**As to not reveal any spoilers, a "day" at the Olympics will not end until the prime time showing on television**
My major concern with the Winter Olympics is that the competition begins before the opening ceremonies. I can understand the reasoning for this (more events added to the schedule, television scheduling), but it still doesn't seem right to begin without the official opening of the Olympics.
With that out of the way, let's focus on the competition from day 1. Sports on the slate included men's singles and pairs of the team figure skating, qualifiers for men's and women's slope style snowboarding, and qualifiers for women's mogul.
Team Figure Skating
There are four categories that make up the team figure skating: men's singles, pair, dance, and women's singles. The team figure skating competition is new to the Winter Olympics. Teams receive points anywhere from 1-10 based on their place in each category. At the end of the competition, the teams with the three highest point totals make the podium.
Yevgeny Plusheko [photo credit: AP Photo]
The Russians dominated the ice during the first half of the competition. Yevgeny Plusheko gave a great performance in the men's singles. He performed in front of a home crowd after going through twelve surgeries during his career. The routine wasn't flawless, but it was a great personal victory as he got through the routine and felt great doing it. Ultimately, Plusheko would come in second behind Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu who put together a flawless routine with crisp and full moves.
The Russians continued to amaze during the pairs skating. Tatyana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov gave a medal worthy performance, helping Russia gain a score of 19 at the end of the night of competition, putting them in first place.
Team USA struggled in the men's singles category, putting much pressure on the rest of the team to deliver. Jeremy Abbott struggled immensely in his singles performance, falling while landing a quad and only turning a single Axel instead of the described triple. He ended up with a score of 65.65, no wheres near the top three. Pairs team Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir landed a fifth place finish in the pairs competition.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir [photo credit: USA Today Sports]
At the end of the first half of competition, Team Russia is in first place and Team USA sits in seventh place.
Snowboard Slope Style
This is another new sport added to the Olympic games. There are two passes of rails and platforms that the competitors can do tricks off of at the beginning of the slope. And then as the slope goes on, there are three ramps made for jumps with plenty of air.
The USA had trouble finding the top spots in the men's slope style qualifiers last night. No one was eliminated, but a straight line to the finals was on the line. The top four scorers in each of the two heats would automatically be in the finals. At the end of the day, no USA men placed in the top four. Chas Guldemond was edged out of the fourth spot on the final run and finished fifth.
Chas Guldemond [photo credit: Getty Images]
A major story in the men's slope style boasts the name Shaun White. The year, White was planning on competing in both slope style and half pipe. But after suffering a wrist injury and crashing during practice on the slope, he withdrew from the competition and decided to focus solely on half pipe.
At the end of the qualifying round, the top eight men moving into the finals are as follows (in order of overall score):
Max Parrot [CAN], Roope Tonteri [FIN], Staale Sandbech [NOR], Sven Thorgren [SWE], Gjermund Bratten [NOR], Peetu Piiroinen [FIN], Sebastien Toutant [CAN], Jamie Nicholls [GBR]
Jamie Anderson was one of two women from the USA to make it straight to the finals. She is also viewed as one of the favorites to compete for gold in the event.
Jamie Anderson [photo credit: Getty Images]
At the end of the qualifying round, the top eight women moving into the finals are as follows (in order of overall score):
Anna Gasser [AUT], Jamie Anderson [USA], Isabel Derungs [SUI], Elena Koenz [SUI], Torah Bright [AUS], Karly Shorr [USA], Spencer O'Brien [CAN], Enni Rukajarvi [FIN]
Hannah Kearney [photo credit: Getty Images]
The women's mogul qualifying round also took place last night. Defending gold medalist Hannah Kearney dominated the qualifying round with 23.05 points. She made it through the course in just 30.14 seconds.
Kearney is predicted to repeat her gold win from the 2010 Olympics. And after last night's performance, it's quite clear why.
The top ten scorers made it through to the finals. Those top women are as follows (in order of overall score):