Russia claims gold in team figure skating, U.S. wins bronze

Lawrence Yee
February 9, 2014
Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia competes in the women's team free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)
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Julia Lipnitskaia of Russia competes in the women's team free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, in Sochi, Russia

Russia easily claimed gold in the inaugural team figure skating event, its first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics.

Evgeni Plushenko and Julia Lipnitskaia sealed the host country's win with first-place finishes in the men's and ladies' free skate event on Sunday. Canada won the silver, and the United States took the bronze.

Plushenko was not as impressive as he had been in the short program, attempting only one quadruple jump and doubling his last two triples. "I feel a little pain in my back, which is why I did [my] mistake," the 31-year-old veteran said. He now has four skating medals: one team gold, one individual gold, and two individual silvers. If he earns a fifth medal in the men's event, he will be the most decorated figure skater in Olympic history.

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Canada's Kevin Reynolds replaced Patrick Chan, who is favored to take the men's title. Reynolds landed three quadruple jumps, an impressive technical feat. Jason Brown of the United States finished fourth after a few mistakes. The U.S. silver medalist skated a pleasing performance but was missing his usual spark.

Russian wunderkind Julia Lipnitskaia skated flawlessly to win the ladies' free skate. The 15-year-old landed seven triple jumps on her way to a personal-best score. Recently crowned U.S. champion Gracie Gold also turned in a clean performance and is definitely in the hunt for a medal. The 18-year-old scored a personal bes as wellt. Both teens will put pressure on reigning champion Yuna Kim of South Korea.

In ice dance, Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White once again edged their Canadian rivals Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, but their placements didn't change the overall standings.

The individual events begin Tuesday with the pairs short program. Russians Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov are favored to win this event.

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