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Skater Abbott falls; U.S. tied for fifth in team event

SOCHI, RUSSIA — Once again, Jeremy Abbott cracked on the international stage.

After an outstanding week of practice, Abbott had a disastrous performance during the men's short program on Thursday, part of a new team event at the Winter Olympics.

Abbott botched a quad and didn't attempt a triple axel, finishing with 65.65 points.

"I think I needed to work out the rust, shake out the demons," Abbott said. "We all know I have a lot of demons. I just had to shake them off and get them out of the way and brush them under the rug. I'm torn apart I couldn't do this for my team."

After the first two events of the eight-program team event, there was no surprise at the top of the standings. Russia was in first place, with 19 points, and Canada was in second (17). China was third (15), and Japan had 13. The U.S. had 10 points, the same as Germany and France. But under the tie-breaking rules, the U.S. sits in seventh place.

Abbott competed in the first of eight segments of this 10-team event that features the four disciplines of figure skating: men's, ladies, pairs and ice dance.

The first place team in each event will earn 10 points, second place gets nine, and so on.

That will put extra pressure on Ashley Wagner in the women's short program and the dance team of Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who train in Canton.

If they don't lift the U.S. into the top five after the first four segments, the U.S. will be eliminated before the long programs start.

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu won the men's short program, with 97.98 points. Russia's Evgeny Plyushchenko was second, with 91.39 points, while Canada's Patrick Chan, who also trains at the Detroit Skating club, was third, with 89.71 points.

The Russian pairs team of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov won the pairs short program with 83.79 points. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford were second (73.10), while Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir were fifth (64.25 points).

Abbott took some solace after the event, saying that he can now concentrate on his individual competition.