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There's a buzz in Vancouver ahead of national figure skating championships

CBC figure skating anaylst P.J. Kwong is in Vancouver for the national championships, and to see which skaters will be named Sunday to Canada's Olympic team.

One can sense the anticipation ahead of the Olympic team being named on Sunday

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir practise ahead of the Canadian national figure skating championships in Vancouver. The event begins Friday, with those named to the Olympic team announced on Sunday. (Kevin Light)

VANCOUVER — So much is going to happen in the next 48 hours.

I have arrived in Vancouver for the national figure skating championships not only to watch the skating, but also to see who will be named to the Olympic team. That announcement will take place on Sunday.

In the meantime, there is a sense of urgency backstage in the rink. I am always struck by the energy as an important competition gets underway. The nationals is perhaps the most important competition of the season. For some skaters, their season will come to a heartbreaking end here. 

For all the competitions that come after, including the Olympics, the Four Continents and world and world junior championships, how a skater performs under the intense scrutiny in Vancouver will factor into determining if their season continues with being named to a team.

CBC Sports' Scott Russell joined Heather Hiscox to preview the field at Canada's National Skating Championships, as the event gets underway Friday in Vancouver 5:59

I sat down to watch the ice dancers practising. It is one of my favourite things to do. You can really get a sense of what skaters might be going through. There is an expression in this sport that says skaters will sometimes leave their best performance on the practice rink. What I am looking for is just the right amount of confidence, skill and practice "success."

The hard work is already done by the time the competition starts. And for teams like Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the work has been ongoing. The pair went home and examined everything after their silver-medal finish at the Grand Prix Final behind their main Olympic rivals, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron from France. 

After the practice, Virtue and Moir spoke about not being reactive in their changes, but rather making conscious choices about how they wanted to evolve their programs.

"Skating is in our blood. It's in our DNA," Virtue said.

I called their Moulin Rouge free dance smoldering. Neither wanted to be pinned down to just one word to describe what their program felt like for them, but Virtue was excited about the "many points of departure" on the emotional scale of this free dance.

It is quite the ride.

Kaetlyn Osmond at practice on Friday. (Kevin Light)

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