ReutersGANGNEUNG (Reuters) — Canada led after the first round of figure skating’s team competition in the Pyeongchang Olympics on Friday, with a dazzling performance by pair Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford overcoming stumbles by Patrick Chan in the men’s singles.
Duhamel and Radford claimed a season’s best 76.57 with their flowing routine to “With or Without You,” but Chan, in his third Olympics, struggled with his jumps and fell on his opening quad toeloop and his triple axel.
“Today was a good example of good skates and bad skates, but I think that’s the whole premise of the team event,” Chan told reporters.
“In my case I’m so thankful I had the support of my teammates on and off the ice.
“Eric had a great skate, I had a so-so skate, but the reactions off the ice when we got to the kiss and cry made my experience go from possibly being poor to being fun.”
A strong performance by American husband and wife Alexa Scimeca Knierim and Chris Knierim, who scored 69.75, helped the United States take second place overall despite a rocky performance by 18-year-old Nathan Chen in his Olympic debut.
Chen made an uncharacteristic fall on his triple axel after doubling his quad toeloop, although he hung on to land his opening quad flip but went on to double his quad toeloop and make an uncharacteristic fall on his triple Axel, earning him 80.61 points and leaving him in fourth.
“I just wasn’t thinking about the right thing technically. I was ahead of myself in terms of how to land a jump, how to get out,” he said.
“I think that it was a good opportunity for me to put myself out there and make silly mistakes like this. In individual, I’ll be more ready.”
Canada had 17 points to 14 for the United States.
Japan was in third place with 13 points, while Olympic Athletes from Russia, bouyed by Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov’s top score of 80.92 in the pairs, were in fourth, also on 13 points.
The Russian skaters were cheered on by a vociferous group of fans waving Russian flags and holding up signs spelling out “Russia in My Heart.”
The short programs for the women’s singles and ice dancers take place at the weekend.