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Evgeni Plushenko withdraws from men’s figure skating event, announces retirement

Evgeni Plushenko (Ivan Sekretarev/The Associated Press)

Evgeni Plushenko (Ivan Sekretarev/The Associated Press)

Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko pulled out of the men’s individual Figure Skating event at the Sochi Olympics on Thursday, just seconds before he had been due to start his short programme.

After attempting a quad in warm-up, the highly decorated Russian skater stumbled and winced visibly. He then skated in a circle holding his lower back. At the end of warm-up he spoke to his coach, then glided over to the row of judges and announced he was withdrawing.

Read more.


figure skating

A complete roundup of Canadian events for Day 5 in Sochi

1. A silver medal in men’s long-track speed skating

Denny Morrison won silver medal in the 1,000 long-track event after two fourth-place finishes on the World Cup circuit this year.

Morrison was not scheduled to compete after falling in the Canadian qualifier. But teammate Gilmore Junio elected to step aside and give his spot to Morrison, who had a better shot at winning. Now a campaign’s underfoot to name Junio as Canada’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremonies.

2. Women’s hockey: Canada vs. the U.S.

Canada beat the U.S. 3-2 in a preliminary game that will likely serve as a preview of the gold medal final.

  • Two goals from Meghan Agosta, and one from Haley Wickenheiser
  • Read more

After some concern that women’s hockey had become too lopsided, and thus in danger of being removed from the Games, the  IOC says organizers are “very pleased” with the quality of play in Sochi.

3. Fifth-place finish in pairs figure skating

Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch were contenders for a medal in pairs figure skating but placed fifth, pushed down the ranks by two dominant Russian teams that placed first and second.  Three Canadians teams had qualified for the final event. Megan Duhamel and Eric Radford  were also medal threats but finished in 7th place. Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers were back in 14th place.


History was made on the downhill slopes today, as two women clocked the exact same time to tie for gold.

Jennifer Jones and the women’s curling team bested Great Britain 9-6, to make it four consecutive wins.

After two straight losses, the men’s curling team came back strong today, beating the Great Britain team 9-6 before trouncing the Russians 7-4.

Men’s hockey began today, but Canada and the U.S. do not start until Thursday

Canada fell just short of a medal in doubles luge. Tristan Walker and Justin Snith took 4th place, 0.4 seconds back.

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Ski ballet: The hilarious Olympic sport from the 1980s

Yes, it existed

Ski ballet became somewhat popular among skiers in the 1970s and eventually became a demonstration sport at the Winter Olympics in 1988 and 1992. A video of the event began circulating on social media this week.

The Olympics regularly feature demonstration sports to promote a new event. The International Olympic Committee must have been unimpressed with the trick-based event since they declined to make it part of the official Olympic roster.


Team Canada 1 performs synchronized skating in 2007. (Dave Chidley/CP)

Team Canada 1 performs synchronized skating in 2007. (Dave Chidley/CP)

This year: Synchronized skating

The demonstration sport this year is synchronized skating (or “synchro”). Like its cousin from the Summer Olympic, the judged event involves several competitors moving in unison to music. There are also several new official sports in Sochi, including team figure skating (which involves several normal figure skating events with a shared points system) and luge team relay.

figure skatingski ballet

All three Canadian pairs qualify to the finals in figure skating

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada compete in the team pairs short program figure skating competition. (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford of Canada compete in the team pairs short program figure skating competition. (Vadim Ghirda/AP)

Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford lead three Canadian teams who qualified to pairs figure skating finals.

Duhamel and Radford finished in fifth place. Fellow Canadians Kristen Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch followed just behind in sixth place. Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers rounded out the Canadian contingent in 13th place.

Leading the event are Russian superstars Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov.

Watch the pairs free program tomorrow at 10:45 a.m. ET.

figure skating

Social roundup: Medal cheers and some early goodbyes

What have the athletes been getting up to?

Team Canada landed in Sochi!@dominiquesbx @robfagan @chrisrobanske @jakeholdensbx @maellericker @cdnolympicteam


And lastly, hey athletes, let’s try to keep it clean!

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Canada wins silver in team figure skating


Canada won a silver medal in team figure skating after a strong performance in the men’s and women’s events (Story here).

Kevin Reynolds and Kaetlyn Osmond gave Canada enough points to keep their second-place spot in the rankings, and the ice-dancing duo of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir maintained Canada’s position. The above graphic shows where Canada ended up. 

Team skating is a new Olympic sport involving several events, from long and short programs, to pairs and ice dancing, to free skates. Teams earn points with each skate, with the final tally determining who earns a medal. More on how this new sport works here.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, ice dancing skate

The judges gave the 2010 gold medal-winners no deductions, and a technical score of 50.37 and a presentation score of 57.19, was good for second in their portion of the team skate, keeping Canada locked into the silver  position. “We got smoked today,” Moir said. “Not even close.”

Kaetlyn Osmond, women’s skate

Canadian figure skater Kaetlyn Osmand fell once during her solo performance,  earning a score of 110.73, putting her in last place for her event.


Kevin Reynolds, centre, reacts in the results area after competing in the men's team free skate. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Kevin Reynolds, centre, reacts in the results area after competing in the men’s team free skate. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Kevin Reynolds, men’s skate

Reynolds landed a quad Salchow and quad toe combination but fell on a triple-Axel. His performance earned him a second-place spot in the event, boosting Canada’s overall team score to 50, ahead of the U.S. at 41,  Japan at 38 and Italy at 37.

Russian figure skating veteran Evgeny Plyushchenko stunned the audience from his home country. Though the performance wasn’t perfect, but he scored the most points in the event, boosting Russia’s team score to 57.

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Olympic official dismisses figure skating allegations

A top Olympic official is dismissing allegations of a judging scandal in figure skating as nothing more than “gossip with no grounds.”

Speaking to reporters in Sochi on Sunday, International Olympic Committee spokesman Mark Adams said the IOC would not be looking into the alleged judging scandal, and that it is the responsibility of figure skating’s governing body to examine the claims.

He shrugged off a report in French sports magazine L’Equipe, which cited an unnamed source alleging the United States and Russia had struck a pact to award each country’s skaters favourable marks in certain events, in order to secure gold.

Read the full story.

figure skating

Unusual number of ‘surprise’ drug tests for Canadian figure skaters

Sochi Olympics Figure Skating

Kaetlyn Osmond of Canada competes in the women’s team short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev)

Canadian figure skaters have received an unusually high number of random doping tests during the past few days in Sochi, Canadian team officials said, including an order for Kaetlyn Osmond to submit to testing only hours before her competition on Saturday.

Osmond did not let the incident get to her, however. She tweeted that she was “excited” about how her program went.

The suspicions that Canada is being unfairly targeted came as allegations of a judging scandal unfolded in Sochi. A report Saturday in a French sports magazine said judges from the United States and Russia have agreed to give higher marks for their countries in order to secure gold in certain events, while also blocking Canada from the gold in the team and pairs ice dance competitions.

Read the full story here.

figure skating

Alleged pact between figure skating judges would keep Canada out of gold

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada skate during an ice dance figure skating training session. (David Gray/Reuters)

A scandal is brewing in figure skating with new allegations that a pact exists between American and Russian judges to keep Canada from winning gold.

French publication L’Equipe has reported that the United States and Russia have struck a deal to mutually assure higher marks for their countries.

The allegation implies the pact would see the U.S. judge dish out favourable marks to Russia in the team event, where the U.S. is not a contender for the podium, in exchange for the Russian judge boosting the scores for Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White in the ice dance.

Olympic officials and judges have yet to respond to the allegations.

The scandal unfolds as Virtue and Moire are set to face off against Davis and White Saturday night in Sochi in the ice dance segment of the team event. The individual ice dance short program will be skated Sunday Feb. 16 and the long program will be on Monday Feb. 17.

Read the full story.


figure skating

What happened on Day 2 in Sochi

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada compete in the team ice dance short dance figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace. (Ivan Sekretarev/AP)

1. Team figure skating

Canada took silver in the team figure skating event, which is making its Olympic debut this year. Russia won gold with 75 points to Canada’s 65. The United States took bronze with 60 points.

According to reports, judges are doing their best to make sure Canada won’t win gold: the sport is embroiled in another judging scandal, with accusations that Russian and U.S. judges have made a pact. Olympic officials have brushed off the accusations.

How does team figure skating work, exactly? Here’s a quick explainer.

2. Women’s slopestyle

Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, B.C., was considered a podium threat in women’s snowboard slopestyle competition. But a difficult semifinal saw her in 11th place going into the finals. She ended the event in 12th place overall.

3. Men’s downhill

Earlier today, Canada’s Erik Guay vied for a medal in his third Olympics appearance but finished 10th in difficult race that saw many upsets. Read the related wrap-up.

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