Hanyu edges Plushenko to give Japan lead over Russia in new Olympic team figure skating event

The Associated Press

Evgeny Plyushchenko of Russia waves to spectators after competing in the men's team short program figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, in Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

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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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