Canada can improve despite leading figure skating team event

1st day of competition featured men's, pairs short programs

Canada can improve despite leading figure skating team event
Canada’s Patrick Chan was shaky during the men's short program of the team skating event on Friday in Pyeongchang, South Korea. © Bernat Armangue/Associated Press

By Pj Kwong, CBC Sports

It's kind of fun to be watching something still so new in figure skating.

I am talking about the second-ever Olympic figure skating team event which started Friday in Pyeongchang.

One skater from each of figure skating's top-10 nations skates the short program and then the highest-ranking five nations continue in the free skate in each discipline.

The placements are converted to team points, and the team with the most number of points at the end of both segments of the competition wins. For a first place, 10 points are awarded, second place earns nine, third gets eight and so on.

At the inaugural event, the Russian Federation won gold, Team Canada took silver and Team USA the bronze.

This was Day 1 of competition which included two segments of the competition: the men's and the pairs short programs.

For some skaters, performaning the team event is the perfect way to warm up for the individual events which will take place later on in the Games. But when the men hit the ice for their short programs, it was a hit-and-miss affair.

Japan's Shoma Uno, Canada's Patrick Chan and American Nathan Chen could all be considered contenders for the men's singles event but none of them skated to their potential.

Chen and Chan both had falls on jump elements. Uno was good enough to clearly be the best of the field, though he wasn't at his best. 

Uno earned 10 team points with that first place for Team Japan.

Click on the video below to watch the men's short program:

Canada rebounds

In team skating, the point spread doesn't matter, it is the placing. This was good news for Chan, whose third-place skate still earned Team Canada eight points.

Olympic Athletes from Russia Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov skated a sublime season's best in the pairs short program. It was the skate of the day and it would be hard to beat in ordinary pairs competition.

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were very strong but have left some room for improvement.

Click on the video below to watch the pairs short program:

With half of the short programs out of the way, Team Canada is in first place with Chan's eight points, added to Duhamel and Radford's second place (nine points) for a total of 17 team points.

The United States sits second with 14, followed by Japan with 13.