The 21st Winter Olympic Games 2010 which was held in Vancouver, Canada beginning February 12, came to an official close on February 28. This Olympiad saw the participation of some 2600 athletes from 82 nations competing in 86 winter sports in 15 disciplines. Canada topped the medal tally with 14 golds, 7 silvers and 5 bronzes followed by Germany with 10 golds, 13 silvers & 7 bronzes and the United States of America with 9 golds, 15 silvers & 13 bronzes for the overall top 3 placings. It is the first time Canada have topped the medal standings at a Winter or Summer Olympic Games.
One of the most popular attractions at the Vancouver Olympics was figure skating, a sport known for its grace, elegance and athleticism - attributes quite similar to those of dancesport. In this event, China won first placing with 1 gold and 1 silver. The United States which also collected a gold and a silver was placed second whilst Canada came in third with 1 gold and 1 bronze. South Korea bagged the remaining gold to take fourth placing. The other medal winners were the Russian Federation and Japan with 1 silver and 1 bronze each, and Germany with a solitary bronze.
There are 4 disciplines in figure skating as explained in vancouver2010.com, the official website of the Games. They are singles (men and ladies), pairs and ice dance. In singles skating, skaters must complete both a short programme of required steps, jumps, spins and combinations and a longer free skating programme, both set to music. The pairs event follows the same format as the singles. In this event one male and one female skater work in unison incorporating lifts, throws and synchronized jumps, spins and spirals linked harmoniously by steps and other movements.
Ice dance is performed by a couple and is based on their rhythm, interpretation of music and precise steps. Unlike pairs skating, ice dance does not include overhead lifts and jumps. Ice dance is similar to ballroom dancing, as the skaters remain in contact throughout most of the programme. An ice dance competition is made up of three parts: one compulsory dance, an original dance and a free dance. Compulsory dance is the skating of prescribed patterns to music incorporating pre-determined rhythm and tempo. Original dance and free dance are created by each couple to music of their own choice.