Skaters from Canada took home gold in figure skating’s team event on Sunday night, while Team USA secured bronze for the second straight Olympics. Olympic Athletes from Russia took home the silver medal.
It's significant for the Canadians for a few reasons, most notably, their team captains and Opening Ceremony flag bearers, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.
With the gold, Virtue and Moir tied the record for the most decorated Olympic figure skaters with four. They won gold in ice dance in 2010, plus a team event silver and an ice dance silver four years ago in Sochi. Gillis Grafstrom and Yevgeny Plushenko also have four medals. Virtue and Moir could stand at five medals apiece by the end of the PyeongChang Winter Games.
Also of note, three-time world champion Patrick Chan from Canada also becomes the first male skater ever to win an Olympic gold. Read more on the supposed “Canadian men’s curse” below.
The Russian athletes fell from gold four years ago to silver in PyeongChang. Ice dancers Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, were the only holdovers from that Sochi squad.
"I'm speechless," Maia said, according to U.S. Figure Skating. "It's been such a journey for us, so much work. To experience this Olympic medal not just with each other, but also our friends and teammates, it's a great way to start our second Olympic Winter Games."
It’s the first Olympic medal for each of the eight participants. It was also figure skating medal No. 50 for the United States in the country’s Olympic history. The only sport where the U.S. owns more medals is speed skating, at 67 (as of press time).
The men’s free skate kicked off Sunday night’s events. Adam Rippon made his Olympic debut at 28 years of age, and skated a clean program to finish third in the five-man field. He was the number-one trend worldwide on Twitter after his performance, set “Arrival of the Birds/Exodus” by The Cinematic Orchestra and “O” by Coldplay.
Chan won the men’s free skate. Team OAR/Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada was second, ahead of Rippon.
After the ladies’ free skate, 15-year-old phenom Alina Zagitova clinched gold for Team OAR/Russia. She’s also a gold medal favorite in the ladies’ event, expected to do battle with her training partner, Yevgenia Medvedeva. Both of them are now gold medalists at these Games: Medvedeva skated the short program for the team event while Zagitova did the free skate.
Mirai Nagasu became the first U.S. female skater to land a triple Axel at the Olympics, a jump she had been working on all season. Eight years ago, when Nagasu competed at the Vancouver Games, the team event didn’t exist.
Finally, in dance, U.S. ice dance team Maia and Alex Shibutani finished second to Canadians Virtue and Moir. OAR/Russia’s Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev placed third to round out the event. Bobrova and Soloviev won gold in the team event for Russia four years ago in Sochi.
"For many it is the first Olympic Games and it is a valuable experience to work as a team,” said Medvedeva, also an Olympic medal favorite in the individual event. “Yes, we had non-Olympic team competitions before, but these are incredible emotions, it is a completely different competition. We all came here to feel that magic of the Olympic Games and it really exists.
"We create this magic ourselves supporting each other and I am happy to be on this team."
For in-depth analysis of all the action, check out the Olympic Ice Post-Show, featuring in-depth analysis from Kristi Yamaguchi, Charlie White and Ben Agosto.