Host City: Salt Lake City, United States
Venue(s): Salt Lake Ice Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
Date Started: February 19, 2002
Date Finished: February 21, 2002
Format: Skaters were ranked on Ordinal Placement, based on judges' points, with final placement for each section determined by Majority Placements. The tiebreaker for the Short Program was the Required Elements score, while the tiebreaker for the Free Skating was the Technical Merit score. Thus, if a skater was ranked first by a majority of the judges, that skater was placed first overall for that section. Ties were broken by a Subsequent Majority rule, i.e., if the skaters were ranked for the same position by the same number of judges, Majority Placement for the next higher position for each skater determined who was ranked higher. Final placement was determined by factored placements. The tiebreakers were then 1) Number of Majority Placements, 2) Total Ordinals of Majority, 3) Total Ordinals. The placement for the the Short Program was factored by 0.5 (33.3%), and the placement for Free Skating was factored by 1.0 (66.7%). The sums of the factored placements were then used to determine final placement, with the Free Skating being the tiebreaker.
Michelle Kwan won the World Championships in 1998-99 and 2001, and placed second in 2000. She had been the best skater in the world since Nagano, and was favored to finally add Olympic gold to her list of titles. Her biggest rival was Russian Irina Slutskaya, who had placed second to Kwan three times at the Worlds, but had won four European Championships by 2002 – she would eventually win that title seven times. Kwan got off to a good start, narrowly winning the short program with Slutskaya second, five first places to four. Young American Sasha Cohen was third after the short, followed by another young American, Sarah Hughes. Cohen was only 18 and Hughes 16, but both were thought to have great potential for the future. In the free skate, Hughes would show how close the future was. She was the first leader to skate in the free program and was solid, but not spectacular, receiving all scores of 5.7 and 5.8. Kwan was next and when she nearly fell early on a triple flip, putting down both hands, she was finished. Her technical scores were mostly 5.6 and 5.7, and better artistic scores could not undo the damage. Slutskaya was the final skater and the title was hers if she could skate cleanly. She almost did, but a few of her landings were less than her best, and her scores were variable, ranging from 5.6 to 5.9. The free skate went to Hughes, five first places to four for Slutskaya. They then tied with 3.0 factored placements, but the free skate was the tiebreaker, giving the gold medal to Hughes, with Kwan winning a bronze medal. Slutskaya was very upset with her artistic scores, as were several of the Russian skaters, and the Russian Federation filed a protest, which was disallowed. Because of injuries in 2006, Michelle Kwan would not make the Olympic team. Her Olympic career ended in 2002, and she is likely the greatest skater never to win Olympic gold.
|1||Sarah Hughes||16||United States||USA||Gold||2.0||3.0||1.0|
|3||Michelle Kwan||21||United States||USA||Bronze||0.5||3.5||3.0|
|4||Sasha Cohen||17||United States||USA||1.5||5.5||4.0|
|DNS r2/2||Tatyana Malinina||29||Uzbekistan||UZB||6.5|
|25 r1/2||Stephanie Zhang||16||Australia||AUS||12.5|
|26 r1/2||Park Bit-Na||16||South Korea||KOR||13.0|
|27 r1/2||Yulia Lebedeva||23||Armenia||ARM||13.5|