There are spoilers here. Please don't continue if you don't want to find out the results. If you do continue reading, no complaining about spoilers.
The team skating event of The 2014 Winter Olympics kicked off with the men's short program on Thursday. It's a new event this year in which men's, women's, pairs, and ice-dancing teams from 10 countries compete together in a Davis Cup-like team competition. The men took the ice on Thursday, a lineup which included three-time world champion Patrick Chan and skating legend Evgeni Plushenko. Those two have commanded headlines of late with some saucy verbal fighting.
But it was Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu (and team Japan) who stole the show with a dazzling quadruple toe loop. Hanyu made this really, really difficult jump look ridiculously easy:
He followed that up with a breezy triple axel:
The ease and beauty of Hanyu's performance were highlights on a night when U.S. hopeful Jeremy Abbott bobbled on his triple axel and Patrick Chan doubled one of his combination jumps. The Japanese team, which includes 2010 silver medalist Mao Asada, were happy for their teammate (which is one of the nice things about the team competition):
Hanyu's strong performance put Japan in first, followed by Plushenko's Russian team, and Chan's Canadian team. The U.S. was in seventh following Abbott's popped axel.
The pairs component is currently underway and will be followed by ice-dancing and the women's competition. Because Japan's pairs team isn't considered as strong, Russia and Canada are hoping to make up some ground and cut into Hanyu and Japan's lead.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.