Team USA advances to free skate in team event; currently in third place
Canada leads the figure skating team event following the second night of the competition. The squad of Olympic Athletes from Russia are in second, with Team USA in bronze medal position.
Saturday night began with the short dance, where the brother-sister ice dance team of Maia and Alex Shibutani finished second to earn nine points for the U.S. They finished second to Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, the 2010 Olympic champions in ice dance.
The “Shib Sibs,” a brother and sister team, skipped out on Friday’s Opening Ceremony in order to prepare for their performance in the team event.
One highlight from the short dance included not one, but two ice dance teams incorporating the Grammy-nominated smash hit “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee. South Korea’s Yura Min and Alexander Gamelin as well as China’s Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu both used the tune.
Team OAR/Russia’s super star and Olympic medal favorite, Yevgenia Medvedeva, notched the highest score ever recorded in the ladies’ short program to capture 10 points for the team.
Bradie Tennell skated a clean short program – which included a triple Lutz, triple toe combination, a triple loop and a double Axel – to finish fifth in the phase and earn Team USA six points.
Tennell scored just 0.01 points behind Satoko Miyahara of Japan, making up the difference between seven and six points earned for the U.S.
“It felt like I was doing another program on a practice session,” Tennell said. “‘You’ve done this program a million times, this is just a million and one.’ I get butterflies before the music starts, but then when the music starts I go on auto-pilot and lose myself. I couldn’t have asked for a better first program at the Olympics.”
Tennell turned 20 at the end of January, just after she won her first U.S. national championship title.
On Friday, Tennell participated in the celebrations and called it the “coolest night” of her life.
After the ladies’ short program, half of the countries in the team event were eliminated. Only Canada, OAR, Team USA, Italy and Japan advanced to the free skate phase of competition.
Five pair teams took the ice for the free skate, where Canada’s Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford earned the full 10 points in first place. Team USA’s married pair team, Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, finished fourth and earned the team seven points.
The third and final night of the figure skating team event airs Sunday in Primetime on NBC and NBCOlympics.com.
CURRENT TEAM STANDINGS
- CAN – 45
- OAR – 39
- USA – 36
- ITA - 35
- JPN – 32