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Olympic Figure Skating Team Event: USA back in medal contention

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir of the United States compete in the Figure Skating Team Pairs Free Skating during day one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir of the United States compete in the Figure Skating Team Pairs Free Skating during day one of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics at Iceberg Skating Palace on February 8, 2014 in Sochi, Russia.Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Olympic figure skating team event continued today, February 8, with the ice dance short, ladies short and pairs free skate. Team Russia is currently in the lead, Team Canada is in the mix in second place and Team USA made a comeback and is currently sitting in third place.

Russian pair Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov chose not to participate in the free skate in order to prepare for the individual pairs event that will begin in only a few days. Skating in their place was Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov, who skated a strong performance winning over the Russian audience and showing that they can hold their own without Volosozhar and Trankov. Stolbova and Klimov came in first place, giving Team Russia another 10 points.

Though Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford skated a strong short program, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch skated the free skate for Team Canada. Kirsten struggled with the side by side triple salchows, but they still had a great performance otherwise, which was enough for second place, keeping Team Canada in medal contention.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir attempted their throw quadruple salchow, which is amazing to watch. She was unable to hold onto the landing, stepping out of it, but overall it was a solid attempt. Marissa took a fall on the side by side triple salchows, but they fought through it and landed in fourth place, giving Team USA 7 points.

“We just went out there to have fun,” Marissa said to the media. “Its been a great experience and we couldn't ask for a better team.”

Unless there are some big surprises, most expect that the standings will stay the same and that Team USA will capture the bronze, but time will tell. It’s the Olympic Games and anything can happen.

Tomorrow the first ever medals will be awarded in the team figure skating event as the men, ladies and ice dance free skates conclude the event.

Team Event: Pairs free skate final standings:

1. Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov RUS - 135.09
2. Kirsten Moore-Towers/Dylan Moscovitch CAN - 129.74
3. Stefania Berton/Ondrej Hotarek ITA - 120.82
4. Marissa Castelli/Simon Shnapir USA - 117.94
5. Narumi Takahashi/Ryuichi Kihara JPN - 86.33

Overall team standings after pairs free skate:

1. Russia - 47
2. Canada - 41
3. United States - 34
4. Italy - 31
5. Japan - 30

Eliminated teams:
6. France - 22
7. China - 20
8. Germany - 17
9. Ukraine - 10
10. Great Britain - 8