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USA figure skating team wins silver; gold goes to Russia

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USA figure skating team wins silver; gold goes to Russia
Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the USA during Ice Dancing competition in the Capital Indoor Stadium at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics on Monday. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Team USA clinched the silver medal in the figure skating team event at the Beijing Olympic Games on strong performances from ice dancing pair Madison Chock and Bates Evan on Monday, but the Russians ran away with the gold on spectacular skating from 15-year-old Kamila Valieva.

Valieva, who finished first in Sunday's short program by a resounding 15 points ahead of second-place finisher Wakaba Higuchi of Japan, put up an impressive 178.92 on the board during Monday's final free skate event -- 30 points ahead of Higuchi, who again finished in second.

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In doing so, Valieva became the first woman to land a quad jump in Olympic competition.

American Karen Chen, who finished fifth in the short skate, improved to a fourth place finish during her program Monday, which kept the United States in silver medal place.

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The eight-segment event, consisting of a short program and a free skate in the four skating disciplines, awards points based on the team's ranking in each segment.

The Russian Olympic Committee took the top of the podium on Monday with 74 points followed by the United States with 65, which was good enough for silver. Japan with 63 points earned bronze.

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The Russians had all but secured a gold-medal finish even before Valieva took to the ice for her team's final skate as they had scored no worse than a third-place finish in any of the eight events.

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The Americans led after Day 1 of the competition on strong skating by Nathan Chen, who finished first in the men's short program, but they were eventually overtaken by the Russians following Valieva's skate on Sunday.

Team USA was able to hold Japan off on Monday, with Madison and Bates winning their free dance segment by less than a point over ROC's Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov.

"We're celebrating silver," Bates said, according to USA Today. "Winning a silver medal at the Olympic Games is an incredible achievement, and the fact that we all get a silver medal, the whole team -- I'm so happy. I'm so happy."

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Silver is the United States' best showing in the event since its debut in 2014. The Americans took bronze in the last two Games.

Canada, who took gold in Pyeongchang in 2018, finished fourth in on Monday followed by China in fifth.

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Wenjing Sui and Cong Han of China perform during the pairs figure skating free program in the Capital Indoor Stadium at the Beijing Winter Olympic on February 19, 2022. Sui and Han of China won the gold. Photo by Richard Ellis/UPI | License Photo

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