Canada struck gold at the Figure Skating team event at PyeongChang 2018 with seven points to spare. The Olympic Athletes from Russia earned the silver medal ahead of team USA, who repeated as bronze medalists.
Four years ago, Russia had won gold and Canada silver at the inaugural Olympic team event in Sochi. This time Canada scored 73 points, while OAR had 66 and the USA collected 62 points.
2010 Olympic Ice Dance Champions Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir and 2014 Olympic silver medalist Patrick Chan sealed victory for the experienced Canadian squad by winning their segments. Virtue / Moir put out a powerful dance to “Moulin Rouge” that featured five level-four elements. Chan was much improved over the Short Program and landed two quadruple toeloops, but fell on the triple Axel in his Free Skating to “Hallelujah”.
Patrick Chan (CAN) ©AFP
"We’re obviously thrilled to be Olympic Team Champions. We’re really proud of ourselves because we weren’t happy with our approach in Sochi. We felt we were too casual and were using it more as a simulation," Moir said. “Tessa (Virtue) and I, Eric (Radford) and Meagan (Duhamel) came home with a sour taste in our mouths. We had a chance at Olympic gold and we were a little too casual about it. We wanted to win the team event in 2018 and we believed in ourselves and we talked about it as a team. We wanted to make sure that we got this gold. As Canadians, we were born on the ice. We think we’re the best in the world,” he continued.
Chan echoed his teammate's sentiment. "This time we really want to nail it into the coffin and win this thing," he noted.
Gabrielle Daleman contributed with a third place in the ladies free skating to the team result. Two-time World Champions Meagan Duhamel / Eric Radford and World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond competed in the team as well.
Alina Zagitova easily outskated the field in the Ladies Free Skating with a personal best performance to take first place and ten points to help her team to secure the silver. She landed the maximum of seven triples including her trademark triple Lutz-triple loop combination in her “Don Quixote” routine. Mikhail Kolyada had a much stronger showing than in his Short Program ranked second with his Elvis Presley program in the Men’s Free Skating to add nine points to the team score. European silver medalists Ekaterina Borbova / Dmitri Soloviev were third with their Free Dance to “Oblivion” and “Beethoven’s Five Secrets”.
Alina Zagitova (OAR) ©AFP
"For many of us it is the first Olympic Games and it is a valuable experience to work as a team. Yes, we had non-Olympic team competitions before, but these are incredible emotions, it is a completely different competition," two-time World Champion Evgenia Medvedeva said. "We all came here to feel that magic of the Olympic Games and it really exists. We create this magic ourselves supporting each other. To win a silver medal at the Olympic Winter Games is awesome," she added.
For team USA, Mira Nagasu landed a rare triple Axel in the Ladies free skating to finish second. ISU Grand Prix Final bronze medalists Maia Shibutani / Alex Shibutani picked up a second place as well while Adam Rippon was third with a clean performance.
Maia Shibutani / Alex Shibutani ©Getty Images
"Our team is incredibly proud to have won another (bronze medal in the team event)," team captain Alexa Scimeca Knierim shared. "We had a great joint effort. Before the Shibutanis took their starting pose they looked over to our box, gave us a nod to let us know they're going to do their best for us. We are a very close group", she added.
Italy's medal hopes faded away as 2014 Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner and 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini / Luca Lanotte came only fourth in their segments. Japan remained in fifth place.
Figure Skating Team event medalists ©Getty Images
The Figure Skating team competition in the Gangneung Ice Arena resumes on February 14 with the Pair Skating Short Program.