Sochi, RussiaRussia has grabbed the lead in the new team figure skating event at the 2014 Olympics after Yevgeny Plushenko and the pairs duo of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov put on stellar performances Thursday night.
Plushenko finished second to Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu in the men's short program segment, giving the Russians nine points in the format. Volosozhar and Trankov then won the pairs short program for 10 points to push the Russians to the top of the standings with 19 total points.
The 10-nation competition features one man, one woman, one pairs duo and one dance team. Each individual skater and team will perform a short program and the best score will earn 10 points for that nation with nine points going to the second-best score, and so on.
After the four short programs for each nation, the field will be trimmed to the best five and the free skate for each of those five will help determine the medals.
The gold will go to the nation that has best cumulative score from the eight segments.
Canada currently sits second with 17 points after two segments, as world men's champion Patrick Chan finished third for eight points and the pairs team of Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford placed second for nine points.
China is third with 15 points and Japan is fourth with 13. The Japanese pairs duo of Narumi Takahashi and Ryuichi Kihara was a distant eighth on Thursday for three points to follow Hanyu's 10-point, first-place effort.
The United States is tied for fifth with Germany and France at 10 points. American champion Jeremy Abbott was seventh on Thursday for four points and the pairs tandem of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir placed fifth to earn six points.
The women and ice dancing short programs are scheduled for Saturday. The field will then be cut to five teams and the pairs free skate will also take place Saturday.
Free skates for the men, women and ice dancing are slated for Sunday, when medals will also be awarded.