- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Middle Eastern firm’s deal to manage U.S. cargo port raises security concerns
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Figure skaters balance singles vs new team event
Question of the Day
SOCHI, Russia (AP) - The fans in the arena loved the first Olympic figure skating team event.
They might have been a little biased, of course: What wasn’t to like when host Russia won gold in a sport adored in this country?
The skaters themselves had mostly nice things to say about the inaugural competition, though their actions suggested slightly more ambivalent feelings.
The concept is popular. The actual logistics, maybe not so much. For the men in particular, the quick turnaround between the team free skate and the individual short program was a concern.
Two of the gold medal favorites, Canada’s Patrick Chan and Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, did not take the ice Sunday, saving energy for the singles event, which starts Thursday. Under the team competition rules, each country could switch up its entry between the short and long programs for two of the four disciplines.
“It feels good to be able to hand it off,” Chan said Thursday after his short program, speaking about figure skating’s version of passing the baton. “Come the 13th, I don’t want to hand if off, of course.”
The flexibility made the team event feasible, if a bit less credible and exciting when the top skaters weren’t always on the ice.
There were plenty of empty seats throughout the team competition, though that has also been the case in other venues. The fans who showed up seemed to be having a blast; there’s no way of knowing what the atmosphere would have been like had the Russians struggled.
NBC’s prime-time ratings have been strong so far.
Alexei Mishin, Evgeni Plushenko’s coach, says fans can’t get enough figure skating.
“Very popular, very beautiful sport,” he said. “Four medals - ridiculous. Five medals - better. Six?”
That would be more like it.
The limitations of the Olympic schedule make it difficult to give skaters more of a cushion. The team event started a day before the opening ceremony to squeeze all the competition in.
Four-time world champion Kurt Browning, doing commentary for Canadian broadcasters, suggests one solution: shifting the team competition to after the individual events.
Japan was a long shot for a medal, winding up fifth, though fans certainly would have enjoyed watching Hanyu skate again. Canada’s calculus was more complicated because the country came in with team gold medal hopes. In the end, however, the Canadians would have taken silver even had Chan won the free skate because champion Russia racked up so many points in the rest of the programs.
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- McCLAUGHRY: Finish off the "Islamic State" quickly and cheaply
- New York Times reporter Carol Vogel accused of plagiarism
- Iraqi Christians rally at White House: 'Obama, Obama, where are you?'
- Hillary Clinton: Forget Obama, George W. Bush made her 'proud to be an American'
- ISIL destroys key bridge leading to Baghdad; suicide truck bomb severed supply line
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world