Road To The Olympic Games

Figure Skating

Duhamel, Radford extend Canada's lead in figure skating team event

A first-place pairs free skate from Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford kept Canada in first place in the figure skating team event at the at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Final 3 disciplines begin Sunday at 8 p.m. ET

Canada's Meagan Duhamel, right, and Eric Radford finished first in the pairs free skate to extend Canada's lead in the team event. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

By CBC Sports

A first-place pairs free skate from Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford kept Canada in first place in the figure skating team event at the at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Duhamel and Radford earned a 148.51 score while skating to Hometown Glory by Adele to secure top spot in the discipline and give Canada 45 points in the overall standings. The Olympic Athletes from Russia sit in second with 39, followed by the United States (36), Italy (35) and Japan (32).

"That performance felt really good," Duhamel said after the event. "It felt great to lay out a solid long programme at the Olympics, which we weren't able to do four years ago."

"It is out last chance to skate at the Olympics and we wanted four chances at great skates, and [so far] we are two for two."

Only the top five teams from the short portion advance to the free program, which continues Sunday at 8 p.m. ET with the men's, women's and ice dance free skates.

"There is still a lot of skating for the team to be done, but what is nice is that we get to relax and cheer now," Radford said

Virtue and Moir, Osmond solid in short skates

Canada qualified in first for the free skate portion on the strength of strong performances from ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and women's skater Kaetlyn Osmond.

Osmond, skating to Sous Le Ciel de Paris and Milord by Édith Piaf, earned a 71.38 score in the women's competition, good for third in her segment of the event.

"Overall I felt pretty strong in that program and I did rely on knowing that I can do this program with my eyes closed," the 22-year-old from Marystown, N.L., told CBC Sports' Paul Martini. "It feels like a really good start."

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Evgenia Medvedeva's 81.06 points were best in the women's competition on Sunday.

Virtue and Moir, the three-time world champions and Olympic gold and silver medallists, scored 80.51 points for their short dance to the Rolling Stones' Sympathy For The DevilHotel California by the Eagles and Santana's Oye Como Va.

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Canada's top rivals Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, who edged Virtue and Moir for gold at the Grand Prix Final in December, didn't skate for France in the short dance, and because the bottom five teams are eliminated after the short programs, the French won't move on.

"Surprised? Yes," Virtue said on the absence of the French ice dancers, who train at the same Montreal rink and share the same coaches. "Just because we're clearly such different competitors, we were so eager to get on the ice as many times as possible. If we could compete 10 times here at the Olympics, we would be thrilled to do so. But we respect their strategy."

Moir said the Canadians had zero misgivings about competing in the team event.

"You just don't get too many shots at an Olympic medal, let alone an Olympic gold medal," he said. "And I think Canada has a great chance, and I think we're a great skating country, the choreographers, the coaches, the skaters that have come from our country are second to none, and I think it's very important for us to win this event."

The team event made its Olympic debut to mixed reviews four years ago in Sochi, where Canada captured silver.

Four years later, the event is one of Canada's best hopes for a gold on the ice in Pyeongchang. Canada's team from Sochi has remained virtually intact, and they arrived in South Korea as the world's No. 1-ranked team.

The team event ends Sunday with the men's, women's, and ice dance free programs.

With files from Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

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