Day one of the Olympic schedule featured the debut of team figure skating, which is a new event added to the Olympics this year in Sochi. The team figure skating event is a unique and fresh addition to the regular figure skating events. This year, 10 countries will participate in the team event, and they will take part in all the skating programs that fans are familiar with; the only difference is they will be scored as a country.
Each country has put forth a man, a woman, a pair and an ice dance couple to represent their country in a variety of skating programs. The man and woman will compete in the men and women’s short and free routines, while the pair and ice dance couple will compete in the pair short, pair free, short dance, and free dance routines.
The scoring for each routine will follow the standard Olympic judging criteria. However, after the results have been determined, the participants will earn points for their country depending on where they placed. First place is worth 10 points for your country, second place is worth 9, third place is 8, and so on and so forth. Whichever countries have the highest total of points after all the programs have been completed will receive medals.
Day one of the new event saw the Men’s and Pair’s shorts come to a conclusion. In the Men’s short routine it was Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu who stole the show. Hanyu performed a near flawless short routine that featured a masterfully executed quadruple toe loop. Hanyu’s score of 97.98 was good enough for first place as he earned Japan 10 points in the Men’s short routine.
Second place in the Men’s short went to the hometown hero, Evgeny Plyushchenko. The Russian superstar did not put forth his best performance; nonetheless his score of 91.39 propelled him into second place and gave the Russian squad nine points.
Third place went to three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada. Despite nearly falling in his routine, Chan was able to recover and put together a performance that earned him a score of 89.71 and eight points for team Canada.
Coming off his record setting score of 99.86 at the U.S. figure skating championships last month, American Jeremy Abbot fell during a quad jump attempt and ended with a score of 65.65. Abbot finished seventh in the Men’s short and gave the U.S. four points.
The second new team figure skating event that debuted on the opening night of Sochi 2014 was the Pairs’ short routine. In this routine, it was the Russian hosts who dominated. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov put on a stunning routine that had the home crowd roaring. They would add 10 points for their country as they finished with a score 83.79, which was 10 points higher than the second place couple.
Speaking of that second place couple, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford put together a stellar routine which earned nine points for Team Canada and a score of 73.10. The Canadians are regarded as the most well-rounded country in the team figure skating event.
Third place in the Pair’s short program went to Chinese couple Peng Cheng, and Zhang Hao as they added seven points to Team China’s total. After earning 10 points in the Men’s short, Japan’s Narumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kihara, fell to seventh place, and were only able to earn three points for Japan.
After day one of Sochi’s newest team figure skating event, Russia is sitting in first place with 19 points, Canada is in second with 17 points, and China is in third with 15 points. The standings are certainly going to shuffle in the upcoming weeks with six team events still to take place so do not count any country out yet. With the opening ceremonies taking place tomorrow, the 2014 Olympic games in Sochi have officially begun.
By Eric Kummel