Uno shines as team figure skating starts ahead of opening ceremony

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shoma Uno performs his short program in the figure skating team event in Beijing on Friday.

BEIJING — As the host city prepared for the opening ceremony to mark the official start of the Beijing Winter Olympics to be held on Friday night, Shoma Uno and the figure skaters put on quite a show earlier in the day.

Figure skating got underway with the first day of the team event with short program (rhythm dance for ice dancing) performances in three of the four categories.

Uno, the men’s silver medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, finished second with a personal best of 105.46 points as Japan stayed in contention for its first-ever team medal by ending the day in fourth place with 20 points.

In ice dancing, the team of Misato and Takeru Komatsubara placed seventh and in the pairs, Riku Miura and Ryuichi Kihara finished in fourth place.

Following the women’s short program on Sunday, the top five teams will advance to the free program. Ten points are awarded for first place, nine for second, etc., down to 10th place.

The United States, with first-place finishes by three-time men’s world champion Nathan Chen and its ice dancers, led the competition with 28 points, followed by the Russian Olympic Committee team with 26 and host China with 21.

The team event started at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Japan has placed fifth twice.

The opening ceremony at Beijing National Stadium, more commonly referred to as the Bird’s Nest, was to come six months after the delayed Tokyo Olympics came to an end.

About 2,900 athletes from about 90 countries and territories will compete in 109 events in seven sports on snow and ice through Feb. 20. In addition to figure skating, competition has already begun in several sports.