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ROC takes gold in figure skating team event; U.S. beats out Japan for silver

ROC takes gold in figure skating team event; U.S. beats out Japan for silver
Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-07 00:31:52-05

Three days after it started and roughly 58 programs later, the figure skating team event medalists for the 2022 Winter Olympics were finally determined Sunday night (U.S. time).

As anticipated, it was the Russian Olympic Committee that stood tall, earning the gold medal with 74 total points; Olympic Athletes from Russia won four years ago. The United States won its first silver in the event with 65 points after taking bronze at both the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Games. And Japan earned its first Olympic team event medal with 63 points. 

RESULTS

Countries in the team event are allowed to switch out two entries between the short programs/rhythm dance and free skates/dance; ROC made zero.

The team included Kamila ValievaMark Kondratyuk, plus 2021 world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov (pairs) and Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov (ice dance).

The U.S. team was made up of Karen ChenNathan Chen and Vincent ZhouAlexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier (pairs), and Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (ice dance). Nathan Chen and Knierim are now two-time Olympic medalists after being part of the 2018 bronze-medal team.

Follow our live blog below to see how the action unfolded in real time...

Pairs Free Skate

Group 1 feat. James/Radford

There are only five skaters or teams in each segment, but we will still have two warmup groups for pairs. Canada's Vanessa James and Eric Radford are in the first with Japan's Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara.

8:31 p.m. ET: James and Radford are up first and boy are they an interesting team. Coming into these Games, they had a combined five Olympic appearances though none were together. They are Olympic and/or world medalists - James for France with Morgan Cipres and Radford for Canada with Meagan Duhamel - and have been together for less than a year. They also had a series of unfortunate events, crashing twice this week in practice sessions with Italy's Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise. With an emotional program, they score 130.07 points to get the day started.

8:39 p.m. ET: Miura and Kihara, who were fourth of 10 in the short program, move ahead of James and Radford with 139.60 - a new personal best by four points.

Group 2 feat. USA, ROC

Alright, pressure's on... how will Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier fare? Will 2021 world champions Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov of ROC lead since China has switched out its pairs entry from Sui Wenjing and Han Cong (who won the short) to Peng Cheng and Jin Yang?

Oh! Two-time U.S. women's champion Alysa Liu is spotted in the U.S. team box for the first time at these Games. She arrived later than the other American skaters. That means all 16 members of the 2022 U.S. Olympic figure skating team have now appeared in the team box to cheer on their teammates despite the fact only nine of them are competing in the team event.

Looks like she is joined in the team box tonight by Mariah Bell and the ice dance teams of Madison Hubbell/Zachary Donohue and Kaitlin Hawayek/Jean-Luc Baker.

8:54 p.m. ET: Knierim and Frazier are first. They were third in the short program. Looks like that will not be the case again... Knierim singles a triple jump, under-rotates another. Into third with 128.97 and two very talented teams to come.

9:02 p.m. ET: Oof. The reigning world champions, Mishina and Galliamov, who were second in the short program, fall to the ice while coming out of a lift. Surprising. Still, easily into the lead with 145.20 points.

9:11 p.m. ET: Well, mistakes here as well, folks. Peng and Jin take third with 131.75 points. Does help their team move ahead of Canada though!

Updated standings heading into the free dance: ROC (55), Japan in second with the tiebreaker win over the U.S. (both with 48), China taking the tiebreaker over Canada (both 37). This is going to be interesting!

SEE MORE: ROC extends lead in figure skating team event after pairs' free skate

Ice Dance - Free Dance

Only one warmup group with all five teams for the free dance.

9:44 p.m. ET: Japan's Misato Komatsubara and her husband Tim Koleto, of Montana, are up first. They were seventh in the rhythm dance. With a "Memoirs of a Geisha" free dance, they grab 98.66 points. This score should give the U.S. the edge for silver following the free dance.

9:53 p.m. ET: China's Wang Shiyue and Liu Xinyu, who were fifth in the rhythm dance, move ahead of the Japanese team with a good score of 107.18.

10 p.m. ET: 2021 world bronze medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier return to the ice after finishing fourth in the rhythm dance. They are into first here with 124.39 points. As expected, they've helped Canada move ahead of China and into fourth overall (with women's free still to come).

10:08 p.m. ET: Beautiful performance by ROC's Viktoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov - much better than their rhythm dance went - and could win the free dance. "It's really, in my opinion, the best of them that they put on display in this first piece of the music," 2006 Olympic ice dance silver medalist Tanith White said on the broadcast. Score of 128.17 points.

10:18 p.m. ET: The relationship between an extraterrestrial and an astronaut - a story of love, acceptance and celebrating differences - has come to the Olympics. Madison Chock and Evan Bates perform their exquisite Daft Punk program and WIN the free dance. With a thrilled team box that now includes all three U.S. ice dance teams and both U.S. pairs teams, Chock and Bates score 129.07 points - an international personal best.

SEE MORE: Chock and Bates win free dance, U.S. in silver position in figure skating team event

Women's Free Skate

Again, one group here...

10:50 p.m. ET: Zhu Yi, who was 10th of 10 in the short program, is back and earns a score of 91.41 here after two falls and several other errors.

10:58 p.m. ET: The Karen Chen who TWICE earned Team USA the maximum three women's spots at the Olympics is back. Far and away improved from the short program that placed her fifth a day prior, Chen finishes her free skate with happy tears. She did what she had to in order to keep the U.S. in silver-medal position. Surrounded by eight of her U.S. teammates, including Mariah Bell and Alysa Liu, Chen scores 131.52.

11:06 p.m. ET: Great skate by 18-year-old Madeline Schizas. After a third place in the short, she impresses again and actually tops Chen with a score of 132.04. Canada will indeed place fourth in this team event.

11:14 p.m. ET: "It was a moment," 1998 Olympic champion Tara Lipinski declared. Japan's Kaori Sakamoto had one of the best skates of her life and is into first with 148.66 points.

11:23 p.m. ET: In what the figure skating world was awaiting heading into these Games, ROC's Kamila Valieva delivers and becomes not only the first women's skater to land a quadruple jump at the Olympics but the first to land two. The 15-year-old falls on her third quad attempt but still dominates the women's free skate, winning by over 30 points with a 178.92.

ROC wins the gold with 74 points total. The U.S. takes its first silver in the event with 65. Japan now has its first Olympic team event medal (63). Canada is fourth (53) and Japan fifth (50).

SEE MORE: Kamila Valieva becomes first woman to land figure skating quad at Olympics