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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid