Russia wins Olympic Team Event
Team Russia skated off with the gold medal in the inaugural team event at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. Team Canada claimed the silver medal while team USA earned the bronze.
The Russian figure skaters gave their home country its first gold medal at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. With strong performances in all disciplines in all phases of the competition, the Russians, led by 2006 Olympic champion Evgeni Plushenko racked up 75 points.
The men were up first and Plushenko won the segment with 168.20 points. The 31-year-old landed a quadruple toeloop and five triples including two Axels, but he doubled two jumps at the end of his routine set to a selection of music pieces from previous programs.
Plushenko earned 10 placements points for Russia. Julia Lipnitskaia followed up in the ladies free skating with a flawless performance to “Schindler’s List” that featured seven triple jumps. She scored 141.51 points and pocketed another 10 points for her team. Ice dancers Elena Ilinykh/Nikita Katsalapov came third in the free dance with a dramatic performance to “Swan Lake”. They collected eight points.
“I am very happy of course with my performance and that of our team. I tried my best in both the short program and the long program. I think today I would give myself a 4+ (equivalent to B+)”, Lipnitskaia said.
“I was actually quite worried, not for myself but for the other guys. They are all very strong skaters but some of them were skating for the first time (at the Olympic Winter Games) so I was a little bit nervous for them”, he continued. “I don’t know how to explain the feeling I had out there. I’m very happy to have helped win the first gold medal for Russia”, Plushenko commented.
Plushenko added the team gold to his individual gold from 2006 and two silver medals from 2002 and 2010 to tie Sweden’s Gilles Grafström with the record of four Olympic figure skating medals.
The Canadian team which included defending Olympic champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir scored 65 points.
Virtue/Moir were ranked second in the free dance to music by Alexander Glazunov and Alexander Skriabin and picked up nine points for their team. Kevin Reynolds nailed three quadruple jumps in his program to finish second in the men’s free skating. He collected nine points for the Canadians as well. Six points came from Kaetlyn Osmond, who placed fifth in the ladies free skating.
“We’re so proud of our team. I think Canada really showed its true colors. It’s so special to be a part of this event”, Virtue said. “It’s incredibly meaningful to us to be able to share it with the whole team. There were a lot of personal bests here and I can’t wait to stand on the podium with everyone”, she continued.
Team USA, captained by ice dance world champions Meryl Davis/Charlie White, totaled 60 points.
Davis/White put out a strong performance to “Sheherazade” to clearly win the free dance with a new record score of 114.34 points and to claim 10 points for team USA. Gracie Gold’s second place in the ladies free with “Sleeping Beauty” meant nine points and Jason Brown added seven points to the team score by placing fourth in the men’s free skating. “As a team, we did amazing. Really solid skates. A bronze medal isn’t too shabby. So we’re excited for that, too”, White noted.
Team Italy edged out team Japan for fourth place with 52 points. Japan had 51 points.
10 teams consisting of one lady, one man, one pairs and one ice dance couple competed in the event that lasted three days. Five teams were eliminated following the short program phase on Saturday.
The figure skating competition at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games continues Tuesday with the Pairs Short Program.
Information from ISU press release was used in this report.