Squad gold: Canada wins Olympic figure skating team event
Gabrielle Daleman's free skate clinches win
Canada's figure skating team won the country's first gold of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, following a commanding collective performance in the team event.
Gabrielle Daleman's third-place free skate to Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin gave Canada an insurmountable lead before ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir even hit the ice for the free skate.
The gold completes a four-year journey for Canada following a silver in the event at the 2014 Games. Ultimately, it was Daleman — the lone team member who wasn't in Sochi — that guaranteed gold for her country.
"I'm proud I could lay out such a great program for not only myself, but my team and my country," the 20-year-old from Newmarket, Ont., told CBC Sports.
It's the first Olympic gold for several members of Canada's star-studded roster that includes Daleman, pairs veterans Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford and solo skaters Kaetlyn Osmond and Patrick Chan. Canada hadn't won a figure skating gold since Virtue and Moir's ice dance crown at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.
Daleman underwent emergency surgery for an abdominal cyst last May and persevered through a bout of pneumonia to win a national title in January.
"[Last year's health scare] made me realize what's important, what was toxic in my life, what's not, and it just made me become a better me," Daleman told The Canadian Press in January.
Chan starts, Virtue and Moir close it out
With the gold already secured, Virtue and Moir placed first while skating their Moulin Rouge program to bring Canada's final score to 73. The Olympic Athletes from Russia placed second with 66, while the Americans earned bronze with 62.
The duo's fourth Olympic medal ties them with Sweden's Gillis Grafstrom and Russia's Evgeni Plushenko for the most all-time in the sport.
Chan, a three-time world champion, placed first with a score of 179.75 in the men's free program.
Skating to Jeff Buckley's haunting cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, the 27-year-old from Toronto opened with two huge quadruple toe loops, his two mistakes coming on his triple Axels — he popped one and fell on the other.
"I hadn't been that nervous in a while," Chan said through a grin. "I did the best I could and left no rock unturned."
Chan, Virtue and Moir and Duhamel and Radford, are all competing in their final Olympics and were determined to go out on a golden high.
"At the end of the day, a medal's a medal and I'm going to hold this medal tight to me and it's going to be as good as the individual event," said Chan, whose performance set up the gold medal. "I'm sorry, that's how I'm going to see it, that's how I'm going to enjoy it, and that's for me to decide."
Four years after that silver in Sochi, Canada arrived in South Korea as the world's No. 1-ranked team, the only country balanced across all four disciplines.
Teams could make up to two substitutions in the competition format. Duhamel and Radford skated pairs for Canada, while Osmond was Canada's entry in the women's short dance.
With files from The Canadian Press