The United States came into Saturday in some danger of not even qualifying for the finals in the team figure skating competition at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Bolstered by a solid strong pairs performance from Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, however, the U.S. now finds itself in third place overall and in excellent position to medal.
The stars of the show for the United States were the ice dancing pair of Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who earned 10 points for the country with a huge score of 75.98, tops among the countries in the qualifying round. Ashley Wagner also gave a strong performance in the qualifying women's free skate, earning seven necessary points for the U.S.
But Castelli and Shnapir kept the United States in the running with a decent performance, albeit one that was fourth-best out of the five pairs team that qualified for the finals.
Below, you'll find the full results from the pairs final, including a recap of the event and the overall standings of the team competition.
|1||Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov||Russia||135.09||10|
|2||Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch||Canada||129.74||9|
|3||Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek||Italy||120.82||8|
|4||Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir||United States||117.94||7|
|5||Narumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kihara||Japan||86.33||6|
The Russian pair of Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov capped off a huge day for the host nation—which earned 28 points in the three events contested on Saturday—by blowing away the competition with a 135.09 score. It was a breathtaking performance and gave the Russians a ton of momentum as the finals began.
And as you might imagine, it had the crowd in a frenzy, as Nick McCarvel of NBC Sports tweeted:
The Canadian pair of Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch also skated well and kept Canada within striking distance of the overall competition, though it's hard to see the hosts botching their six-point lead at this point.
The Italian team of Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek nudged the United States out of third place by less than three points, and it should be noted that the United States has been mathematically eliminated from winning gold.
Still, with three events to go, the U.S. stands in third overall and with an excellent chance to take home a medal. That would certainly be a great start for the figure skating athletes as they head into the individual competition.