CANADA TEAM SKATING REIGNS SUPREME IN PYEONGCHANG

The team skating competition had already got underway before the opening ceremony took place in PyeongChang on February 9th. With the time difference between South Korea and the UK being 9 hours, the action took place in the small hours of the morning, and I relied on replays and highlights to catch the event. This has been made easier for me due to improved signal on my mobile phone, and having a greater data allowance on my contract. So I’ve delighted in finding coverage on the BBCiPlayer and unearthing full result details on the BBC Sport app. We don’t have internet/Wi-Fi connections at home, so catch-up services or paid for sport channels are not an option.

So the team results would be given a points allocation, with the highest score receiving 10 points down to the lowest receiving 1 point. Medals would be awarded to the nations with the highest amount of points accumulated. Initially ten teams began the competition all taking part in the short program, before the top five nations progressed into the free program. All four disciplines (Men’s singles, Women’s singles, Pairs & Ice-Dance) were represented, so obviously nations with a greater depth of talent had a better chance of medal success.

After the short program the following nations sadly took no further part: China 6th (18 pts): Germany 7th (16 pts): Israel 8th (13 pts): Korea 9th (13 pts): France 10th (13 pts). Going into the final phase in order were Team Canada 1st (35 pts), OAR (31 pts), USA (29 pts), Japan (26 pts) and Italy (26 pts). Each country had the opportunity to switch a maximum of two performers over all four disciplines.

OVERALL TEAM FIGURE SKATING RESULTS

Gold CANADA (73 pts): Silver OAR (66 pts): Bronze USA (62 pts)

Team Figure Skating Individual Section Winners

PAIRS: Short Program: EVGENIA TARASOVA & VLADIMIR MOROZOV (OAR) Score 80.92 pts

PAIRS: Free Program: MEGAN DUHAMEL & ERIC RADFORD (Canada) Score 148.51 pts

WOMEN’S: Short Program: EVGENIA MEDVEDEVA (OAR) Score 81.06

WOMEN’S: Free Program: ALINA ZAGITOVA (OAR) Score 158.05 pts

MEN’S: Short Program: SHOMA UNO (Japan) Score 103.25 pts

MEN’S: Free Program: PATRICK CHAN (Canada) Score 179.75 pts

ICE-DANCE: Short Program: TESSA VIRTUE & SCOTT MOIR (Canada) Score 80.51 pts

ICE-DANCE: Free Program: TESSA VIRTUE & SCOTT MOIR (Canada) Score 118.1 pts

Canada triumphed by not having any competitor below third place in each program, with Patrick Chan not fully showing his prowess, suffering uncharacteristic falls in both his short and free routines. I was greatly impressed by the Israeli men’s competitor Alexei Bychenko in the short program who came second, between Uno & Chan. Bychenko skated out of his skin and pulled off a complex routine nailing his quadruple jumps, unlike many others. Could he be a dark horse for a podium place in the individual competition? It all depends on the strength of his free routine, which viewers didn’t get to see as Israel failed to progress. Another surprise came from the Italy Pairs free routine from Valentina Marchei & Ondrej Hotarek who placed second behind the Canadians. Unlike Duhamel & Radford however, the Italians have only been a partnership for a short time, both having placed 11th in Sochi, Marchei as an individual and Hotarek with another partner in Pairs. Their jaunty joyful routine was fantastic to watch, and I thought they could be a real force in the future, if not today. Where medals are concerned the Canadians in Pairs are dominant, whilst the OAR, Germany and USA are snapping at the heels, with Japan and China lurking. Italy used a different partnership in the short program, so it’s difficult to really measure how Marchei & Hotarek fully compare against Duhamel & Radford. But it could make the Pairs competition a lot more interesting! In the Women’s short program Evgenia Medvedeva for OAR produced an elegant, powerful and very precise routine, whilst another OAR skater Alina Zagitova aged 15 a vision in red, pulled off with aplomb the most difficult combination of any woman, a triple lutz followed by a triple loop in her free routine. Alina reminded me of a ballerina spinning round in a jewellery box, she looked so delicate yet dedicated to her dance, and looked from her skating far more mature than her years suggest. Behind Zagitova came American Mirai Nagasu who gave a lovely performance and Canadian Gabrielle Daleman came third with her Rhapsody in Blue free routine. Her fast footwork and spins into the finale were fantastic. Rounding off the team competition Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir of Canada expressed perfectly why they are at the top of their game in Ice-Dance competition. Their synchronicity, power and passion flowed with the Moulin Rouge music, yet an equally beautiful subtlety and delicacy emerged through the slower movements, making an absolutely sublime viewing experience.

Team Canada top the podium (image credit abmj taken from BBC TV coverage)
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