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Canada going with its big guns for first round of figure skating in Sochi

Figure skaters Patrick Chan (right) and Kevin Reynolds at a press conference at the Main Press Centre for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014.

Mike Ridewood/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada is rolling out its big guns for the first round of the figure skating team event.

The Canadian team announced Wednesday morning in Sochi that Patrick Chan will lead off the new event by skating the mens's short program Thursday. He will be joined by national champions Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford in the pairs short program.

While Chan's inclusion is barely a surprise, since he is a gold medal favourite in the individual events, the roster was kept under wraps until Wednesday's deadline for countries to submit their lineups. The only suspense for Canada is where it places its skaters, with some skaters only being called on to do one of the short or long programs.

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Countries have until 10 a.m. local time before every day of competition to submit their skaters, meaning the official announcements of who will skate the women's and ice dance short programs won't come until Friday. The women's event will most likely see Kaetlyn Osmond represent Canada in the short program, while the ice dance could be either national champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, or Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje.

In events such as the ice dance, where Canada has two strong entries, one pair will skate the short program, while the other will skate the long program. That is also true for the men's event, where Chan skating the short program most certainly means Kevin Reynolds will skate the long program, allowing Chan to save his legs for his individual events, where he is attempting to become the first Canadian man to win an individual Olympic gold.

Moir was named captain of the team squad Wednesday, and Virtue was handed the assistant captaincy.

The team event is being contested for the first time at an Olympics, with each country sending forth one skater in each discipline -- men's, women's, pairs, and ice dance - to compete for a combined score against other nations.

The point system for the team event will see each country awarded 10 points for finishing first in each discipline, for a maximum score of 40 for the first round. Second place is awarded 9 points, third gets 8 and so on. Points carry over to the second round, where the same scoring system is used for the long programs.

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Senior Writer

Grant Robertson is an award-winning journalist who has been recognized for investigative journalism, sports writing and business reporting. More

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