Canada misses podium in figure skating team event despite Schizas setting another personal best
Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) wins gold ahead of U.S. and Japan
Reigning Olympic champion Canada missed the podium in the figure skating team event for the first time since its Olympic debut despite a personal-best performance by Madeline Schizas in the women's free program on Monday.
The 18-year-old from Oakville, Ont., finished third after earning a score of 132.04 with a nearly flawless skate — easily beating her previous personal best of 125.44. Her remarkable performance included a triple Lutz-triple toe combination, a triple Salchow and a double Axel-triple loop combination.
"The feeling from the end of my last jump to the choreo sequence is one of my favourite parts of that program. I'll just never forget the experience of skating such a good program," Schizas said after competing.
"It was a dream to perform at the Olympics. It's so incredible to have a performance to be proud of."
But it was too little too late, as Canada was already too far behind in the team standings to reach bronze following a fourth-place finish by duo Vanessa James and Eric Radford in their pairs free program earlier in the day.
The Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) won gold with 74 team points after building an insurmountable lead with a second-place finish from Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov in the free dance.
The U.S. won silver with 65 points, while Japan finished two points behind for bronze. Canada finished one spot off the podium with 53 points, followed by China (50).
WATCH | Schizas finishes 3rd, sets personal best in team event women's free program:
Canada earned its berth in the final with an impressive personal-best performance by Schizas in the women's short program (69.60) — which moved Canada from sixth to fourth place in the team standings. The top five advanced to the free skate and free dance portions.
Fifteen-year-old phenom Kamila Valieva capped off ROC's gold victory with a historic performance in the women's free skate that earned her 178.92, one day after she won the short program. The Olympic rookie became the first woman to ever land a quadruple jump at the Olympics — nailing two of her three attempts.
WATCH | Kamila Valieva becomes 1st woman to land quad at Olympics:
Karen Chen finished fourth in the women's free with 131.52 to secure silver for the U.S., while Japan claimed bronze with Kaori Sakamoto's second-place finish (148.66). The U.S. and Japan were too far behind to reach gold heading into the women's free.
Canada captured team event gold in 2018 after winning silver in the event's debut at the Sochi Games in 2014.
Canada entered the day in a major hole following the men's free skate — sitting in fourth place but nine points away from Japan's bronze position. Ten team points are awarded for first place, descending down to six points for fifth after each discipline in the final.
Canadian ice dancers Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier finished third in the free dance portion with 124.39. The reigning world bronze medallists skated to a cover of The Beatles' "The Long and Winding Road" while performing a technically precise program that momentarily had them in the lead.
But they were soon surpassed by ROC's Sinitsina and Katsalapov (128.17), before Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates capped off the free dance while taking top spot with 129.07.
China's Liu Xinyu and Wang Shiyue finished third in free dance (107.18), while Japan's Misato Komatsubara and Tim Koleto finished fifth (98.66).
WATCH | Gilles, Poirier finish 3rd in team event free dance:
James and Radford replaced national champions Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro for the team event pairs free program following their fifth-place finish in the short program.
The veteran skaters, who both came out of retirement last year to team up, looked smooth during warmups before kicking off the free skate to "Falling" by Harry Styles.
They opened with a triple twist before following it up with beautiful combination jump, triple toe.
James and Radford also pulled off a reverse lasso lift, a combination spin, a throw Salchow and a forward inside death spiral to earn a solid score of 130.07 — just shy of their personal best (130.83).
The commentator remarked that it was "by far the best they've skated this season."
WATCH | James, Radford finish 4th in team event pairs free program following practice crash:
But the Canadian duo was bumped out of top spot following a personal-best performance from Japan's Ryuichi Kihara and Riku Miura (139.60).
ROC ended up finishing first in pairs free with a masterful skate from Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, while China's Peng Cheng and Jin Yang moved past Canada for third place behind Japan with 131.75.
American duo Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier finished last with 128.97.
Canada managed to hold onto fourth place heading into the pairs free program despite a last-place finish by Roman Sadovsky in the men's free.
WATCH | That Figure Skating Show recaps dramatic day for Canadians in team event:
Sadovsky replaced Keegan Messing on short notice before the short program, as the reigning national champion had not passed the required COVID-19 tests needed to travel.
James and Radford were able to book an Olympic spot despite pulling out of nationals last month before the long program due to fatigue that resulted from contracting COVID-19.
Radford, a three-time Olympic medallist, helped Canada win gold in the team event in Pyeongchang with partner Megan Duhamel.
ROC entered the pairs free program in first place with 45 points thanks to the help of Valieva's incredible showing in the women's short program — where she nearly eclipsed her own world record (90.45) with a score of 90.18.
The U.S. only trailed ROC by three team points heading into the pairs free after American Vincent Zhou finished third behind ROC's Mark Kondratiuk in the men's free. Eighteen-year-old Yuma Kagiyama had Japan in bronze position after easily winning with a personal-best score of 208.94.
WATCH | Replay of team event women's short, men's free programs:
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