If, like me, the only difference you can see between pairs and individual figure skating at the Winter Olympics is that one involves two people and the other doesn't, you're about to get a primer. Pairs events aren't just individual routines doubled to fit two people; the two disciplines involve different sets of rules, times, scoring, required elements, and even forbidden moves. Both are incredibly difficult and dangerous events, and while they use a lot of the same skills, they produce vastly different results on the ice. It's time for a guide to pairs versus individual figure skating, and why both deserve a look in PyeongChang.
The U.S. figure skating team is filled with strong medal contenders, which is a particularly good reason to pay attention to the events in South Korea in 2018. Nathan Chen is competing in the men's individual figure skating, and as the only undefeated male skater in the world this year, he's considered to be aiming for gold. Meanwhile, the U.S.'s pairs competitors, married couple Chris Knierim and Alexa Scimeca-Knierim, just aced the National Championships for the second time and are looking to make their mark two years after Alexa was hospitalized for a rare gastrointestinal condition. It's shaping up to be a very interesting Winter Olympics, so here's your guide to the differences between pairs and individual figure skating to help you watch twizzles and triple axels with the best of them.