Figure skaters mix it up in glorious send-off

LAUSANNE, Jan 15 – Athletes from Estonia, Georgia, Japan and Russia combined as Team Courage to win the mixed NOC team event as figure skating closed out in style at Lausanne 2020.

The eight-team event featured athletes from different nations competing together, with each team represented in the ice dance, pairs, ladies’ singles and men’s singles, with ranking points from the four rounds combined to determine the medals.

Team Courage got off to the best possible start when Japanese duo Nishiyama Shingo and Yoshida Utana topped the ice dance rankings, earning their team a maximum eight points.

The pair, who moved to Canada to advance their careers, were delighted to have put on a quality performance.

“It was fun out there today, for sure,” said Nishiyama, 17. “I felt it was more relaxed today.”

Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava (GEO) | Chloe Knott for OISphotos.com

After Alina Butaeva and Luka Berulava from Georgia ranked third in the pairs, Russia’s Kseniia Sinitsyna sealed the win for Team Courage by topping the scores in ladies’ singles.

“I am so happy that I now know my team will win. It’s been a good experience having teammates from different countries supporting me,” Sinitsyna, who won a silver medal in the ladies’ singles on Monday, said.

The excellence of his teammates meant Arlet Levandi (EST) took an unassailable lead into the final phase, the men’s singles. He performed admirably, placing seventh.

“I was very happy to be drawn with my teammates,” he said, heaping praise on his new friends. “My team are the Youth Olympic gold medallists.”

The athletes embraced the composite format, cheering for their teammates as they performed and then waiting with them for scores to be announced.

“It was different. You wanted to go out there and do well, have fun, and be part of a team,” said Canada’s Tyler Gunara. He and ice dance partner Miku Makita competed for Team Hope.

This was the final event for figure skating at Lausanne 2020. Of the four other gold medals available over the course of the competition, Russia took two with wins in the ice dance and pairs, and there was a gold each for Japan and the Republic of Korea in the men’s and women’s singles respectively.

OIS tc/kc/sg

By Olympic Information Service

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