The Russians should be prepared to celebrate. They are now assured to win the gold medal in the team figure skating event, with only the women’s free skate remaining on the program.
The Russian pairs team of Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov won their free skate on Monday — even after collapsing onto the ice in a dramatic fall during one lift. At the other end of the pairs leaderboard were the Americans Alexa Knierim and Brandon Frazier, whose mistake-laden performance landed them fifth out of five pairs.
The ice dancers Madison Chock and Evan Bates won the free dance for the United States — with Chock playing the part of an alien — and put the Americans solidly in second place heading into the women’s free skate. But the Russians’ lead is too great for the United States to overtake them.
The team competition adds up scores from men’s and women’s singles skaters, pairs and ice dancers; points are awarded based on the order of finish (10 for first, 9 for second and so on).
Russia has been in first place since the second day of the three-day event, thanks in part to Kamila Valieva, the 15-year-old star who nearly set a world record for points in the women’s short program on Sunday. She won by more than 15 points, skating’s equivalent of a mile.
On Sunday, the Russian athletes passed the Americans in the standings to take over the top spot.
The U.S. team has tried to redeem itself after two disappointing showings on Sunday, including one from Karen Chen, who finished a surprise fifth in the short program after falling on a triple jump. Vincent Zhou also had a bad day, finishing third in the free skate after popping a planned quadruple jump and rotating only once instead of four times. Chen and Zhou, both two-time Olympians, said nerves played a part in their subpar performances.
The United States has won the bronze medal at the past two Olympics.