2018 Pyeongchang: Medvedeva sets world record, Canada leads figure skating team event

Evgenia Medvedeva set a new world record on Saturday in the women’s short program of the figure skating team competition. The two-time world champion received an 81.06 with a brilliant skate that lifted the Olympic Athletes from Russia into second place in the team competition behind Canada.

Medvedeva breathtaking in Olympic debut

Medvedeva is the reigning world champion who is competing in her first Olympics and she showed her very best form with a mesmerizing performance, drawing cheers from Russian fans in the crowd. She was poised, polished and foot perfect in her short program to Chopin's Nocturne. Afterwards, she commented that she was "happy", but felt she could do even better, a scary thought for her fellow competitiors. "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."

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The 18-year-old overcame a number of hurdles to make it to Pyeongchang, including a broken foot that forced her to withdraw from last year's Grand Prix final and a doping scandal that cast doubt on whether Russia would be allowed to participate at all.

Medvedeva said she felt the majesty of her sport's biggest competition made her want to compete even more: “I competed to feel the magic of the Olympics,” she said following a short program that no one will soon forget.

Reigning Olympic bronze medalist Carolina Kostner hung on for her opening triple flip and triple toe-loop combination, earning 75.10 points to finish in second place. World silver medalist Kaetlyn Osmond was third with 71.38 points step out of her triple flip before under rotating a triple toeloop at the start but regained her composure.

Canada widens lead after Virtue, Moir dominate

Earlier on Sunday, 2010 Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir produced a sizzling routine to put Canada further out in front. The reigning world champions impressed with an impressive midline step sequence that earned them 80.51 points. "We didn't know what to expect," Moir said. "That is the joy of the Olympic Games. I think what we felt is even more special. We have such a solid Canadian team. We are so proud to be a part of it."

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The United States received a strong performance from siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani, whose energetic performance that included smooth twizzles and an impressive rotational lift, finishing second with 75.46 points.

Following their skate, Alex was happy with their routine, stating that "it was our strongest performance that we were looking to put out, I think we made a lot of big steps coming out of Nationals,” he told reporters, referring to the most recent U.S. Championships.

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“The program felt great. We went out there with a job and we’re very happy that we did it,” but he also expressed disappointment at what he thought was a relatively low score.

The Olympic Athletes from Russia finished third with Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, who was part of the Russian team that won the inaugural team event on home ice in Sochi, were third with 74.76 points.

“We had trouble with our rumba,”  Soloviev said to reporters after the competition concluded for the night. “Of course we’re disappointed because we worked on this element more than on the others.”.

Team standings heading into free skates

The team competition will wrap up Sunday night with the men's, women's and ice dance long programs. The scoring is based on placement with 10 points given for first place, nine points for second, eight points in third and so on.

The top five countries advanced from the original group of ten, with the cut coming after the pairs' free skate. Canada sits in first with 45 points, the Olympic Athletes from Russia are second with 39 points while the United States are third on 36 points, Italy fourth with 35 points followed by Japan in fifth with 32 points.