By BARRY WILNER, AP Sports Writer
SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Yuzuru Hanyu gave Japan the lead in the new team figure skating competition Thursday night at the Sochi Olympics.
Skating last, he beat Russian star and three-time Olympic medalist Evgeni Plushenko by 6½ points with a near-perfect performance. Plushenko had the crowd on its feet earlier with his best routine in years, which earned second place heading into the pairs competition later in the evening.
Three-time world champion Patrick Chan struggled and was fortunate to be third. Things were even worse for the United States as four-time national champion Jeremy Abbott was seventh.
Japan earns 10 points for the victory, with Russia getting nine, Canada eight and so on for the 10 teams.
The team event includes all four disciplines, with the ice dancers and women getting started Saturday.
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