Team Canada ©Getty Images
Team Canada strengthened their lead as Olympic Athletes from Russia jumped from fourth to second place on day two of the Figure Skating team event at PyeongChang 2018.
Following the Short Dance, Ladies Short Program and Pairs Free Skating, the Canadians now have 45 points while the Olympic Athletes from Russia are six points behind (39). Team USA dropped to third on 36 points.
Canada once more could rely on strong performances from two-time World Pairs Champions Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford and Olympic Ice Dance Champions Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir won the Pairs Free Skating and the Short Dance respectively to secure 10 points each. Virtue / Moir set the tone with a sharp Rhumba, Cha Cha and Samba to music by the Rolling Stones and Santana that featured three-level four elements. However, the Rhumba pattern dance was rated a level two and the side by side footwork a level three. Duhamel / Radford’s program to “Hometown Glory” by Adele was highlighted by a triple twist, side by side triple Lutz and a throw triple Lutz. Duhamel only stumbled on the landing of the throw quadruple Salchow. World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond placed third in the Ladies Short Program.
"Obviously we are in a good position right now, but we know that there are three big events to come," Moir said. "We're most impressed with the leadership that we saw in Meagan (Duhamel) and Eric (Radford). They just seem to have control of every second they are on the ice. We needed that, especially after we didn't get off to the start we were looking for yesterday (Friday). Our skaters have been sticking with it and that is so important with this team event, because it's an up and down, it's a roller coaster of emotions," he continued. "We talked about that a lot before we came here. You just have to keep going, you never know when the extra couple of points will help you out."
The OAR team recovered from their shaky start on Friday with two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva putting on a spectacular performance to a Nocturne by Chopin, not only taking 10 points for her team, but also setting a new highest score of 81.06 points for the Ladies' Short Program. She hit a triple flip-triple toe, a triple loop and collected a level four for her spins and footwork. In spite of her clean performance and her score, the 18-year-old was not totally satisfied. “I know what I can do better. On a scale of five, I'd give myself a four, maybe a bit less, a four minus a quarter.
"I know how I can skate in practice and I know that I can be more confident in myself. I think that is why I went out on the ice today, to feel myself and now I know the whole set-up and know for what to prepare,” she noted.
European ice dance silver medalists Ekaterina Borbova / Dmitri Soloviev ranked third in the Short Dance. Skating to Rhumba and Samba, the seven-time National Champions earned a level four for three elements and added eight points to the team score. Natalia Zabiiako / Alexander Enbert came third as well in the Pairs Free Skating with a solid performance, but they doubled the Salchow.
"We are very pleased how the second day of the competition went for us," Bobrova said. "We did not doubt Zhenia (Evgenia) Medvedeva. We are very happy that she dealt with her nerves. She is only 18 years old and these are her first Olympics.”
Maia Shibutani & Alex Shibutani (USA) ©Getty Images
ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Maia Shibutani / Alex Shibutani were the highest scoring team members for the USA by coming second in the Short Dance. They delivered a characteristic Mambo, Cha Cha and Samba, but only the twizzles and the rotational lift earned a level four. They picked up 9 points for team USA. Pair skaters Alexa Scimeca Knierim / Chris Knierim ranked fourth and US Champion Bradie Tennell came fifth.
“We're so proud of everyone's performances, as a team I think we've been putting out some great skates," Alex Shibutani said. "Tomorrow is a big day but I know everyone is going to bring it. So we're looking forward to it."
Italy stayed in medal contention, moving up to fourth place, with 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner and pair skaters Valentina Marchei / Ondrej Hotarek taking nine points each for second places. 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini / Luca Lanotte were fourth in the Short Dance. The Italians are now one point behind USA on 35 points.
Japan slipped from third to fifth, but qualified for the final with 32 points. The remaining five from China, Germany, Israel, Korea and France teams dropped out.
The figure skating team competition concludes Monday with the Men and Ladies Free Skating and the FreeDance.