Feb. 11 (UPI) — Canada grabbed its first gold medal at Pyeongchang Olympics in the figure skating team event on Monday with strong and balanced performances of all disciplines.
Canada took the lead in the team standings since the opening day on Friday and scored 73 points to win the championship. Defending champion Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) won the silver with 66 points and the United States took home their second bronze medal in the event with 62 points. Italy settled for the fourth and Japan the fifth.
Sochi silver medallist Patrick Chan earned his first-ever Olympic gold medal by helping Canada to secure the lead in the team standing with a season best 179.75 points in men’s free skating. Mikhail Kolyada of the OAR came after Chan with 173.57 points and American Adam Rippon finished in the third with 172.98 points.
The 27-year-old veteran Chan, despite an unfinished combination of triple axel plus single loop plus triple salchow jumps, managed to make up his lost technical score with an additional double toe loop jump to a planned triple flip jump.
Vancouver Games ice dance champion pair Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir harvested their second Olympic gold, while capturing the ice dance free dance with a confident and dynamic performance, scoring 118.10 points.
Brother and sister pairing Maia and Alex Shibutani of the United States took the second with 112.01 points, as Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev of OAR settled for the third with 110.43 points.
In the women’s free skating, talented Alina Zagitova, who is only 15 years old, showed the OAR’s strength with a flawless program to score her season best 158.08 points, earning 10 points for her team. Skating to Miss Saigon, Mirai Nagasu of the United States also refreshed her season best to come second with 137.53 points. Canadian Gabrielle Daleman scored 137.14 points.
China rose to the sixth place from Sochi’s seventh finish in the standing, but the disadvantage in men’s short program and ice dance short dance held back the team for qualification into the final.
The team event is contested by 10 teams. Each team is composed of one man, one woman, and one pair, who will complete a short program, and one ice dance couple who will complete a short dance. The top five out of 10 teams after the short program/short dance qualify for the free skating/free dance segment on Monday.