GANGNEUNG-Ice dance stars Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir inspired Canada to the figure skating team title to secure the Winter Games heavyweights' first gold at Pyeongchang 2018 on Monday.

The Russians, with their teenage ice starlets Evgenia Medvedeva and Alina Zagitova, took their first silver of the Games. The USA team was third.

The Canadian, featuring dual 2014 silver medallist Patrick Chan, fulfilled their promise as favourites to beat Olympic Athletes from Russia, after coming second to the 2014 Games host nation in Sochi. They took command on Friday, despite Chan tumbling in his men's short programme.

Competing in their third Olympics, Virtue and Moir earned a maximum 10 points for their short programme, and matched that in the concluding free with an exhilarating four-and-a-half minute performance to the music of Moulin Rouge.

Canada finished on 73 points, with OAR on 66 and the USA a further four points behind.

Three-time ex world champion Chan said "determination" was the added ingredient that had made the difference between Sochi silver and Korean gold.

"We had determination this time around. We saw the potential we had in Sochi and didn't capitalise on it. This time we really want to nail it into the coffin and win this thing."

Italy came in fourth with Japan last of the five that went through to the final five segments of the competition which was held over three days. While Japan had to make do without defending men's Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu, Canada went into battle with all their stars present.

And they didn't let them down at the Gangneung Ice Arena. For Russia, competing in South Korea as OAR after Russia's state-sponsored doping ban, it was always going to be a struggle to recover from Mikhail Kolyada's flop in the men's short programme. But they gave it a great shot, with their teenaged starlets Medvedeva and Zagitova dominant in both ladies' sections. Medvedeva conjured up a world record score in Sunday's short programme, with Zagitova producing a personal best in her free dance to Don Quixote.

"Today I got my best score, a season's best and I am pleased with that," said 15-year-old Zagitova after this latest chapter in a remarkable first senior season.

"I was very nervous because I wanted to skate well and I did," added the freshly-minted European champion. "I got up in the morning and realised that I have to skate well and not let the team down and do the maximum."

Training companions Medvedeva and Zagitova will turn from teammates to foes next week for a mouthwatering women's title showdown. As for the men, US quad boy wonder Nathan Chen, rated one of Japanese skating golden boy Hanyu's main dangers, will be working overtime in training after making mistakes in his short routine.

Hanyu sat out the team competition as he gave his body every chance of being at its best for the defence of his crown after ankle ligament damage threatened to scuttle his Olympic dream last November.

He is due to train for the first time since arriving in Pyeongchang later Monday. The figure skating resumes on Wednesday and Thursday for the pairs competition with the men taking centre stage on Friday and Saturday.




Wust eclipses Blankers-Koen

with fifth gold

Speed skater Ireen Wust eclipsed track and field legend Fanny Blankers-Koen when she became the first Dutch athlete to win five gold medals at the Pyeongchang Games on Monday. The 31-year-old claimed her place in history with a winning time of 1min, 54.35secs in the 1,500m, with Japan's Miho Takagi second, 0.2sec back, and Dutch standout Marrit Leenstra third in 1:55.26. Wust became the first Dutch Olympian to win five gold medals, breaking the career mark she had shared with sprinter Blankers-Koen, swimmer Inge De Bruijn, cyclist Leontien van Moorsel and equestrian rider Charles Pahud de Mortanges. With 10 Olympic medals, she also moves past equestrian great Anky van Grunsven for the most by any Dutch athlete in the Winter or Summer Games.




Slice of history for Fourcade


Frenchman Martin Fourcade claimed the biathlon pursuit gold medal and a place in history at the Pyeongchang Olympics on Monday. Army officer Fourcade, 29, beat Sweden's Sebastian Samuelsson into second place with Germany's Benedikt Doll taking the bronze. Following his upset eighth place in the sprint on Monday, Fourcade collected only one penalty point for shooting in blustery, freezing conditions and crossed the line with 12 seconds to spare over Samuelsson. Already France's most decorated winter Olympian prior to the race, Fourcade brings his tally to five medals overall including three golds. With that tally of golds he joins alpine skier Jean-Claude Killy on three Olympic titles, a French all-time record. Killy took three golds at the Grenoble Games in 1968. Fourcade's win was France's second gold medal of the Games after Perrine Laffont's women's moguls win Sunday.



Biathlon double

for Dahlmeier


Germany's Laura Dahlmeier beat the opposition and freezing conditions to claim her second gold medal of the Winter Olympics in the biathlon pursuit Monday, two days after winning the sprint. The 24-year-old said she ran "for her life" to finish ahead of Slovakia's Anastasiya Kuzmina, who narrowly beat France's Anais Bescond for the silver.  Dahlmeier, who won five gold medals at last year's world championships, can bring her Olympic haul to three golds if she triumphs in the mass start on Saturday. "It was really cold and on the shooting range we had a lot of wind," she said. "Especially on the last lap the coaches told me I had to fight for every second -- because there were some athletes behind me and I should run for my life."


Anderson defends slopestyle title


Jamie Anderson survived high winds which disrupted the crash-filled women's slopestyle snowboarding competition to successfully defend her Olympic title on Monday. The 27-year-old took gold despite briefly going over in her final run, with Laurie Blouin of Canada earning silver and Finland's Enni Rukajarvi taking bronze. Britain's Katie Ormerod and Australian Tess Coady both suffered competition-ending injuries on the slopestyle course, which features high rails and huge jumps to negotiate in the swirling winds.



Lundby leaps to dramatic ski jump gold


Norway's Maren Lundby produced a perfect final leap to snatch women's ski jump gold in dramatic fashion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics on Monday. After Japanese starlet Sara Takanashi went top, only to be quickly replaced by Germany's Katharina Althaus, Lundby scored 139.2 points in the last jump of the normal hill competition to clinch gold. While all three medallists reached the Olympic podium for the first time, it was a redemptive achievement for Takanashi, who flopped in 2014 when she was hot favourite and had been out of form in the build-up to Pyeongchang.




Medal table

Pos         country                G             S              B             T

1              Germany             4              1              2              7

2              Netherlands       3              2              2              7

3              Norway                2              4              3              9

4              Canada 2              4              1              7

5              United States    2              1              1              4

6              France  2              0              1              3

7              Sweden               1              1              0              2

8              Austria  1              0              0              1

8              Republic of Korea            1              0              0              1

10           Japan    0              1              2              3

11           Czech Republic  0              1              1              2

11           OAR       0              1              1              2

13           Australia              0              1              0              1

13           Slovakia                0              1              0              1

15           Finland 0              0              2              2

16           Italy       0              0              1              1

16           Kazakhstan         0              0              1              1