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USA wins bronze in figure skating team event

One point separated the third place Americans from the Italians entering the last day of the team figure skating event.

Behind Mirai Nagasu’s historic triple Axel and Adam Rippon’s clean debut, Team USA was able to secure the bronze medal.

The men’s free program opened the night with Rippon subbing in for Nathan Chen who had fallen in the short program earlier this week.

The first-time Olympian opted to take out his quad jump and his signature Rippon lutz in favor of a cleaner program. His clean program was good for third, extending the American’s lead over Italy to two points.

Canada’s Patrick Chan and Olympic Athletes from Russia’s Mikhail Kolyada both had falls, but benefited from including quads in their program to finish first and second respectively.

Nagasu followed to open the women’s portion of the night and nailed her first jump – the triple Axel.

The next three athletes couldn’t catch her 137.53, but Alina Zagitova had a near flawless performance. She took first ahead of Nagasu by nearly 21 points.  But Nagasu’s second place helped her team secure their hold on third place, stretching the lead over Italy to four points.

With only the Shibutani siblings to go, the Americans had the bronze medal all but locked up. The Shib sibs wrapped up the team portion for the US to finish in second behind Canada’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir. The Canadians bettered their silver from Sochi with a gold in PyeongChang. Olympic Athletes from Russia finished with the team silver.

Mirai Nagasu of the United States reacts after her performance in the ladies single skating free skating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)