Who's Back

Since missing out on a podium finish in the men's singles events in PyeongChang, American star Nathan Chen has bounced back -- with a vengeance. The 22-year-old world record holder has won every contest he's entered since the 2018 Games, both domestic and international, including three straight World Championships. Chen also started college at Yale University, taking a leave of absence to prepare for the Beijing Games. 

American Jason Brown, a 2014 Olympian and 2018 Olympic alternate, is the No. 2-ranked American behind Chen this season, and No. 4 in the world. 

Two-time gold medalist Yuzuru Hanyu dealt with injury in late 2018 and had to pull out of Japan's national championships. He returned to compete at the 2019 World Championships, still suffering from an ankle injury, and finished second behind Chen. Later in 2019, Hanyu competed at his first Japanese championships since the 2016-17 season, but took silver behind Shoma Uno -- his first loss to Uno. Later in the season, he became the first male skater to achieve a Super Slam with a win at the Four Continents Championships. At the 2021 World Championships, Hanyu took third overall, his first finish below second in any competition since 2014. 

PyeongChang silver medalist Shoma Uno took silver at the 2018 World Championships, then won his third straight national title. He was the gold medalist at the 2019 Four Continents Championships, marking his first major international win, then finished fourth at the 2019 World Championships. Uno then announced he was parting ways with his longtime coaches, and it would be nearly six months before he named his next main coach -- Stephane Lambiel. He went on to win the 2019 Japan Figure Skating Championships, earning his first individual victory over Hanyu. Uno placed third at the 2020-21 Japan Championships and fourth at 2021 Worlds. 

After winning Olympic gold at 15 years old, Alina Zagitova finished fifth overall at the 2018 World Championships -- her only loss of the 2017-18 season. She then took fifth overall at the 2019 Russian Championships, but was selected for the European Championships, where she finished second. Zagitova followed that up with a world title. She struggled early in the 2019-20 season, however, and has opted to take an extended hiatus since. 

Pairs silver medalists Sui Wenjing and Han Cong returned to international competition at the 2019 Four Continents Championships, which they won, then followed that up with their second world title. The duo again won the 2020 Four Continents Championships. Han underwent hip surgery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and with only a couple months of training before the 2021 World Championships, took silver. 

Ice dance silver medalists Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron followed up the Olympics with a world title in 2018. The pair next won the 2019 French national title, then were upset by .14 points at the 2020 European Championships. After a number of pandemic-related cancellations, the duo also contracted COVID-19 and were away from the ice for three weeks. They ended up withdrawing from the 2021 World Championships in order to focus on the 2021-22 season and the 2022 Olympics.

It's not clear if American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani -- known as the Shib Sibs -- will try for Beijing. They did not compete at the 2018 World Championships after winning Olympic bronze, then sat out the next two seasons. Maia had a malignant tumor removed from her kidney in December 2019.

American Karen Chen, who finished 11th in ladies' singles in 2018, is currently ranked No. 5 in the world. Teammate Bradie Tennell, who won a bronze medal in the PyeongChang, team event is currently ranked No. 8.

Ice dance pair Madison Chock and Evan Bates finished fifth at the 2018 World Championships, then Chock underwent ankle surgery and the duo sat out the first half of the 2018-19 season. They returned for the 2019 U.S. Championships, taking silver, then won gold at the Four Continents Championships, then took sixth at the 2019 World Championships. In 2020, Chock and Bates won the U.S. title and defended their Four Continents gold. They finished second at the 2021 U.S. Championships, then fourth at the World Championships.

New Faces

American teenager Alysa Liu won U.S. national titles in 2019 and 2020. The 16-year-old made her senior international debut in 2021 at the Cranberry Cup, where she came in first. Liu was selected by U.S. Figure Skating to compete at the 2021 Nebelhorn Trophy with the goal of qualifying the nation for a third Olympic berth, and she won the competition. 

Yuma Kagiyama (Japan), Kevin Aymoz (France) and Evgeni Semenenko (ROC) are the three men's singles athletes ranked in the top 10 in the world last season who do not have any Olympic experience. Kagiyama, 18, is the 2021 world silver medalist. Aymoz, 24, has placed as high as fourth at the European Championships, while the 18-year-old Semenenko placed in the top eight at 2021 Worlds. 

On the women's side, ROC 17-year-old Anna Shcherbakova is the current world No. 1 and 2021 World Champion. Her teammate Alexandra Trusova, 17, is also among the top young athletes in the sport. Nineteen-year-old Rika Kihira, a two-time Four Continents champion, is the second-ranked Japanese woman in singles behind Kaori Sakamoto, who competed in the 2018 team event. 

In pairs, Olympian Alexa Knierim has a new partner in Brandon Frazier after her husband and former partner, Chris, retired. Since announcing their new partnership in early 2020, the pair won the 2020 Skate America competition and the 2021 U.S. National Championships. The duo was ranked No. 6 in the world for the 2020-21 season. 

Who's Gone

Men's singles bronze medalist Javier Fernandez retired in 2019 after winning his seventh European title.

After dealing with chronic back pain and later, a severe bout of COVID-19, ladies singles silver medalist Evgenia Medvedeva announced she would be sitting out the 2021-22 season. 

Bronze medalist Kaetlyn Osmond announced her retirement in 2019.

Aljona Savchenko (a five-time Olympian) and Bruno Massot, the Olympic pairs champions, announced after the 2018 World Championships that they would be taking an indefinite break from competition. In April 2021, they announced they would not be returning to competition. 

Canadian pair Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, the PyeongChange bronze medalists, retired after the Games. 

After 22 years as partners, 2018 ice dance gold medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir announced their retirement in 2019. The pair also won gold in 2010 and silver in 2014.