Photo: COC/David Jackson
Photo: COC/David Jackson

Figure skaters win Team Canada’s first gold of PyeongChang 2018

Mission accomplished.

Four years after taking silver in the inaugural Olympic figure skating team event, Team Canada got the gold medal they were looking for at PyeongChang 2018.

Standing atop the podium together were Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Patrick Chan, Kaetlyn Osmond and Gabrielle Daleman.

Team Canada Gabrielle Daleman team event PyeongChang 2018

Team Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman after her routine during the women’s singles portion of the figure skating team event at the Gangneung Ice Arena at PyeongChang 2018, Monday, February 12, 2018. COC/David Jackson

It has been a career journey together for most of the team – namely Virtue and Moir, Chan, and Duhamel and Radford – who all came up through the ranks together from the time they were juniors and will be retiring from competition after this season. While Osmond and Daleman are younger, they have been become an integral part of the team, especially since sharing the podium at the 2017 World Championships.

At the start of the season, they came together and set the goal of winning the team event gold in PyeongChang.

Team Canada came into the final day of the team event with 45 placement points after the completion of the four short programs as well as the pairs free skate. They had a six-point buffer on the Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR), while the United States was in third with 36 points, just one ahead of Italy.

Team Canada Patrick Chan PyeongChang 2018 team free skate

Team Canada’s Patrick Chan performs his routine during the men’s free skate portion of the team event at the Gangneung Ice Arena surface at PyeongChang 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, February 12, 2018. COC/David Jackson

Chan got the final day going with his best free skate of the season, landing two superb quad toes to open the program. It wasn’t without some struggles, particularly on his triple Axels, but he also thought on his feet, adding a triple Salchow onto his triple Lutz after he had missed the opportunity to do it earlier in the program.

« We had determination this time around, » he said of the team mentality. « We saw the potential we had in Sochi and didn’t capitalize on it. This time we really want to nail it into the coffin and win this thing. It’s such an exhilarating feeling because we’re such a tight-knit team, and we’ve been from the same generation so we want to win this medal for all of us. »

With 179.75 points, Chan placed first among the five men in the free skate, earning 10 placement points towards Canada’s total and increasing the team lead to 7 points over the OAR.

Daleman was up next, swapping in for Osmond who had skated the short program. She came through with a clean free skate, highlighted by her trademark triple toe-triple combination to open. She delivered seven triple jumps in total to the Rhapsody in Blue music that had helped her get onto the world podium last season.

She scored 137.14 points to finish third amongst the women, adding another 8 points to Canada’s total, giving the team a 63-58 lead over OAR with the United States at 53 points.

Daleman’s performance came after a season of struggles, in which she dealt with both injuries and illness before winning her second national title last month, making it especially gratifying.

Virtue and Moir closed out the competition, taking to the ice last in the free dance portion. They performed as everyone expected them to, even with some recent alterations to a couple of their lifts. They were the top team in the ice dance portion, scoring 118.10 to officially lock up the gold medal.

More to come.