Russia wins gold, U.S. bronze in team figure skating

The Sports NetworkFebruary 9, 2014 

Sochi, Russia (SportsNetwork.com) - Russia won the gold medal in team figure skating at the 2014 Olympics after a dominant night by Yevgeny Plushenko and Yulia Lipnitskaya.

Plushenko won the men's free skate and the 15-year-old Lipnitskaya captured the women's free skate on Sunday to give the host nation an insurmountable lead before the ice dancing segment concluded the evening.

Canada finished second for the silver medal and the United States earned the bronze.

"Russia has such talented skaters. Hats off to them," said American Charlie White. "We're very proud of our bronze medal."

Russia carried the lead into the last night of the three-day competition and Plushenko virtually sealed gold for the host nation with his performance in front of the home crowd. He was awarded a top score of 168.20 on Sunday to earn the 10 points for first place.

It gave Russia a seven-point cushion over Canada, and Lipnitskaya clinched the Russians' first gold of the Sochi Games with her effort in the women's free skate. She also claimed first place with a score of 141.51 for the 10 points.

"She's only 15. She's completely unfazed," said American Gracie Gold, 18, who was a distant second to Lipnitskaya. "She's got no spine, but she's got iron in her bones."

The Russians then concluded the event with a total of 75 points after the ice dance team of Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov finished third for eight points.

Russian skaters won five of the eight segments during the competition, which made its Olympic debut.

Plushenko has now earned medals in four different Olympics. The 31-year-old veteran won men's gold in the 2006 Turin Games and claimed silver at both the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake and 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Canada, meanwhile, received a stellar effort from Kevin Reynolds in the men's free skate, finishing just behind Plushenko on Sunday. Reynolds skated in place of three-time world champion Patrick Chan, who opted out to rest for the individual men's event later this week.

Gold was second in the women's segment and Canada's Kaetlyn Osmond was fifth. The results sealed the medals for each country.

Only the ice dancing remained and the U.S. team of Meryl Davis and White solidified their status as favorites for gold later in the Games by winning the free dance portion.

Davis and White won the short dance on Saturday and earned a score of 114.34 in the free dance to edge their expected top rivals from Canada -- Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who placed second in both portions of the team event.

Canada finished with 65 total points and the United States compiled 60.

Italy was fourth overall, edging Japan by one point.

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