With the help of Clarks Summit native Adam Rippon, the United States earned the bronze medal in team figure skating at the Winter Olympics — and it clinched third even before its ice dancers took the ice.
Canada already was assured of the gold and the Russians had taken silver heading into the final discipline.
The Americans led Italy by four points, and when the Italian ice dancers, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte, did not score well enough to win the free dance, the U.S. had replicated its third-place finish in the event at Sochi.
That pretty much left the program of U.S. pair Maia and Alex Shibutani as an exhibition.
The medal winners were the same as in 2014, except the Canadians moved up a spot, and the Russians — the Olympic Athletes from Russia this time around — won gold.
The Canadians held the lead with 63 points through the men’s and women’s free skates, and would not be caught.
Canada held onto the lead after the men’s free skate despite a mediocre performance by 10-time national champion Patrick Chan.
Chan scored a season-best 179.75, but he fell once, put his hand to the ice on another jump and cut short a combination. His artistry and higher-scoring elements boosted his mark significantly.
Rippon had the third-highest mark with 172.98.
Rippon, replacing U.S. champion Nathan Chen, had a fluid and steady routine, said he was pleased he was able to keep Team USA in the hunt for a medal.
“I said this is my opportunity to get my feet wet on the Olympic ice,” Rippon said. “More than that — to help get Team USA that medal. I want to be one of the first medals at the Games. We have a great team.
“I’m proud to be on this team. I’m going to be cheering my team on the rest of the way.”
Heading into the free dance, the United States has 53 points, four more than Italy, with the bronze on the line heading into the free dance.
Russian Alina Zagitova won the women’s free skate, topping even her performance in taking the European title last month with a season-best 158.08 points — more than 20 ahead of American Mirai Nagasu.
With Zagitova’s flawless performance, the Russians also clinched the silver.
Nagasu had a personal-best 137.53 points, narrowly edging Canada’s Gabrielle Daleman, who had 137.14, for third. Nagasu became just the third woman to land a triple axel at the Olympics, and the first American woman.