February 11, 2018 / 4:11 AM / 10 months ago

Figure skating: Canada leads after sizzling Virtue, Moir dance

GANGNEUNG, South Korea (Reuters) - Ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir produced a sizzling routine to bolster an already strong Canadian team performance on the second day of figure skating’s team competition at the Winter Olympics on Sunday.

Figure Skating – Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Team Event Ice Dance short dance – Gangneung Ice Arena - Gangneung, South Korea – February 11, 2018 - Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada compete. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The reigning world champions and three-time Olympic medallists dazzled with an impressive midline step sequence that earned them 80.51 points and extended the Canadian’s to 27 points overall, four ahead of the United States.

American brother and sister Maia and Alex Shibutani’s energetic performance that included smooth twizzles and an impressive rotational lift, finished second with 75.46 points.

“It was our strongest performance that we were looking to put out, I think we made a lot of big steps coming out of Nationals,” Alex told reporters, referring to the U.S. competition last month.

“The programme felt great. We went out there with a job and we’re very happy that we did it,” he said, although he added they were a little disappointed at their score.

A boisterous crowd of supporters chanted “USA! USA!” before the skate and much of the audience was clapping along with their routine.

Olympic Athletes from Russia Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, part of the Russian team that won gold at the 2014 Sochi Games, were third with 74.76 points and lifted their team into third place overall on 21 points.

“We had trouble with our rumba,” Soloviev told reporters. “Of course we’re disappointed because we worked on this element more than on the others.”

Japan was in fourth overall on 19 points.

The first day of the team competition, which included the men’s and pairs short programmes, were marked by falls by Canada’s Patrick Chan and American jumping ace Nathan Chen, although the overall team scores were lifted by the later pairs results.

The women are set to skate their short programme later on Sunday, after which the top five nations will proceed to the free section of the team competition.

The pairs competition will cap the day of team competitions on Sunday, with the final rounds on Monday.

Editing by Greg Stutchbury

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