Adam Rippon

USA Takes Home Bronze, Nagasu Makes History in Figure Skating Team Event

Team USA's Mirai Nagasu made history, becoming the first American women to land a triple axel in the Olympics

The United States has won the bronze medal in the team figure skating competition at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Canada struck gold with 73 points, followed by the Russians with 66 points. The U.S.'s final score was 62 points. 

While Canada's team clinched the top spot, the star of Sunday night's performance was Team USA's Mirai Nagasu, who became the first American woman — only third overall — to land a triple axel in the Olympics.

The 24-year-old from Montebello, California, skated first of the five women in the free skate and led off her routine with the triple axel just 21 seconds in. The feat drew huge cheers from the crowd at the Gangneung Ice Arena.

Japan's Midori Ito and Mao Asada also landed triple axels during the Olympics.

Nagasu completed a flawless routine, pumping both fists as she finished and got a standing ovation from the excited crowd. She received a personal-best score of 137.53, narrowly edging Canada's Gabrielle Daleman, who had 137.14, for third.

Russian Alina Zagitova the rising star from Russia and current European champion, topped Nagasu's score by 20 points. The 15-year-old stamped herself as the main challenger to countrywoman Evgenia Medvedeva for the gold in the individual event with a brilliant combination of jumps, spins, artistry and overall presence.

Speaking to NBC's Andrea Joyce after the performance, Nagasu said her teammates' support helped her get through the routine and revealed what was going through her mind right before launching into the history-making jump.

"Going into that triple axle, I tripped a couple of times going into it because I was so nervous. But I had to tell myself, 'No, I'm going to go for it 100 percent and not pull back.' That was really special for me," she said. 

Fellow Team USA figure skater Adam Rippon also gave a flawless performance in his Olympic debut Sunday night. 

The 28-year-old skated a fluid and at times mesmerizing routine, but his marks were damaged by inconsistencies with his jumps, including omitting a planned quad lutz.

Still, his third-place finish extended the Americans' lead over Italy to two points, helping the Americans get closer to replicating their showing in Sochi.

"This was my opportunity to just get my feet under me on Olympic ice, but more than that it's to help get Team USA get that medal,” Rippon said after his performance, adding that he "went out there, I did my job and I’ll be cheering for my teammates today.”

Canada's Patrick Chan scored a season-best 179.75 to help his team clinch first place in the team figure skating competition. Russian Mikhail Kolyada received a score of 173.57 to help his team take the silver. 

Ice dancers Anna Cappelini and Luca Lanotte of Italy had a solid performance with 107.00 points, but Team USA's Maia and Alex Shibtani put together an even better one, beating them out with a score of 112.01 and finishing in second place in the free dance.

Canada eventually took first in the event, with Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir scoring a 118.10. Russian ice skaters Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev came in third with 110.43.

Teams entered in the event are allowed a maximum of two substitutions. For example, Bradie Tennell skated the ladies’ short program, but Nagasu did the free skate. Similarly, Rippon competed the men’s free skate, but his training partner, Nathan Chen, did the men’s short program on Wednesday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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