Analysis Virtue, Moir dazzle in figure skating team event

Canada maintains lead heading into final day of competition

Virtue, Moir dazzle in figure skating team event
Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir perform their short program in the team event at the Gangneung Ice Arena on Sunday. Canada leads heading into the final day of the competition on Monday. © Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

By Pj Kwong, CBC Sports

This is where things started to get interesting in the figure skating team event.

On Sunday in Pyeongchang, the final two figure skating disciplines fielded their entries from the top-10 figure skating nations. At the conclusion of the short programs, the field would be whittled down from 10 to the top-five nations, whose skaters would be allowed to skate their free programs.

Team Canada started out the day in the lead as the dancers took the ice.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were head and shoulders above the rest of the field especially as their biggest threat from France, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron didn't appear in the short dance as the entry for Team France.

Click on the video below to watch Virtue and Moir's short dance 

Virtue and Moir where their typical charismatic selves and with the lead in the short dance, boosted Canada's team points to 27 and a continued lead heading into the Ladies' short program.

All I can say is that Virtue and Moir owned the short dance. Aside from being technically head and shoulders above the rest of the field, their confidence and artistry were mesmerizing, I had eyes for no one else.

Osmond skated second last and was fast and strong, but had a couple of bobbles, earning eight team points for her third place in the segment.

If this means Osmond is able to get the nerves out in advance of the ladies' singles event, then it will have been worth it.

Click on the video below to watch Kaetlyn Osmond's performance

Evgenia Medvedeva on the other hand won the segment, was amazing and earned a season's best score.

In watching her skate, you would never know that she has been recovering from a stress fracture in her foot.

The results from the ladies' short program were the last piece of the puzzle in determining which five nations would remain in the competition.

The nations included Canada, the U.S., Olympic Athletes from Russia, Japan and Italy.

Duhamel, Radford show technical prowess

Team Canada was in first place as the pairs took the ice for the first of the four disciplines to skate the free program. It was up to each nation of the five qualified nations to decide if they would keep their same skaters from the short programs or use a substitution.

Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were the pair skate of the day for me. I liked their strength and always admire their technical prowess which included a throw quad salchow and throw triple Lutz as well as side by side triple Lutz jumps.

Winning this segment earned Team Canada another 10 team points and the lead going into the final day of team competition.

The Canadians have 45 points, six ahead of the Russians, heading into the men's, women's and ice dance free programs. The U.S. is third with 35 points, one ahead of Italy.

Patrick Chan, Gabrielle Daleman, along with Virtue and Moir will try to deliver figure skating team gold for Canada when the event concludes Monday.

With files from The Associated Press