Plushenko keeps Russia ahead in team figure skating

Sochi, Russia ( - Yevgeny Plushenko won the men's free skate in the team figure skating competition to keep Russia ahead with two more segments remaining before medals are awarded.

Plushenko and Italy's Paul Bonifacio Parkinson were the only men to compete in both the short program and free skate for their respective nations.

Japan's Yuzuru Hanyu, who won the short program on Thursday, and three-time world champion Patrick Chan of Canada, both elected to skip this portion of the team competition to prepare for the individual men's event later this week. American Jeremy Abbott also sat out Sunday after a seventh-place finish in the short program.

Plushenko was brilliant in front of the home crowd and was awarded a top score of 168.20 on Sunday to earn the 10 points for first place. Russia now has 57 points and a seven-point cushion over second-place Canada.

Kevin Reynolds took Chan's place for Canada and posted the second-best score of the round for nine points, while Tatsuki Machida replaced Hanyu and notched third place for eight points.

Jason Brown skated for the U.S. and finished fourth, pushing the Americans' overall point total to 41. The U.S. has a three-point edge over Japan for the bronze medal position, while Italy is four points behind in fifth.

The original 10-team event was cut to five after the short program for each of the four disciplines.

Next will be the women's free skate with the free dance to conclude the event.