The brand new team figure skating competition got off to a rousing start, especially for Russia, at the Iceberg Skating Palace in Sochi on Thursday.
The men and the pairs skated their short programs with an eye towards finishing in the top five so their nations can advance to the long program portion of the competition.
On the men's side, all eyes were on Russia's veteran superstar Evgeny Plushenko, who overcame an injury-riddled couple of years to lay down a performance that thrilled the partisan crowd and landed him in second place. Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu skated fantastically to finish first, while reigning world champion Patrick Chan of Canada was third.
In the pairs competition, reigning world champions Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov of Russia dominated, finishing atop the rankings over pairs from Canada in second place and China in third.
The team competition will resume on Saturday with the women's and ice dancing short programs.
Jeremy Abbott of Team USA had a tough day in the men's short program. He finished seventh while the pair of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were fifth.
The U.S. is tied with Germany and France for the critical fifth spot in the overall standings, so they'll need strong performances on Saturday in order to advance to the long program competition.
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