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Japan flops to 5th in figure skating team event

By Hiromu Namiki / Japan News Staff WriterGANGNEUNG — Keiji Tanaka covered his face and shook his head, feeling powerless. Kaori Sakamoto’s shoulders drooped, and she put her hands on her knees. Kana Muramoto and Chris Reed left the rink in apparent disappointment.

None of them were able to lift Japan on the final day of the figure skating team event at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

Japanese skaters finished fifth — in last place — in all three free programs conducted Monday, and the nation ultimately finished fifth overall with 50 points.

Canada won with 73 points, followed by the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) with 66. The United States was third with 62 points.

Sakamoto’s Olympic debut has become a bitter one. The up-and-coming skater, who has also entered in the women’s singles, had planned a triple flip-triple toe loop combination for her first jumps, but that became a single jump and was judged as under-rotated.

“All of my jumps didn’t seem like the ones I used to pull off — I’m angry at myself,” the 17-year-old said, who scored 131.91 points in the women’s free skate. “I became extremely nervous after committing an error in the first jump.”

Keiji Tanaka, who also made his Olympic debut, couldn’t find a rhythm to his jumps, scoring 148.36 points in the men’s free program.

“I performed a disappointing free skate,” said Tanaka, 23. He tried to shift his focus to the upcoming individual event.

“I want to make sure it doesn’t affect my program in the individual event,” he said.

Muramoto and Reed scored 87.88 points in the ice dance.Speech

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