On the first day of the new Olympic team figure skating event, the United States was tied for the fifth-most points after short programs for the men and pairs, technically resting in seventh after tiebreakers among 10 nations.
Only the top five countries advance to the free skates, a cut made after the women and ice dancers complete their short programs on Saturday. But the Americans are hardly in a precarious position, because they boast the reigning world ice dancing champs in Meryl Davis and Charlie White.
Russia leads with 19 points, and the other favorite, Canada, has 17. The US earned just 10 Thursday, but has better balance then most of the squads ahead of it, and two wins from its ice dancers would be worth 20 points.
Still, after the falls and botched jumps from US champions Jeremy Abbott and the pairs team of Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir, bronze may be the Americans’ best hope. Abbott crashed into the boards after falling on his opening quad jump and finished the short program with 65.65 points, seventh among the men. US runner-up Jason Brown is likely to replace him in Sunday’s free skate in the event.
Castelli and Shnapir, New Englanders competing in their first Olympics, were fifth among the pairs with a personal-best 64.25 points in an international event. Castelli fell and Shnapir put his hand down on their side-by-side triple salchows, but they were solid enough overall to solidify the Americans’ spot in the standings after Abbott’s scuffles.
The team skating competition is being held in Sochi, Russia.
Women’s moguls — Hannah Kearney’s quest for a gold medal repeat started flawlessly as she easily topped qualifying in Krasnaya Polyana. Kearney, of Norwich, Vt., posted a score of 23.05 to move into Saturday’s finals.
Canadian Chloe Dufour-Lapointe finished second in qualifying, just ahead of younger sister Justine (third) and older sister Maxime (eighth).
The top 10 skiers earned an automatic berth into the finals, with the remaining competitors returning for a second qualifying run Saturday. The top 20 qualifiers make the finals.
American Eliza Outtrim (Hamden, Conn.) came in fourth, though teammates Heather McPhie and Heidi Kloser have work to do. McPhie slipped to 14th and Kloser didn’t even get to the starting gate. The 21-year-old injured her leg during warmups and needed to be helped down the mountain. Her status for the second qualifier remains uncertain.
Men’s and women’s slopestyle — Slopestyle’s debut on the grand stage was a great day for riding rails and grabbing big air and an even better day for scores in Krasnaya Polyana.
Canadian Max Parrot backed up his win last month at the Winter X Games with a 97.5 — 2½ points short of perfect — in a qualifying run punctuated by a triple-flipping jump with a dead-solid landing, the likes of which will be virtually mandatory to win the gold medal.
He was one of eight riders to reach the 90s on a day in which Australia’s Scotty James and Norway’s Kjersti Buaas took the worst falls, but both walked away.
‘‘Other riders complained about the course this week. I actually found it really good from Day 1 to now,’’ Parrot said.
American Jamie Anderson, a leading female contender, had no problems the day after banging up her back in practice. She called the course conditions ‘‘questionable,’’ especially for the women. Anderson scored a 93.5 in her heat. Austria’s Anna Gasser was the top qualifier at 95.5.
Men’s and women’s downhill — Bode Miller is at his fifth Olympics and already owns a US-record five Alpine medals, so in many ways he certainly already has, as he put it Thursday, ‘‘been here and done this.’’
While Miller’s past accomplishments, plus propensity for saying whatever is on his mind, might have made him an athlete to keep an eye on during the Sochi Games anyway, his skiing still can grab headlines. Miller, 36, delivered the fastest opening downhill training run ahead of Sunday’s race, finishing in 2 minutes, 7.75 seconds in Krasnaya Polyana.
The women’s downhill training was interrupted for about an hour while the lip of a dangerous jump was flattened by machines. Only three racers went down the hill before the delay, and one got hurt. Anna Fenninger of Austria turned in the best time, 1:41.73, followed by Fraenzi Aufdenblatten of Switzerland and Julia Mancuso of the US.
‘‘I just still really get excited,’’ Mancuso said. ‘‘My Olympic experience is really exciting, and I just get fueled by the energy, and it doesn’t matter if it’s my first time or my fourth time.’’