Thursday’s kickoff to the Sochi games featured two new additions to the Olympic slate: slopestyle snowboarding and team ice skating. In the latter, each competing nation put forth a man, woman, skating pair and ice dancing pair whose cumulative scores – similar to what happens in gymnastics – determine who advances to the free skate portion of the competition.
The male skaters’ short programs featured a little bit of hometown pride, a lot of frustrated disappointment and a teen on fire. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu, 19, put down a powerful opening performance that nabbed him the top spot on the leaderboard.
Hanyu is skating in these games against one of his idols, 31-year-old Yegevny Plushenko of Russia. Plushenko, appearing in his fourth Olympics, was a big hit with the vocal locals in the stands but wound up in second place by the end of the evening.
The night’s biggest disappointment came for American Jeremy Abbott, who fell once and then reduced the level of difficulty of some of his moves – at one point only completing a single axel. Abbott’s skate left him in seventh place (out of 10).
What was your favorite moment from Thursday? Sound off in the comments!Follow @kimroots