Sochi / Russia

The figure skating competition at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games continued in Sochi, Russia, on Saturday with the second day of the inaugural team event.

Team Russia strengthens lead

Team Russia extended their lead on day two of the team event at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Saturday. Team Canada remained in second place while team USA pulled up to third before the final on Sunday.

Skating to “You Don’t Give Up On Love”, Julia Lipnitskaia hit a triple Lutz-triple toe, a triple flip and her trademark spins to win the Ladies Short Program with a seasons best score of 72.90 points. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov claimed the Pairs Free Skating with a strong program to “Addams Family”. Lipnitskaia and Stolbova/Klimov collected each the maximum of 10 placement points for Russia. Ice dancers Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitri Soloviev came third in the Short Dance with Quickstep and Foxtrot to “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friends” and “I Wanna Be Loved by You”. The reigning World bronze medalists picked up a level four for three elements and posted a seasons best with 70.27 points. They added eight points to the team score.

"We skated our maximum for today and for the team event, but we were holding back a little bit for our individual event in 10 days”, team captain Bobrova said. "We are very happy with Julia (Lipnitskaia). We were a little worried that she would be carried away by the crowd response. She is so young. But she is great, she was able to deal with it. The crowd supported us so much, the Iceberg was shaking, and I thought, slow it down, we still have competitions to come and Iceberg might crumble."

Olympic Ice Dance Champions Tessa Virtue/Scott Moir put out a strong dance to Etta James’ and Louis Armstrong’s songs “Dream a little dream”, “Muskrat Rumble” and “Heaven”. The Canadian Champions collected a level four for both Finnstep patterns and the lift, but Virtue wobbled on a twizzle that was rated a level three. With 72.98 points, the two-time World Champions finished second in the Short Dance and scored nine points for Canada. Another nine points came from pair skaters Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch, who placed second in the Pairs Free Skating with 129.74 points. Kaetlyn Osmond earned six points by coming fifth in the Ladies Short Program. "All in all, it was a great day of figure skating. You can see that it is the Olympics, everybody is so well prepared”, Moscovitch told the post-event press conference. "We're feeling good going into tomorrow and our team is looking good”, he continued. "We knew the Americans and Russians would be very tough competitors. The Russian team was great today so that's why there was a bit more of a gap. But we did our part”, his partner added.

Ice Dance World Champions Meryl Davis/Charlie White helped out their team by winning the Short Dance, thus netting the maximum of ten placement points. Their dance to “My Fair Lady” was highlighted by fast twizzles and a rotational lift that were graded a level four as was the second Finnstep pattern. The defending Olympic silver medalists scored 75.98 points. Ashley Wagner finished fourth in the Ladies Short Program and pair skaters Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir were fourth in the Free Skating to collect seven points each for the team.

“It was a great day for us, fantastic skating for our team. We kicked it off with a very strong program. We have been looking forward to this moment, to the team event, and being part of something bigger than ourselves”, team captain White said. “Being able to take the ice and be out there for everybody on our team was really fun. We felt their energy and it definitely helped us. Then being able to sit there and cheer for Ashley (Wagner) and Simon (Shnapir) and Marissa (Castelli) was really amazing. They skated their hearts out, I couldn't be more proud of them and then they put us in a position to join in the medals.”

Team Italy is currently ranked fourth with 31 points, followed by team Japan (30 points). Carolina Kostner pushed her team into the final with a strong performance and her second place in the Ladies Short Program.

These top five teams advance to the final on Sunday when the first figure skating medals at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will be decided in the Team Event with the Team Free Dance, Team Men’s and Ladies Free Skating. Ten teams had qualified. France, China, Germany, Ukraine and Great Britain did not reach the final.