PYEONGCHANG, February 12, 2018 - After a disappointing silver medal at Sochi 2014, Canada showed that hard work and strategy pay off when they grabbed the gold medal at the figure skating’s team event on Monday at the Gangneung Ice Arena.
Olympic Athletes of Russia (OAR) had to settle for silver after being champions at home in Sochi while team USA got their second straight Olympic bronze medal in this event.
Canada entered the final day with the lead and never looked back. Patrick Chan winning the men’s free skate kept them on the track before superstars Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue won the free dance to give Canada the gold.
“We are thrilled to be the team champions, we are very proud of ourselves because we were not happy with ourselves in Sochi, we felt that we were too casual and we were using more of a simulation and I remember we came home with a sour taste about that. So we set a new plan and wanted to win the team event in 2018 so we are proud that we took it seriously especially against two very heavy teams.” Moir said after the competition.
In the ladies’ free skating it was 15 years-old Russian Alina Zagitova who topped the ranking earning 158.08 points after putting a flawless performance.
But it was second placed USA’s Mirai Nagasu who made history when she became the first American woman to land a triple axel at the Winter Olympics.
The only other women to land the jump in the Olympics were Japanese skaters Midori Ito and Mao Asada, and ironically enough Nagasu was born to Japanese immigrant parents.
“Maybe it’s the Japanese genetics, but fortunately I am American, so I’ll be the first U.S. lady,” she joked after her performance.
Four years ago, Nagasu was heartbroken after being left off the U.S. team despite finishing third in the qualifying event for Sochi in favour of Ashley Wagner who finished fourth.
Despite competing as OAR under the Olympic flag, the Russians received a lot of support from the crowd as the flags were waving in the stands.
Ekaterina Bobrova, member of the team that won the gold in Russia was nothing but thankful and full of emotions.
She said: “It means a lot to have this huge support and I can say that we felt at home, there were so many flags, I remember this happened in Vancouver too. Sochi was different because it almost caused a pressure on us, it was enormous and the whole stadium was cheering us. Here we can feel some good energy and I will remember this Olympics forever.”
Tearful Ekaterina did not forget to pay tribute to the 71 victims of the Russian airplane that crashed yesterday in Moscow leaving no survivors.
“On behalf of our team’s captain, management and athletes we send our condolences to all the families, we will continue to compete but today is a dark day for us, a day of sorrow.”