News / Europe

Team Figure Skating Debuts at Sochi Olympics

Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy compete in the team pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Feb. 6, 2014.
Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy compete in the team pairs short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Feb. 6, 2014.
Parke Brewer
The Sochi Olympics officially begin with Friday night’s Opening Ceremony. However, competition actually got under way Thursday with two of the new sports on the Winter Games schedule. One of them is Team Figure Skating.

Gymnasts can earn individual and team medals at a Summer Olympics, and now for the first time, figure skaters at the Winter Olympics will be able to do that as well.

Team Figure Skating features only 10 nations. They qualified for the Sochi Games based on their skaters’ results at last year’s World Figure Skating Championships and this season’s International Skating Union’s Grand Prix series, as well as other events.

Each team includes one man, one woman, one pair and one ice dancing couple. Competition takes place on three days. All entries do a short program that includes required elements, after which the field is cut to the top five who then do a free skate.

After each segment, the highest scorer earns his or her nation 10 points, second place gets nine points, third place eight, and so on, with 10th place worth one point. The country with the most total points from all its skaters combined wins the gold medal.

The first of the three days of action took place Thursday night at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi’s Olympic Park by the Black Sea.

Men’s singles began the program and in the first group was home favorite Yevgeny Plyushchenko. As he took the ice the crowd repeatedly shouted out the popular Russian’s nickname - Zhenya.

The gold medalist at the 2006 Turin Olympics and silver medalist in both Salt Lake City in 2002 and in Vancouver in 2010 expressed his joy afterward to the reporters who patiently waited to speak with him.

“Guys, you know I am so happy with my performance today. That’s four Olympic Games in my life, 12 surgeries. And after 12 surgeries I can compete, I can skate. And it doesn’t matter what [the] result will be in the end, I’ve already won for myself," said Plyushchenko.

The Russian star was then asked how he felt physically and he showed his sense of humor.

“I am feeling good. I am feeling good. I am in front of you, still alive, not bad," he said.

Plyushchenko’s score was good enough for second place, earning Russia nine points. Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan was judged best, giving his nation 10 points, and Canadian Patrick Chan was third for eight points.

Jeremy Abbott of the United States fell after one of his jumps and finished in seventh place for four points.

The pairs also skated Thursday, finishing up about an hour before midnight. The Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov took the top spot, followed by Canada and China.

Combined with the men’s scores, those same three - Russia, Canada and China - lead after the first of the three days.

Japan is fourth and the United States is in a three-way tie for the all-important fifth and last cut-off position with Germany and France.

Team figure skating resumes Saturday with the women and ice dancing short programs and the pairs free skate.

You May Like

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid