Russian skaters win first Olympics team event

Feb. 9, 2014 at 1:26 PM
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SOCHI, Russia, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Victories by Evgeny Plyuschenko and the Yulia Lipnitskaya Sunday sent Russia to an overwhelming gold medal victory in Olympic team figure skating.

It was the first time in Olympic history figure skaters had taken part in a team event and the Russians easily rolled to what turned out to be the first gold medal for the host country at the Sochi Games.

Eight routines were skated during the three days of competition, a short and long program by the men, ladies, pairs and ice dancers.

Plyuschenko and Lipnitskaya won both their short and long programs and the Russians piled up five victories in all. A win in each of the routines was worth 10 points with nine points going to the second-place finisher and on down the list.

At the end of the event, Russia had 75 out of a maximum possible total of 80 points. Canada was a distant second at 65 with the United States taking the bronze medal at 60 points.

The United States found itself in trouble early in the competition when Jeremy Abbbott could do no better than seventh place in the men's short program. He earned only four points, leaving the Americans scrambling just to win a medal.

The U.S. ice dancing team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White won with both their short and long program routines to bring the Americans into a medal position. The ice dancers were the last to perform Sunday and medal positions had been decided before they took the ice.

After the four short programs were skated, the 10-nation field was cut to five. Italy finished fourth with 52 points, one of front of Japan. Those failing to make the finals were France, China, Germany, Ukraine and Britain.

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