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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora