Yevgeny Plushenko, the Russian figure skater, stole the show on Thursday at the first team competition of the Sochi Winter Olympics in the men’s short program of the new team figure skating competition.

What Is Team Figure Skating?

This year, the Sochi Winter Olympics have decided to introduce a new competition to the Olympic games: team figure skating. Each country puts forth one man, one woman, one ice dancing couple and one pairs team to compete in separate events as a team. Skaters are ranked within their respective categories and then the points are added to determine a winning team. The men, including Plushenko, performed Thursday, Feb. 6 at the Iceberg Skating Palace, and the 31-year-old fan favorite pulled ahead with his routine to “Tango de Roxanne.”

Plushenko Gets Second Place For Short Program

Plushenko skated for the first time in two years Thursday, participating in his forth-consecutive Winter Olympics. He won Olympic silver in 2002 and 2010 and secured the gold in 2006. The gold medalist is a favorite of Russia, and has beaten the odds to return to competitive figure skating after going through multiple knee and back surgeries.

Plushenko dazzled the audience with his routine, which showcased his trademark showmanship, even blowing a kiss to Russian judges mid routine. Despite his attention grabbing routine, Plushenko was outdone by Japanese skater Yuzuru Hanyu, who secured the top spot with a score of 97.98, far ahead of Plushenko’s 91.39.

“I’ve skated in four Olympic Games in my life; it doesn’t matter what the result in the end is. This is already a win for me,” Plushenko said.

Regardless of the rankings, Plushenko’s comeback routine was the talk of the night and Russia earned the top spot in team figure skating so far after the pairs short program. Team figure skating will continue Saturday and Sunday.

The Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony will air tonight at 7:30 p.m. on NBC.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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