SOCHI, Russia – Following the first night of figure skating, Canada sits in striking distance of a historic inaugural medal in the Olympic Winter Games debut of the team event.
Canada is in second place with 17 points, behind Russia (19) and ahead of China (15).
Patrick Chan kicked things off for Canada in the men’s short program on opening night. His score of 89.71 was third best behind Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu (97.98) and the ageless Russian and three time Olympic medallist Evgeni Plushenko (91.39).
“All of the jumps weren’t great,” Chan said, “but in a way, I’m glad I did that here. It was good to get the jitters out.” His skate gave Canada eight points, trailing Japan (10) and Russia (9) going into the pairs short program.
It was there that Canada truly dazzled and moved up the table.
Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are 2013 World bronze medallists and they skated like true contenders on Thursday night. Duhamel and Radford’s 73.10 score – a season’s best – was topped only by Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov who received high marks (83.79) for their showing.
For Radford, the Canadian pair achieved their objective. “It was amazing,” he said, “everything about it. It all just happened. Our goal was to be top two.”
A delighted Duhamel later took to Twitter and announced “just had the performance of my life.”
Competition will break for Opening ceremony on February 7, before Team Canada will unleash its ice dance and ladies’ skaters the following night. The pairs free skate will also take place that evening. A third night containing exclusively free programs will conclude the team event.