova/Soloviev come into their third Olympics trying to wrestle their way into the top. And while they have improved since the last Olympics, the teams around them have also improved, and perhaps more so. They also have the luxury of having done both programs in the Team Event ...
8. Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte ITA - ... as have Cappellini/Lanotte. In their final Olympics, the 2014 World champions have had some highs this season but also some disappointments, including finishing off the podium at Europeans for the first time since 2012.
9. Piper Gilles/Paul Poirier CAN - After two finishes off the podium on the Grand Prix, Gilles/Poirier scrapped their free dance for a new one that they debuted at Canadians last month. They are absolutely top 10 material this week, but can they figure out a way to crack the top 8?
10. Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri ITA - This is the perfect stage for Guignard/Fabbri to establish themselves as the next Italian team to break into the top. They have had some strong finishes this season, including a career-high fifth at Europeans last month.
And then 11-20:
11. Penny Coomes/Nicholas Buckland GBR
12. Tiffani Zagorski/Jonathan Guerreiro OAR
13. Kana Muramoto/Chris Reed JPN
14. Sara Hurtado/Kirill Khaliavin ESP
15. Natalia Kaliszek/Maksym Spordyriev POL
16. Shiyue Wang/Xinyu Liu CHN
17. Kavita Lorenz/Joti Polizoakis GER
18. Alexandra Nazarova/Maxim Nikitin UKR
19. Yura Min/Alexander Gamelin KOR
20. Marie-Jade Lauriault/Romain Le Gac FRA